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Litter Box Tips For Cerebellar Hypoplasia Cats

For more litter box posts, click the photo.

Since CH kitties come in all sizes and severities, it’s important to find the right litter box match for your cat’s needs and abilities.

Some cats with mild CH may be able to use a regular litter pan without a problem. However, if your cat has considerable mobility issues, you may need to consider other types of litter boxes – if your cat can use the litter box at all.

Fortunately, there are dozens of options out there.

You may need to try out a few litter boxes, learn to be patient while you live through a time of trial and error, and sometimes you’ll need to get creative. However, once you find the perfect litter box for your cat, you’ll both feel more confident.

To find the best litter pan for your CH kitty, first determine her abilities and limitations. For example, some CH cats may need a low entrance into the litter box. Others may need high sides if they tend to lean while going. If your cat has severe CH and doesn’t walk, a litter box may not even be an option. (But don’t worry!)

It’s also important to keep in mind that some CH kitties become more capable as they age. You may find that a litter box that worked when your cat was 8-weeks-old may no longer be the best option by the time she’s reached 8 months.

Here’s a look at some of your options:

Kitten Or Cat With Mild CH

If your cat or kitten has mild CH, a regular litter box may be an option.

Also consider purchasing a litter box hood, which can help keep a good deal of litter (and any mess) in the pan. If you have an adult cat with CH, a hood may help ensure that she does her business in the pan, as opposed to it going over the side.

Depending on how small your kitten is, you may need to consider a low-entry pan (see below), or some sort of ramp or step to make it easier for her to get into the litter box. You can create a step by piling large coffee-table books in front of the pan. Try covering them with a towel so your kitty can easily grip onto the “step” for stability. Another option would be to make a ramp for your kitty.

If your kitten is only a few weeks old, try using a kitten-sized litter box, or a disposable aluminum baking pan.

Once she’s older and taller, she may be able to graduate to an actual litter box.

Kitten Or Cat With Moderate CH 

If your cat can get to and use the litter box relatively well, a low-entry pan may work best. These can be a bit more difficult to find, but if worst comes to worst, you can even make your own.

Find out more at catsadored.com

Keep in mind that most kitties with moderate to severe CH will probably do their business while laying on their side. You’ll want to check on your kitty a few times to find out how your kitty does her business. While most can go without a problem, sometimes they can come out of the pan a bit messy. Keep this in mind especially if your kitty has loose stools or if you haven’t been able to clean out the box in a day. You can find more tips here.

Another option would be to make your own litter box, by cutting an entry into a large plastic container.

Kitten or Cat with Severe CH

If your kitten isn’t able to walk, it’s especially important to become in tune with her litter box needs. Watch carefully to see if she has a routine (usually kittens go 15-30 minutes after eating), and if she makes noises or sends signals when she’s ready to go.

Here you have several options. Depending on your comfort level, you may want to put your kitty in her box when she needs to use it, and hold her while she does her business. If you can’t always be around when she may need to use the pan, look into puppy training pads. It may result in a bit of a mess, but at least it’ll be somewhat contained and easier to clean up.

Another option would be to consider diapering your pet.

More information:

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32 Comments leave one →
  1. Beth permalink
    April 28, 2012 1:47 am

    I use a carry travel cage with the door removed. My Cat has too hard a time trying to climb over the edge to get in a normal litter box.

  2. Audrie permalink
    April 28, 2013 1:30 pm

    I have just adopted a moderate CH kitten and need solutions on litter boxes, he goes on his side. he is tiny right now and makes a mess. i also need tips for his water. he falls into it and never drinks so i pull up water in a syringe and give it 4 times a day. I love this little guy and will do whatever. please help!

    • April 28, 2013 2:54 pm

      Hi! Litter boxes can be really tough when they’re tiny. Check through the litter box tag on the right for more posts that may help. As for water, check the drinking posts-I’ll try to sen more ideas tomorrow! 🙂 good luck! Ps, he will grow out of some of these challenges, but in the meantime, we’ll try to find you a few solutions!

    • Roberta permalink
      July 9, 2016 4:16 pm

      Hi, my CH kitty uses puppy pee pads, he is moderate to severe, I place them where I see he usually scoots off to go. He’s gotten pretty good using them but at times I have to grab him and put him on one,, As for drinking use a heavier bowl and fill fairly full, he will get the hang of getting a drink, Put it at a safe level for him and where he can sit leaning like a big boy , He’s eight months now and plays with my other two normal cats, They love him and he doesn’t even realize he’s different most of the time, Wen he can’t do something he meows and we help him.. Good luck,, I’d never trade my little guy,,

    • Heidi vonh permalink
      January 8, 2018 3:45 pm

      I use a rabbit water bottle to give them water, because they don’t choke.

