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Litterbox Oddities?

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Hello TCS,

I have some questions regarding the 'normality' of some litterbox behaviors.

First, there's Harley, almost one year old, neutered. He pees in such a weird position that the fur on his hind legs (thighs?) gets wet. When he pees he spreads his hips and his bum touches the litter or the bottom of the litterbox and... well... he gets wet. Anything I can do... ummm... to teach him how not to get wet? He grooms himself after as he doesn't like being wet, but it takes him a few minutes sometimes, minutes while he sits on stuff and well you get the point... Also he is not a good coverer and I have read it is a male thing but Harley really tries to cover... He just misses... and steps into stuff... And there's litter everywhere but where it should be....

Sophie has always been a cryer, even when she was an only cat. Is it such thing as an announcer? Like 'mommy, daddy, I see that you're eating, I'm gonna go pooh now'? I really do not think it is pain ( I am hypochondriac regarding my cats).

And then there's Amelie... Well... She has OCD or something. She coveres her stuff like crazy for minutes. That is nothing though... but if anyone else uses the litterbox and we do not scoop the next minute, she goes and coveres it... like crazy. Half the litter is outside the box spread everywhere when she feels she is done. She coveres after Sophie too, not just after Harley, and Sophie is great in covering.

Anyways... any opinions?
post #2 of 24

Hello.  What a lovely and varied fur family you have!  

 

Amelie sounds like she has been well trained by her mom cat and knows just what to do, and feels secure enough in her environment not to need to state her presence to all other cats in the neighbourhood!  Also sounds like she is sensitive to smells and doesn't want other cats advertising themselves too much either. :D   I don't know how many litter boxes or trays you have but it could be Amelie would like to have somewhere very clean and where she can go without needing to cover up. 

 

If Sophie is good at covering but likes to 'announce' it could be that she is allerting others so that she can go in privacy  (very unlikely she wants to have an an audience but with some cats you never know).  Or some residual thing from when she was tiny and her cat mom would clean her.  There is always that risk that she experiences pain so be sure there is not sign that she is straining or appearing to be in discomfort.

 

Now, Harley.  confused.gif     I have not known a cat sit this low to pee.  It may just be a habit, but one quesion coming in to my mind is if you have talked to the vet about this or had him checked to see if he has any infection or discomfort when he pees.  Only reason I ask that is maybe there's something about it being warm and maybe soothing if he sits in the pee when he goes?   With the covering / not covering I'm not sure what to suggest for him as some cats don't cover.  One of my previous girls would dig and dig:  when you looked after she'd finish she would have made a perfect job of keeping her poop as exposed and stinky as was physically possible! :sigh:  

 

It would be helpful to know how many trays or boxes you have for your cats and , for the type of litter, how often they are scooped or cleaned out.  Much of the behaviour sounds as if it relates to shared space on initial reading.

post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much for your reply.

I think I sometimes see my vets more often than my friends and family, so health issues are ruled out regarding the litterbox (Sophie was thrown at the garbage when she was born and had ringworm, Harley and Amelie were born on the street and have herpes virus, Harley has a permanent damaged eye, so this is why we go to vets a lot).

I have three litterboxes, covered but without doors. I know the rule is number of cats plus one and I am really considering adding a forth, I just can't figure out where to put it. These three that I have are big though and are scooped as soon as they are used. There is never more than one item in the litterbox. All the litter is replaced and the litterboxes cleaned once a month (more often if I feel they need to). I use this litter: http://www.zooplus.com/shop/cats/cat_litter/cats_best/127214 I am pleased with it as really doesn't smell. For a bag of 10 L of this litter I could buy 5 bags of normal clumping, which I think it is horrible smell-wise.

All of their behaviors were like that since I have them and it has not changed. I remember firs time I saw Harley using the litterbox I laughed because he was so funny trying to cover but missing the stuff, and also his boldness surprised me ( he does nr 2 with audience with no problem, two humans and two cats did not make him shy).

Sophie was rescued and went into foster in a house with 7 cats and one litterbox, so maybe this is why she announces she goes.

And I forgot to mention Amelie, who uses the litterbox backwards - head deep inside the litterbox and butt close to the door, a few centimetres and she would have her butt outside...
post #4 of 24

If you are scooping, cleaning as you describe, with good quality litter that does not get smelly, and have a litter box each with consideration of a fourth I suspect that what you are seeing is your cats' personalities. Cats do all have their own ways, just as us people do I guess. :lol3:  Watch with Amelie as she gets older as one of my cats did this and as she got older she seemed to loose her awareness of what size her butt was and it invariably didn't quite fit in to the tray so things got a bit messy.

