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Neverending litterbox digging

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Every morning now, at 8:00 I get woken up be one or both of my cat noisily scratching in the litterbox. Sometimes they're "digging" on the floor or the wall beside the litterbox. I live in a bachelor-type apartment, so I can hear everything. They to get really obsessive almost every time they use the litterbox.

It is driving me INSANE, it goes on for about a half hour a couple times a day, they'll finish pooing then move to a different position and dig at nothing for forever.

Is there anything that's causing this? Every other cat I've had since growing up never did this, they pooed, covered it up, left.

Zoe, the first one, was a little obsessive about the litterbox from the beginning, but I'm still not sure if this is some type of territory thing.

Is there anything I can do to convince them that they don't need to do this? It's not like they're even covering their poo, they're scratching at the floor and wall, it's ridiculous!

post #2 of 11
Oh how awful!!! I really don't have any suggestions except to try changing the type of litter, they may want to play instead of do their business and get out of there. You could try Feline Pine, they have a testimonial on their website which says that this litter "cured" their cat of this problem (though I'm always a little leery of testimonials found on the company website.) I have heard of another woman who trained her cat to use the toilet because of this, but it can be a pretty long process.

I hope things work out!!!
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
I've gone through two types of litter so far, just trying to find a good one, this one's Arm and Hammer Multi-Cat, and now that I think of it, when I first poured it in, Zoe ran over right away to see it and Lucy was right on her heels. Maybe I'll try the pine stuff next time, at the very least it might make a less irritating sound!

And although I think I could train them to go in the toilet - they've never been picky about where the boxes are, I can just see them playing in the dirty water instead of digging in the litter...sometimes I just want to cry, lol


post #4 of 11
My Lily does this; she loves the litter box. We have a huge, covered box that we made, so thank goodness the litter isn't flying everywhere!

I can see where it would be annoying, too close, too early, and going on for too long!

I guess your kitties really like digging, or maybe it's a territorial game. I agree, try changing the litter, but beyond that, they sound like good (albeit noisy) kitties. I'm interested, too, if this behavior can be toned down.

Cheers, from
post #5 of 11
Missy, Scampi and Betsy all scratch the walls, bathtub, whatever is around the box. If it goes on too long I just go over and say "okay that's enough" and they get out.
post #6 of 11
Escher does this too, he'll get in the litterbox a good 5-10 min. before he has to go just to dig and find the perfect spot to go, then he'll spend another 10 min. covering it up. He'll also go in there after Phoebe goes, and spend 5-10 min. covering hers up (she is normal and just covers it up and goes, he's the anal one that apparently doesn't think it's covered good enough). We also got a high-walled litter box since the excessive digging would result in flung litter all over the carpet, that cut down on it, but now he digs at the walls too. We think he digs at the walls to clean his paws a bit.

We haven't really tried to remedy it, but like the pp, if it gets excessive, we just say, "Escher, you're done!" and he'll jump out. Now he'll jump out if we just shout it from our bedroom too.

HTH! And be grateful that at least they're over-covering up rather than under-covering!
post #7 of 11
In my experience, cats will continue to cover up their waste as long as they can still smell it. Try getting one of those air ionizers or purifiers and put it near the litterbox. We got a small air ionizer as a gift but have yet to try it out. Also, add baking soda to the litter in the box. This is a great odor absorber.

My cat does the same thing, and we think it is because the litterbox is too small for her to cover it up the way she wants to. Unfortunately, we are also in an apartment and the litterbox has to fit next to the toilet, so it is small. We just deal with it, spray air freshener and tell her, "Good girl, you've covered it; you're done now!" and she usually gets the hint. I also try to scoop right away when she's done.
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
I didn't want to interrupt them while they were digging, I don't know, they just get so into it, I didn't want to snap them out of it. The few times I have interrupted them, they just go right back to it...I'll try getting it into their heads that 5 minutes is probably enough time to cover it up, but I don't want them to associate the litterbox with me bugging them.
The thing that's bugged me about Zoe from the beginning is that she doesn't cover her poo! Like I said, she'll scratch at a different place or stand on the edge of the litterbox and scratch the walls!
I think I'll put cardboard against the walls at least, so I don't get poopy cat paws all over the walls.

Sigh...looking forward to moving into a bigger place!


post #9 of 11
Take a cup of litter and spill it on what they're not covering. They should walk away once they're satisfied it's done and will get into the habit. They will also probably do a better job when they're older of covering it themselves.
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Well they're both pretty much adults, Zoe's a year and a bit and Lucy's about 2, and they're not covering anything, just scratching at the walls and box.

The funny thing is, since I wrote this hread, they've stopped, lol

post #11 of 11
Originally Posted by inkl View Post
The thing that's bugged me about Zoe from the beginning is that she doesn't cover her poo! Like I said, she'll scratch at a different place or stand on the edge of the litterbox and scratch the walls!
I think I'll put cardboard against the walls at least, so I don't get poopy cat paws all over the walls.
Can you use a larger litter box? One of our cats would do this, and when we switched to a larger box she started to cover it. I've also heard that this can be a sign of illness, but I don't know how accurate that is.
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