    • Harry Leykam permalink
      January 19, 2018 4:48 pm

      Hi Heidi,

      I have a CH girl who is now 5 years old. I decided when she was a kitten to allow her to do her business on her side rather than use a litter tray. She used to try to use it and had falls out of it which wasn’t good – she’s not stable enough. In any case she’d do it on her side in there anyway which was more messy. We have always put a towel on the bathroom floor where the litter would be with about an inch of the edge of it up the wall. She just goes in there and lies on the towel and goes. Sometimes she gets a little on her but it’s not usually a problem. She does number 2s this way also without issues. While the litter sounds like the way to go – in truth this is far and away the most stress free and easy way for our little girl to go. We do a couple of loads of her towels in the wash a week and always have some in each bathroom ready to put down to replace soiled ones. It’s no trouble for us and she knows exactly what those towels are for and has never gone anywhere else where she shouldn’t – they are the litter tray as far as she’s concerned. Hope this helps.

  3. crystal Stevens permalink
    May 23, 2013 11:40 pm

    My daughter just bought home a 3 week old kitten she found in a barn with this situation. We are bottle feeding, he has gain several Oz.in the last couple of days and is clean everyday. I need to know how to potty train him and when do I start since he can not walk without assistant. He tries and gets upset our 17 year old dog has adopted him and as long as be leans on her he can walk, but that is only the length of the dog . Not experienced in this need to know what to do and if this is going to be to much. He plays and in 3 days he knows me the dog and the one who saved him from dying. He is trying so hard, but not sure what to do. Please help us understand

    • May 24, 2013 7:28 am

      Hi Crystal,
      Thanks for commenting! Here are some thoughts. If the kitten is only three weeks old, odds are he’s just starting to learn how to walk, so he’ll be very clumsy regardless. The next few weeks will be key in finding out if he has cerebellar hypoplasia as he learns how to walk.

      In regard to your litter box question, in the next week or so he’ll be ready to learn how to use it. Since he’s no longer with his mom (is his mother still alive?), you’ll need to introduce him to the litter box and put him in there the first few times so he gets the idea. I don’t have a specific post on litter training kittens (but I will soon!), you can get a few ideas here: http://www.wikihow.com/Litter-Train-a-Kitten This post will also help you understand what to expect in the next few weeks: http://cats.about.com/cs/kittencare/a/tracksixweek.htm

      Good luck!

    • May 24, 2013 7:33 am

      I almost forgot! If you haven’t already, please take him in to see a vet soon. He’ll be able to check your kitten out to make sure he’s OK, give him the vaccinations he needs, and give you advice for the next few weeks.

    • Harry permalink
      April 15, 2015 5:40 am

      Hi Crystal,
      These little guys are just so amazing. Sounds to me like you are doing very well. He will learn how to deal things in his own way. I found in the early days with mine that I was overwhelmed and worried – but she figured things out. For you it will be trial and error initially until you learn what works best for him. What works for mine may not be your best solution. Having your dog is great too! I have two other cats that love the little one and have a great bond with her – and she has learned a lot from them too. Their need for friendship shouldn’t be underestimated either. You will look back and wonder what the drama was a few months from now. Your little one is a gift – love him dearly,

    • Rhonda permalink
      November 2, 2015 3:03 pm

      Hi, I found a CH kitten whose eyes were still closed and had the umbilical still attached. Yes, it was challenging. My old dog also adopted him. He scooted on his side fit months. I helped him spread his legs out to give him balance. Over some time he learned to stand and then to bunny hop. He is now 3 years old and is ask over the house. Has even learned how to get on the couch. Bumps and bruises he has plenty.
      We are still having a great deal of trouble with the potty issue but I think we will try the potty pad. Good luck and much kitty love…. I find him far more loving than any other car I’ve had….

  4. Jami permalink
    September 6, 2013 6:10 pm

    This is what I use for my 5 month old CH baby, Bebop. I line the bottom with pee pads. He needs the straight sturdy wall to lean up against and the entrance is easy for him to pop into… it works great! http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0073URV20/ref=oh_details_o02_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

  5. Amy permalink
    November 20, 2013 9:52 am

    I have an almost 2 yr old CH cat, and have 3 litter boxes throughout the house for him, but he has 2 places (next to my dining room table, and on the rug by my kitchen sink) that he continuously poops on. I know I cannot punish him like a regular cat, and my husband is trying to be patient, but he is going to ruin my carpet. Any suggestions?