 

With Sophie, maybe it was her family's way of telling each other when they were taking a turn. That would make sense.

 

I would suggest a very fine clumping clay like the one I use for Harley -  it might cover his poop a bit more efficiently as he goes so that when he starts to dig and not cover it the poop might already have been coated a bit.  I'm not sure what the effect would be when he sits to pee though and it might be really messy!  I use Zooplus too and get the Tigerino Canada clumping unscented litter which works really well, and like yours is so efficient it works out quite cheep in the end. No odour when used and clumps really firmly with no breaking up so no waste or nasty niffs once clumps are taken out.  My boy digs like he's trying to get through to the oposite side of the world and he does manage to keep the litter in his box until he leaps out like an Olympic long jumper at which point I have sand - like tracking for about 2 meters. :sigh:  He's managed to track with every litter I've tried though so I doubt that's one I'm going to sort...

 

I think perhaps your cats are as 'normal' as any other cats. :D

post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 
I am lucky so I am the food chief and my bf is the chief scooper biggrin.gif And he is very thorough. I do help if he is not at home and I wash the litterboxes, but I don't complain smile.gif

I do think that maybe I should put more litter... maybe it would help both Harley and Amelie if it was deeper... I already have litter in my bed, so I probably won't mind the extra litter tracing...

I am pretty sure it is not a health issue as:
1. We took Harley to the vet today as he has a mild flare up of the herpes virus. He came back with an otherwise clean bill of health, he just needs an eye ointment for three days yupppiii
2. I am extra careful with Sophie as she is prone to constipation. We are doing fine for months now and I can tell the difference between a cry of pain and the cry of a jerk (meeeoooowww mooooom come fast I am dying! And I run to her and she purrs and rubs on my legs)
3. They are perfect in using the litterbox. Hope I will not jinx it. I think I would severely panic if they had an accident

I will try the Tigerino Canada, I will place an order next week as we are running low on food.
post #6 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by IrinaSaK View Post



And then there's Amelie... Well... She has OCD or something. She coveres her stuff like crazy for minutes. That is nothing though... but if anyone else uses the litterbox and we do not scoop the next minute, she goes and coveres it... like crazy.

 

Not to make light of your question but....I wish I had a cat like Amelie to cover for the ones who don't in my house!  I have one old man cat who will not cover his poops and they stiiiiiiiiiink!  :lol3:

post #7 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by IrinaSaK View Post

I am lucky so I am the food chief and my bf is the chief scooper biggrin.gif And he is very thorough. I do help if he is not at home and I wash the litterboxes, but I don't complain smile.gif

I do think that maybe I should put more litter... maybe it would help both Harley and Amelie if it was deeper... I already have litter in my bed, so I probably won't mind the extra litter tracing...

I am pretty sure it is not a health issue as:
1. We took Harley to the vet today as he has a mild flare up of the herpes virus. He came back with an otherwise clean bill of health, he just needs an eye ointment for three days yupppiii
2. I am extra careful with Sophie as she is prone to constipation. We are doing fine for months now and I can tell the difference between a cry of pain and the cry of a jerk (meeeoooowww mooooom come fast I am dying! And I run to her and she purrs and rubs on my legs)
3. They are perfect in using the litterbox. Hope I will not jinx it. I think I would severely panic if they had an accident

I will try the Tigerino Canada, I will place an order next week as we are running low on food.

Over the last 3 years using clumping of various sorts with Mouse I found that deeper was definitely better once you got a variety that clumped wel enough not just to fall apart and leave smelly stuff back in the tray - that just wasted alot.  

 

Glad I'm not the only cat person with litter in bed! :lol3:  Mouse's tray is next to my bed as it's the least intrusive place for it in terms of  having people to stay and it's the room he feels safest in.

 

Loving your description of Sophie's cries! crackup.gif   'Meeeoooowww mooooom come fast I am dying!'  I need NOT to let Mouse learn that one!   Oh, BTW - Mouse has herpes too.

