BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > BEHAVIOR > Loss of litter habits-I read old posts first for info
Last Post by jerseygirl at 9/16/2012 4:52 AM (3 Replies)
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User is Offline cactuspancake
Boston, MA
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9/14/2012 10:19 PM
Franz and Jasmine have gradually been losing litter habits in one of their litter boxes but not the other. The one in the bunny room is the one I'm having trouble with. They now go pee and poop around the box with no hits IN the box. Over the course of a week they will start going in it with some accuracy... But not much. Obviously I have to change it, so it doesn't last long. I assumed it was new litter a few months ago (exquisicat pine pellets) because home depot stopped carrying pellets for se weird reason. I think this was a year ago though, so I have been getting them whatever Petsmart has at the time, which has been pretty much everything (pellets) and they will use it. Seeking a solution to the crisis, I found more wood pellets from a fireplace store that is hardwood and chem free... But same thing with the going around. I think awhile ago I was using a large tray as well, but it was too expensive and difficult to clean long term, and I now care for the bunnies by myself so I can't do that.

My best guess is that this is a behavioral issue due to it just being easier for them to go on the newspaper around the box ('negatively reinforced' behavior by the removal of a noxious stimulus I.e. not having to jump in the box), and not a phase that will pass as is what seems to be the case for others with a new pet, new person etc.

My problem is that I absolutely do not have the time to sit in their room with them and spray them or put them in the box everytime they do it, and it's still hot weather so I don't want to fence them in the corner with it either. They are very clean in all rooms except theirs near the box. They are going on newspaper around, so it's also not really an option to put it all in the box after, as it would be gross for them and stinky. I clean around it at night before bed, and the other one I clean up or change twice a day (breeze litter system which is awesome) . changing the problem one more often makes it worse, and it stays fresh for a long time anyway. I also can not sit in there with them, so I need another option. Everyone in the house enjoys their company and they are friendly, playful, and clean running around the house or sitting by my feet all day while I work on the computer... I just wish they would behave in their room at night!

Should I:
Spend the money for a new breeze litter box for their room
Hold out until it cools off and fence them in near the problem pan
Remove them from their room and have them fenced in mine at night for a bit
... Something else?


*sorry for random errors I'm on my iPhone

User is Offline RabbitPam
South Florida
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9/15/2012 5:47 AM
Hi, Natasha.
I'm thinking a few factors may be adding to the problem here, so have some suggestions. And no, sitting and watching them is not necessary, even if they make a mess again and you don't catch it for a few hours.

First, the newspaper is confusing. I would remove it totally. You may find at first that it's harder to clean, but it is a litter-like material and they may be opting for it. It's good to remove all semblance of bedding outside a litter pan so there is not doubt that the litter texture is in the box, never outside.

If you are switching around litters, that could also be a problem, Bunnies are creatures of habit, like what they like, and that's it. So, if your litter is wood pellets and they like it, the best thing is to use the same litter consistently. Have you tried Feline Pine pellets? It is liked by many bunnies, is safe, and is inexpensive, even in grocery stores. Untreated wood stove pellets are good, just try to stick with one brand. Yesterday's News is a good pelleted litter. More expensive are Aspen Supreme pellets, my favorite.

It may be that they don't like pellets as much as softer litter, so you could also try Aspen shavings, or Carefresh. Do NOT use Pine shavings or Cedar. Unsafe, as I think you know. If they like the newspaper, it may be that it's flat and soft.

A fresh litter pan that is roomy is usually a good investment. Sometimes the old one just doesn't smell clean anymore (to them) or has too much residual cleanser odor on it. My bunny had a great pan, but LOVED the much larger one I got her this year. She looks like she's playing sailor in her big boat, and doesn't kick out the litter, just messes it around when she's feeling playful. I found it dug up this morning, put a fresh layer of aspen shavings across the whole top, and she jumped in to use it asap. They want their clean litter.
SPIKE, my snuggle bunny (aka Spikey Marbles)

User is Offline cactuspancake
Boston, MA
545 posts Send Private Message
9/15/2012 5:26 PM
Pam, thanks for the advice! It's good to hear that I don't have to sit in there to fix this. I have had feline pine, and it worked just as well as the others that I had at the time. The only reason I keep switching is because they are sold out often. The pet store is pretty bad also as they have maybe four bags max of a type at any time. This fireplace store is multigenerational however, so I don't think it's going anywhere, so I could probably arrange something with them. I really don't want to pay $20/ bag for litter which is what all the pellet brands cost around here! $4-$8 for wood pellets is much nicer and it honestly looks and smells the same. I'm hearing you about the changing though, and I will try to find a more permanent solution! I cannot however use shavings or carefresh, because Franz is angora and his fur will just mop it up and spread it around the house! I have to be careful with hay as well, but I have a good handle on it. I have been putting hay on top of the pellets to encourage them but if anything it confuses them because they don't eat the hay that's in the box or normally go on it at all. I was trying to see if it was the smell? I use only vinegar to clean, and I use it all over the house including the other litter box, so I don't think that's it... however, I will definitely buy a new box! Can you tell me what box you have that's big? I am using an unknown XL box, and I haven't seen any bigger ones in the store, but they must get bigger. My bunnies are close in size to my friend's 20+lb fat cat... and they both can't fit into it at the same time which I think might be part of the problem. So I will buy a new box, and remove all the newspaper then report back in a few days

User is Offline jerseygirl
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9/16/2012 4:52 AM
Agree with all of RabbitPams advice.

If really large litter pan is harder to handle, what about 2 good size ones side by side?

Also, as Pam mentioned, old smells in plastic can sometimes be off putting to them. Plastic absorbs odour and when it's re wet, causes smell to become stronger.

I think you are right though, in thinking it's the size not accommodating both at same time. It could be they try but end up with their butts hanging over the sides.

I picked up some big plastic trays in a variety store for $6. They're actually cement mixing trays but make great litter boxes.
Whoever says "It's only a rabbit" has obviously never loved a rabbit.

BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > BEHAVIOR > Loss of litter habits-I read old posts first for info