Sassy took the trip to Wisconsin well. She was uncomfortable for the first hour but after that slept most of the way. The cage was big enough to include her cat box, a blanket to sleep on, her cubby, and her food and water on a shelf over the cat box. While we were in Wisconsin at the Sunrise Lodge, her cat box was behind the door in our cabin and there wasn't a single accident. On the way back, she curled up in the cubby and slept all the way back to Sparland. This was such a good sign because we always took our last cat to Sunrise and this meant we could take Sassy, too.
When we got home, she suddenly had the urge to use the rug in front of the television in the living room as a litter box. The good news was she quit using the family room and just moved up a level. I immediately ordered 3 large waterproof pads (the kind you use on a bed) and 3 small ones from Amazon. Pet pads are pretty expensive compared to the ones I ordered. We put the large pads on the furniture in the family room - the couch, Carl's chair and my chair. We put three of the smaller ones on top of the rug, purchased one x-large litter box and and two disposable boxes and arranged the three in a row. From the left:
Box Number 2: disposable box with a sand litter in it. Very fine, very dusty, very cheap, it's the one my husband likes the least.
Box Number 3: extra large plastic box with her usual Arm and Hammer no fragrance clumping litter in it and fairly low sides.
In order to tell which box she's been in, we smoothed the litter in all three boxes. I hadn't finished smoothing Box Number 3 before she was peeing in it. A good sign to be sure.
The next morning (Tuesday morning), I checked the boxes. All three had paw prints in them so she had at least been in them. Box Number 1 was empty, just paw prints. Box Number 2 had a small amount of poop in it (when she poops on the waterproof pad she poops big). Box Number 3 had several clumps of pee in it. We're going to keep all three boxes in place, checking, cleaning and smoothing them three times a day for a couple of weeks. Having three cat boxes in our living room isn't a solution I like but if we can't alter her bathroom habits, the alternative isn't looking good. Carl is very tender-hearted and would hate to see her go back to the shelter but he also doesn't want our entire house smelling like a cat box. I'm a little more understanding - I know where she's been emotionally and I'm willing to clean up messes until we solve this problem.