Q: My chinchilla is 2 years old, and I just moved him to a new cage. He has had a special spot for urinating, but five months ago he started to do it in two spots. Now that I moved him to a new cage, I also bought a litter box so he could use it, but he doesn’t get it. I put it in the spot that he used to use more, but now he is doing it in other spots. This cage has a solid surface at the bottom, so in order to keep his cage cleaner I want him to use the litter box. I need help to train him to use it and to get him to use only one corner. How can I train him to use the litter box?
A: Chinchillas often like to spread their scent around a cage to mark territory. Urinating practices may change when a chinchilla is moved to a new cage. Once chinchillas have their scent throughout a cage, they may then move to a more consistent pattern of urinating.
One approach to litter-box training is to place the litter box in your chinchilla’s usual urination spot. Then put some of his soiled, urine-soaked wood shavings in the litter box. Chinchillas seek out their urination spots by smell, so he may follow his nose and use the litter box. You might also place some flat wood planks, like 1 by 6 inch fir or pine, on the cage floor. Many chinchillas do not urinate on surfaces upon which they walk or sleep. He might then prefer the litter box.