 

I'm interested in how you think the Tigerino compares - it's the unscented I use, didn't fancy the other one with the litter being next to my bed.  I used she SaniCat from Zooplus before and that was great for odour and dust but the clumps broke up.  Beware, the bags weigh an absolute tonne!  I buy the twin pack now and can't lift the box - no idea how the delivery folk carry it up the stair to my apartment because I sure couldn't.

post #8 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MServant View Post


I'm interested in how you think the Tigerino compares - it's the unscented I use, didn't fancy the other one with the litter being next to my bed.  I used she SaniCat from Zooplus before and that was great for odour and dust but the clumps broke up.  Beware, the bags weigh an absolute tonne!  I buy the twin pack now and can't lift the box - no idea how the delivery folk carry it up the stair to my apartment because I sure couldn't.

I am placing the order on Tuesday. Tigerino Canada unscented 15 kg is less than half the price of what I use now, Cat's Best 18 kg (40 L), so hopefully everyone involved will fancy it. This is the main reason I want to try it, as I am very satisfied with the one I use now but it is rather expensive as we are using a lot. Can you please tell me how much a bag of Tigerino lasts (for how many boxes)? Thank you.
post #9 of 24

Long enough not to give TOO many delivery people heart attacks on the way up the stair to my apartment thankfully!  I THINK it probably lasts around 3 or 4 months, the one I just finished lasted so long I can't remember when I started using it, but for the first few weeks it was mixed a bit with the Sanicat stuff I had to use up.  Actually I still have some of that and tend to take it to shows because it's lighter weight. :lol3:  Despite the Tigerino weighing a lot it still goes on for ever because you have to top up and totally change so little.  I do only have one cat but it feels like he pees and poos for a whole family. :sigh:

 

My litter tray is round though so doesn't take a vast amount to fill, when I change over to a normal rectangular box I know it will take a lot more litter to keep the tray deep filled.  Mind you, in theory that should last in the tray longer and just keep getting topped up so might find it's not that different.  I'll see what you think when you've used it for a bit.  

post #10 of 24

Oliver sits to pee. I didn't realize that was weird. He doesn't get wet, though. Maybe the litter I use keeps him dry?

post #11 of 24

Mouse crouches but he doesn't actually sit down on the litter, I think it is more unusual for them to sit low enough for their fur to touch and get soiled.

post #12 of 24

Maybe he's hovering just above it. Looks like he's sitting, but I'm always looking at him from an upward angle, so my perspective could be skewed.

post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by IrinaSaK View Post



And then there's Amelie... Well... She has OCD or something. She coveres her stuff like crazy for minutes. That is nothing though... but if anyone else uses the litterbox and we do not scoop the next minute, she goes and coveres it... like crazy.

 

You know, I thought this was odd behavior but in talking to my vet about Travis' stinky poops yesterday, she said she has a cat like yours!  One will poop and not cover, and her other cat will go over and do it for him!  I never knew some cats would do that.  

 

 

post #14 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by betsygee View Post
 

 

You know, I thought this was odd behavior but in talking to my vet about Travis' stinky poops yesterday, she said she has a cat like yours!  One will poop and not cover, and her other cat will go over and do it for him!  I never knew some cats would do that.  

 

 


Good to know Amelie is not extremely weird after all! :clap:

 

Yesterday was litterbox cleaning day and I have to say I was more stressed than I would be taking an exam or something. Six vigilant eyes stayed with me the whole time to ensure proper litterbox maintenance.  Amelie, of course, was the first to sniff around.

 

I also put extra litter to see how that goes, both with the crazy OCD covering and with my low pee-er.

post #15 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by IrinaSaK View Post
 

........ Six vigilant eyes stayed with me the whole time to ensure proper litterbox maintenance.  Amelie, of course, was the first to sniff around.

 

..........

What is it with litter changing?!  Mouse ALWAYS has to supervise a full clean and change, and then the little bandit invariably leaps straight in (sometimes before I even get the lid back on) and poops right away, like he wants to see me cleaning out all over again. :sigh: 

post #16 of 24

When I clean Oliver's boxes, which I only do about once a month, he wants to have his face all up in there to see CLOSE UP what I'm doing. Which just means he's in the way. He can't really get in, because I tilt the box while I'm cleaning it, but he definitely tries. 

 

"No time for this, kitty. Back it up. Mama needs space to work." I imagine his response is, "Then work. I'm just making sure you do it right."

post #17 of 24

Most cats I have had will just get in, do their business, and scatter the litter all over the place for a few seconds without really having demonstrated any particular care about how they do the job. More like "meh, good enough!". 

