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Hello, everyone! I read quite a few litter training posts, but none of the situations seemed to be exactly like mine.
My rabbit Maisy has a few litter training problems. She is a 3 1/2 year old female spayed rabbit. She has been spayed since she was about 3 months old when I got her. She has two rabbit companions, Bernie and Herman, who are neutered males and are not new. The three were all brought into our home at the same time.
The boys have immaculate litter pan habits (thank God), but Maisy has struggled with a couple things. For the most part, she always tried to pee in her litter pan at our old apartment. She did frequently not scoot her butt into the litter pan as far as she needed to and would pee over the edge. That is the first problem. This problem (the lack of butt scooting) got worse after we moved, to the point where I had to put all the litter pans in a six inch high storage container so that if Maisy didn’t put her butt in the pan all the way urine would not get on the floor. I line the plastic container with newspaper. If anyone has suggestions on how to fix this problem I’d love to hear them.
The second problem is peeing outside of the litter pan completely. She did this occasionally at the old apartment (maybe once or twice a month), but it got worse when we moved (once or twice a week). On one of the first days at our new house, she peed right in front of me while she was looking at me. I took her to the vet; she did not have a urinary tract infection. We’ve lived here a year and I am still struggling with Maisy peeing on the floor every week. Sometimes it’s right next to her litter pan, sometimes it’s not. I’ve tried moving her litter pans to the places she pees, but this hasn’t helped at all. Luckily the boys have put up with me moving the litter pans all over the place. I also guessed that maybe she was opposed to hopping over the six inch high wall to get into the plastic container area with the litter pan, so i cut a doorway into one of the plastic containers, but her behavior has not changed at all. She does not live in a cage. All three of the rabbits share a bedroom together. There are two litter pans in their bedroom. I have experimented with different types of litter thinking maybe she didn’t like something about the litter. She also pees outside the litter pan even if it was cleaned fifteen minutes beforehand, and I clean her litter pan very regularly (I don’t let it get stinky) so I don’t believe she’s protesting unacceptable conditions.
For the most part, Maisy pees in her room and not in the other rooms of the house, but I’m not sure if this is because she spends the most time in that room or if the peeing is territorial in some way.
Right now my solutions is putting rag rugs in the areas she most frequently pees, I remove and replace the rugs when they are soiled, and I wash the rag rugs every week. This is a lot of work.
What I’d like to know is:
1. What are possible reasons Maisy might be peeing outside of her litter pan?
2. How can we get her peeing in the litter pan again?
3. Is there a way to get Maisy to stand inside her litter pan every time rather than standing with her butt hanging over the edge of the litter pan?
I am REALLY looking forward to your answers. I’ve read many thoughtful responses to other questions asked in this forum. Thanks for your time.
As far as the butt hanging over the edge problem goes, I had this trouble with one of mine, too. I switched to a closed litter house, first I used a carrier as a bunny toilet, then I got a small cage that I now use. It solved that mess.
What do you use for litter and how often do you change it?
I use Oxbow’s eco-straw in all of the litter pans. I change it every other day unless it appears they have been favoring one particular pan, in which case I’ll change that one sooner.
Another thing that might be good to know. I use litter pans that have a locking grid on the top, so the rabbits stand on a platform and pee through it. You can see a picture here: http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=6067+15323+19826&pcatid=19826
The litter pans I have do have that grid, but they are the larger square shaped models.
I bought those because Maisy’s other annoying habit is digging, and she used to dig up her litter and make a big mess in her room. She did this with every type of litter I’ve tried. She now exerts all her digging energy on phonebooks and on the rag rugs in her room, so that problem is solved.
Since she’s been checked for UI trouble by a vet, and you seem to make her litter spot inviting to her… could be that a bad habit became entrenched…
–meaning she may have peed here and there as a response to some type of stress (moving, e.g.) and then kept it up because she could.
How do you feel about confining her to a smaller area, say a pen, and retraining her?
I had the digging problem, too, and use a grid. This is mine but with hay rack and I recently upgraded it with urine guards. Since I have had this I do not have to worry about a litter box being tossed and its contents dumped all over…
24″ x 17″
Cari, I just thought of it. Try putting hay on top of the grid (I know kinda defies the point) to see if she goes for that! She probably wants to pee where she can dig, it’s a rabbit thing.
I have a cage that looks almost identical to that one in my basement. I could definitely dig that out and try using that as a litter pan, which would prevent the digging and would encourage the rabbits to walk all the way inside to relieve themselves. Great idea!