    • November 22, 2013 7:42 am

      Hi Amy,
      I’d suggest calling your vet to find out if he/she has any suggestions. By chatting out all of this with them, they can likely help you reach a solution or find out if there is something more going on. I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful, but each cat is different, and there’s always some reason for their behavior. Good luck!

  6. Courtney permalink
    November 24, 2014 7:25 am

    My cat is getting in and out of the litter box fine. But when he goes to turn around to cover his pee/poop he falls over into it and gets himself dirty. I try to get him out before he does and cover it for him. Sometimes I can’t be there and then I have to give him a bath. Does anyone have this problem or have any suggestions?

  7. Melynda permalink
    January 28, 2015 2:26 pm

    I have a CH cat named Tipsy. He has moderate CH. He goes to the bathroom laying on his side and does not like to use a litter box. What me and my daughter do is take him outside to do his business, usually in the grass. We do this 2-3 times a day and this works just fine. He also had problems falling into the water dish but we fixed that by using a large size ceramic dog bowl and keep it filled to the top. The top comes to a perfect height for him to drink but not fall in. We wish he would learn to use a litter box, but at least he doesn’t have accidents in the house too much any more.

  8. Harry permalink
    April 15, 2015 5:26 am

    My cat has moderate to severe CH. We learned when she was a kitten that any kind of litter tray was too stressful. In our case it resulted in her often falling in (or even out of) the tray. I think that hurt her a couple of times and made her anxious in using it. Our solution was a towel folded in half and put on the bathroom floor with some of the towel just up the wall at the edge (two inches or so). She knows exactly what the towel is for, goes on it always – and is able lie on her side and pee without getting any on her. I have a basket of rolled up towels in the downstairs bathroom and one in the upstairs (yes she can get herself up the stairs). When I have 4-6 soiled towels they go in the wash. In total we have about 16 towels. As for doing number 2’s – same deal. She lies on her side to do it – but she needs to use her front claws to drag herself along whilst doing it in order to stay clear of it. The towel works – but a heavier mat is better as it remains stiff enough for her to drag herself along. The towel often just gets pulled towards her. Our solution has proved very effective – only occasional times when she needs a clean up

    • Kathy M permalink
      November 23, 2015 10:43 am

      How do you get the kitten to go on the towel? Our girl went on the pee pad for a while but now she just goes wherever.

    • Harry permalink
      December 1, 2015 9:56 pm

      Hi Kathy,
      We put the towel exactly where the litter box was and she immediately knew that was her place. She was really good from the beginning. She felt comfortable whereas the litter tray stressed her a lot. She uses it for wees and poos. I need to keep a box of her towels ready in both bathrooms )about 8 in each). We wash a load of her towels most days. It’s no trouble for us and it has made her life much easier – she is 3 years old in January and has done this her whole life now.

      I hope this helps you Katie – they are so wonderful and deserve all our love.

      Harry

  9. Colleen permalink
    October 30, 2015 10:12 am

    I have a kitty with severe CH and epilepsy. He spends most of his time in a playpen. I have puppy pads on half of the play pen, and his bedding and food/water on the other half. He is able to flop over to the puppy pad when he has to go. I also put extra pads around the bottom of the pen, because sometimes it can get on the floor underneath the pen depending on how close he flops to the edge before he goes.

  10. LOUISE permalink
    January 11, 2016 4:27 am

    The pee pads work great for my CH boy Pip. I use them in a pee pad frame which makes it easy. He uses one in the a.m. and one in the p.m. If I’m travelling or stuck without the frame I tape the pad on the corners to the floor so that he can still scrap at it a little to get into his pee groove.

  11. LaurieW permalink
    July 1, 2016 3:37 pm

    This one looks good, and I like the idea of pellets as mine goes on his side as well
    http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=17535&cmpid=08cseYY&gclid=CML–deO080CFUdlfgod7TkHZA

    Consider litter pans for dogs, bunnies, or ferrets they are good options

  12. Traci Darby permalink
    January 12, 2017 6:15 am

    Hi, Amanda. There’s a picture at the top of this page of two low-entry litterboxes, side by side. Can you tell me exactly what brand they are? I’d like to try one of those before I venture into making my own litterbox. Thank you.

