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AAAGGGHH Stop it! (Excessive litter box digging)

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Boris has had a tendency to invest a great deal of time and effort digging around in the box after he uses it. He seems to be almost obsessive compulsive about covering everything up, trouble is, he is lousy at it.
He will walk around in the box and dig at the sides (and if he uses the covered box, sometimes the ceiling) barely contacting the litter, and thus spending minutes on end in the box before being satisfied with his covering-up job. sometimes he will do this for several minutres, walk out, then return to do it again for several more minutes. I've seen him in there for 5-10 minutes, just digging around after using the box. It ONLY happens right after he uses it, although usually not after he urinates, in fact i can tell what he has done in the box by listening to the length of time he spends scratching.
It is very loud when he does it, because he is often raking at the box itself, but the real problem is that he spends so much time moving around in the box that while he does this he frequently tramples all over what he is trying to cover up with annoying and disgusting results. Now i have to check his feet all the time. I used to take a wet nap or a paper towel and clean his feet off (which he doesn't like, and it is time consuming since it often gets squished up between the pads on his feet etc.....) but now i've taken to dipping his feet into a bathtub with half an inch or so of water in it (he likes this even less, but it is much faster)
It almost looks to me like he has an OC disorder or something when it comes to covering up. it wouldn't be too big a deal if i didn't have to worry about him tracking crap all over my house. it is a pain to have to clean him off when i'm home, and i don't even want to know where he has been walking when it happens while i'm gone at work.
is there anything i can do about this? maybe dissuade him from spending so much time digging around in the box? i want him to keep using it, i just want the stuff in the box to stay there rather then get tracked all over my living room......
post #2 of 8
Have you tried using a different brand of litter?
post #3 of 8
I would also maybe try uncovering the box? If he can get *around* the box, he might be able to get it done a little more efficiently.

Is his poo really stinky? If it smells very strong then he may just be trying extra hard to cover the smell. If it's stinky and soft enough to stick to his feet, you may want to look at a different food for him. Food has everything to do with poo smell and consistency. Cat poop doesn't have to smell that bad
post #4 of 8
He doesn't like something about his box. The smell, the placement, the litter... something is wrong.

My best guess would be that he hates the texture of the litter. What kind is it?
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
He shows a clear preference for the covered box over the un-covered box, and the covered one is the smaller of the two boxes. he seems to like privacy (who doesn't?) but i have thought about getting a larger covered box to give him more room to "manuever" so to speak. maybe that would help.

It could be the smell. he is 10 months old, but i still have him on kitten chow, but a food switch is coming up shortly because i'm going to put him and his sis on adult food soon i think.

I haven't tried switching the litter yet, mostly because i'm concerned that could make it worse since the brand i'm using now is what i've been using since last december when i got them. i've never had a problem with him going anywhere outside the box thank God, he's never done it, as far as i know.

i think the first steps may be looking at a different brand of litter, and getting a larger, but still covered, box.
post #6 of 8
I have a cat that does that, and since she lives with a lot of other cats she takes it upon herself to do it for others that are sloppy. She'll do the same on the floor if by chance someone leaves a hair ball that I don't notice right away. We call her "the snitch" but do realize that she has an obsessive compulsive disorder.

We honestly haven't tried to change the behavior, but after trying everything else that folks suggested, you might try to redirect him to something of greater interest outside of the litter box, like a toy.
post #7 of 8
My sister's kitty will do something similiar. She'll scratch and dig and scratch at anything and everything BUT the litter. She will paw at the shelf beside the box, the wall, the floor outside of the box, for several minutes sometimes. I've changed their litter a couple of times since she's been here, so it's not that. I think a bigger box would help, since she likes to go in the middle of the box, maybe she'd actually be hitting litter then! But there's no room for a super-sized box where it has to be to keep the dogs out of it. (Not much worse than a dog running up to kiss you and you get this huge whiff of cat poo...right AFTER they slobber on your face, of course!)
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
i've tried distracting him before too. nothing works. not toys, not tapping on the box, not even shaking the treat bag, which will bring him running any other time. this morning i even gave a treat to his sister right in front of the box where he was and he just ignored it and kept digging.
so far this morning he's used the box once and gone in and out three times so far to resume digging in there.

it really does seem like he is hard wired to dig.
i feed the cats canned food on paper plates in order to keep the dish for their dry food fairly clean, and after he finishes his plate he will often scrape the tile floor all around it as if trying to cover up the remains of a "kill" like a cat in the wild would do. he'll do the same thing if he encounters his sister's empty plate before i throw it out, he'll also do it with the water dish, and i think i've even seen him scrape around on bare floor after eating a treat off of it.
maybe he just has a really strong digging instinct?
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