I really don’t like the idea of confining her to a cage and starting over because I would hate for her to be separated from the boys. I think you are right, however. This habit has been going on since I moved, and since I’ve just been tolerating it she has had no reason to change her behavior and might have just developed a habit out of it, even if she doesn’t know why she does it anymore since we moved so long ago. I do have another cage and an exercise pen, so I have all the tools I would need to do it, I would just hate to deprive the rabbits of each other’s company. You know what I mean? They snuggle all day long and love grooming each other. But maybe I’ll have to because it’ll pay off in the end if I can retrain her…
Like this, I did it at first when I swithed from regular to grid.
To answer your newest post, I do put hay on top of the grids in their litter pans. The only place they can find hay in their room is in their litter pans, actually.
Retraining then, it is. You could pen them up together for her training, couldn’t you?
edit: maybe it is the grid that deters her. Have you experimented with a box style like this one? you could drill holes into the back and attach it to something she can’t move.
Have you tried a larger litterbox as in width and length?
Also, one of those with a lip might be worth a try. It has an edge that curves inwards a bit.
So you have then pans already in a higher sided storage box? Would having that same size (W x L) instead of larger help? Obviously just big enough to fit the other inside it, but no gaps around the perimeter. Does she hang her butt out over the entry point to the pan?
As to peeing right in front of you….sigh…my girl does this when PO’d or impatient with me, usually in a particular spot. You girl might more fazed about any changes made than the boys are.
Thanks for all your suggestions, guys!
If she can touch the litter, she can kick it out of her box. It isn’t so much a problem of her tipping the litter pan, she actually physically removes the soiled litter. I did try a pan with higher sides, and what she would do is kick the litter with her front paws under her back legs and out the front entrance area of the pan. She is really quite naughty, haha. She has peed on the floor with and without the grid, so I don’t think the grid is the problem.
I could definitely try enclosing the boys in a pen with her during the training. I wonder how small a space I would would have to give them so that retraining would be effective but all three of them would have enough room to exercise. Any ideas?
To answer jerseygirl’s question, yes, she hangs her butt outside the entry of the pan when she pees over the edge. I haven’t tried a bigger litter pan because I haven’t been able to find one with the grid (to prevent the litter flinging) but Petzy’s suggestion of using a cage with a grid on the bottom as a litter pan will probably fix that, I think.
Do you guys think there is no way to get her to go in the litter pan without confinement and retraining? I can’t really think of any other way, I’m at a loss. I’m willing to do it if it’s the only option, I just hate confining them because they love having their whole bedroom and they love venturing out into other parts of the house to visit my husband and I during their active times.
I would confine her for 1 whole week with the boys in a pen, whatever size you have. I know it’s boring for them, maybe you can give the boys their run time but leave her in.
When you clean up her accidents were you able to totally eliminate the smell? What surfaces did she pee on?
I have a grated litter pan – I use an inverted cutlery rack placed inside high sided boxes. One is an actual litter pan and one a storage box that I cut down the front end on. You can use various things to make your own grated letter box to size. Some members have posted about using plastic light diffuser panels (sometimes called Egg crate diffuser or Glocell).
So she doesn’t actually orientate herself once she jumps into the pan? She’ll just land and start peeing? If she can jump ok, I’d try a pan that doesn’t have a lower entry point maybe – a storage box with a little ramp up to it…haha…it could work though.
Hi my name is kaitlyn and im new to this site. I have a flemish giant doe. She is about 2 years old. I had her litter trained in her hutch since the first day i got her and she only has a couple accedents now and then. Iv moved her to a large house it used to be our old chicken coop. I moved her here because we just got another rabbit so they needed a larger area together. They new bunny is a 7 weeks old flemish cross. We have a devider in the hutch till we get the little one to use the litter box and so they can get used to eachother. Since the first day i put my rabbit willow in the new hutch she absulutely refuses to use it. Its been two weeks and everyday in the morning before i let her outside with my chickens ill pick up all her poop and soiled straw and put it in her litter box. In the evening ill sit in there with her in her litter box waiting for her to use it but she wont. Iv tried different litter iv tried straw which i was using in her other hutch iv also tried hay and now im trying news paper. Nothing seems to be working. She isnt usually in her hutch during the day she is outside romeing around. She never had probblems in her previous house. Iv decreased the amount of space i allow her in her house hoping that would incourage her to use her litter box. I have one litter box full of hay and straw and one with newspaper in it. What should i do?
You need to start a new thread. Also we advocate rabbits indoors not outdoors.
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