  13. June 13, 2017 1:36 pm

    We use piddle pads. For a few years, ours used the litter box after we built a special ramp for her. But her sibling, who is not disabled, kicked her out eventually, which is common when cats share a litter box. I use the following layered system: 4 piddle pads held in place with a small mat/area rug, on top of which sits a square plastic piddle pad holder, over which sits a washable blanket, tucked into the small mat to hold it in place, with a single piddle pad on the very top. The blanket satisfies her urge to scratch and cover after doing her business and, because it is tucked in, it doesn’t get all messed up. Most of the time, she hits the top pad, but when she doesn’t it goes on the blanket, which is protected underneath by all the stuff described above. I have 3 washable blankets and change them out every couple of days. This may sound complicated but it is actually quite simple and reduces the risk of accidents to almost zero. My cat is very clean and proud, and this system makes her feel in control of her situation. It was noted above that cats do their business 15-30 minutes after eating, and I find this to be accurate. I work from home, so I’m able to clean up after she goes, which cuts down on odors and on frustration for my cat. One last thing: about once a week, I pick the whole system up, open the window, air the mat outside, and treat the carpet area with a powder that absorbs odors.

  14. Diane Dennie permalink
    September 12, 2017 12:09 pm

    I have a 6 wk old kitten that is the only survivor of 7 babies. He suffered from infection under his skin. Not sure how or why but he did. The worst infection on his right side down his leg and foot left him to wobble. He has all the signs and symptoms of CH. He seems to not only 2 weeks behind in size but also mentally. We just got him to eat and drink on his own but i need to hold him still in order to do that. My dog has been washing his butt until he started eating food so now he needs a litter box. I stood him in one of the other cats litter boxes but he fell into all the other messes. I am going to use a card board box to make a litter box to see if he will use it. My guess is he may not be able to but im trying. If this doesnt work, i have puppy pads but using a diaper might be the next option. My only problem is i work and cant change the diaper during the day. I am concerned of a rash. I also cant get diapers small enough for him, any suggestions?

  15. Leanna permalink
    December 18, 2017 11:14 pm

    Hi all, my cat is almost 3 months old and has moderate CH. He was the only kitten born. I ended up adopting him and his mom through the shelter. It has just become more recent that he has diarrhea and is just pooping anywhere on the rug (mostly in the same spots). Could this be because he can smell it still and thinks that’s the right place to go? I do see him scratching the rug as he thinks it’s the litter box as well and will pee on the rug. I feed him Purina Pro Plan Focus kitten food could that be the cause of the diarrhea? I’m open to new food suggestions. Also if anyone know of anyway to help him use the litter box more? It’s always clean and I have two out in the room they are in at night, since they are out running the house during the day. TIA.

    • Harry permalink
      December 19, 2017 11:59 pm

      Hi Leanna,

      My little CH girl has CH at the more severe end of the scale. When she was a kitten she had diarrhoea quite badly and over time this did resolve itself. We did try different foods until we found one that she could cope with. She is 5 in January and eats anything and everything these days.

      In regards to your litter issues, we took the decision (against our vet’s advise initially) to not let her use the litter because of her instability on her feet. It was like trying to stand on marbles for her and she often would fall out on to a hard floor. We folded a towel in half and placed it on the bathroom floor and she quickly learned that this was the spot to go and she learned that doing a pee on the towel lying on her side was easy and stress free. I have a basket of 8-10 towels rolled up in both our upstairs and downstairs bathrooms. When she goes I pick the towel up, give it a quick spray with kitchen spray and put a new one down. Easy. She will use the towels to poo as well however she has sometimes gone on a rug in our lounge. This is because the heavier rug will not move as she claws herself along whilst doing her business – she moves along as she’s doing it so as not to soil herself – she’s super clever and I’m certain yours will work that out too. Sure, occasionally it goes a little wrong and we need a quick clean up of her bot with a baby wipe (which she hates) but that’s no drama at all. I also pretty much know when she needs to pee and if I put her on her towel at this time she will go on cue. Similarly I know when “the poo is due”. Hope this helps Leanna and give your little one all the love and patience in the world.

      Harry

  16. Diane Dennie permalink
    December 20, 2017 7:31 am

    I have a 6 mo kitten with moderate ch. He used to go in a box that was small and with litter. When he was a couple months old he stopped using litter box and started going on the floor next to litter box. I put puppy pads in that spot. He used that but my older cats would try to cover the mess more then the kitten and got the pad upside down, making more of a mess. Now he goes on my kitchen floor using the chair to hold him up. I put a pad in that spot but he uses it to cover his mess. If i am not right there to pick it up and put down a new pad, its on the floor. We are going to be moving where there is carpet, any suggestions?

  17. Mary Jane permalink
    June 19, 2018 2:51 pm

    I am so glad to have stumbled onto this site. It has given me a wealth of information in assisting our CH kitty, Tuxedo. Thank you so much. Tuxedo (age 1) does #1 in the litter box somewhat OK, but I find that he tends from time to time to do #2 outside of his box which has been in the same place always. I will practice the trick of laying a specific towel for him which I believe will to do the trick (he is a very smart kitty). Again thank you so much for all information! feel not so alone anymore.

Trackbacks

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