 

My new kitty is meticulous. She will pee or poop, and then scrape ALL the litter in the pan over the top. She will dig her paw down to the bottom of the pan and gently without scattering scrape it all into one pile. I have discovered she has to expose the  bottom of the pan as much as possible around the pile so I cannot put too much litter in there to prevent her from doing that or she would be in there FOREVER (I'd probably find her passed out from exhaustion!). Even as is if I am upstairs I can hear her for 2-3 minutes scraping all the litter into one pile.

 

It does make it very easy to figure out where I have to scoop though!

 

I also had started her out with two boxes side by side to see which she liked better, to test litters, covers, etc. Well, she has decided she likes to pee in one and poop in the other and I am now too scared to remove either of them! So yes, she has two boxes exactly side by side in the exact same room. Her former owner had toilet trained her and I am occassionaly catching her sniffing and peering into the toilet (in the same room) so who knows, maybe in time she will have three options, ha ha.

post #18 of 24
I noticed that you said that your litter boxes are covered? My boy started to show odd litter box behaviour ... Then he stopped using it altogether .

Someone on this site suggested that I removed the lid, I did so and the problem was solved instantly. I realised that he likes to stand tall and proud when he goes and with the lid on there was just not enough room!!!

Maybe your boy is having the same problem?
post #19 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Turks rule! View Post

I noticed that you said that your litter boxes are covered? My boy started to show odd litter box behaviour ... Then he stopped using it altogether .

Someone on this site suggested that I removed the lid, I did so and the problem was solved instantly. I realised that he likes to stand tall and proud when he goes and with the lid on there was just not enough room!!!

Maybe your boy is having the same problem?

Tall and proud!  That's cute, I like it.  Our cats are the same--I have a couple of unused domes in the basement because they prefer their boxes without them.

post #20 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Turks rule! View Post

I noticed that you said that your litter boxes are covered? My boy started to show odd litter box behaviour ... Then he stopped using it altogether .

Someone on this site suggested that I removed the lid, I did so and the problem was solved instantly. I realised that he likes to stand tall and proud when he goes and with the lid on there was just not enough room!!!

Maybe your boy is having the same problem?


I have thought about that and it would be so sad in so many ways if that was the case. I live in a one bedroom apartment and two of the litterboxes are right near the bathtub (we do not have a shower cabin) and all the litter would get wet while showering. I am pretty sure that Amelie would turn the house into her own private beach/litterbox, as she manages to throw out so much litter even with the covered litterbox. If it were opened, nothing would stop her in throwing litter everywhere.

 

In the mean time, it seems that having more litter (in depth) has helped with the absorption and now, when Harley digs, he doesn't dig all the way to the bottom so easily. I will keep monitoring the situation. 

post #21 of 24

You might want to consider trying an open-topped deep/high sided litter box, or even a big Rubbermaid/Tupperware container with a big door cut into the side (not covered).  Generally a lot cheaper than a designated litter box! This will limit scatter and still allow it to be open topped.

 

Amelie may be scattering the litter because she is NOT going right in. I have seen cats who hate covered boxes basically stick right at the doorway and kick their litter out behind them out the door, or in a desperate desire to get out of their ASAP will fling themselves out when done and take litter with them. They do NOT want to be in there but are desperate to use the litter box so while they appear to have good habits, it also seems stressful for them.

 

Even BIG covered litter boxes are also often "smaller" inside in practice which turns a lot of cats off in terms of feeling confined, or if they have to pick their way through waste that has not yet been cleaned up. It really is true some cats really do NOT like covered boxes and will either refuse to use them or just have up and down habits. My own cat does not like them. When we first got her my husband wanted to try a covered box first. It was a big box for her size but still she chose the potted plant (for poop) and the down comforter (to pee on) instead. I immediately removed the cover and she has been 100% faithful to the litter box since. After watching her, I realized she likes to sit up high or sometimes perch her front paws on the side, or have her tail lifted right out of the way outside the box.  When she covers, she basically backs herself almost outside the box to get out of the way. Lots of reasons cats may not like covered boxes, even if as humans we might "prefer" them.  I have had cats that like them, but this is something that I defer to the cat on in any event. They are the ones using it! I know I prefer a comfortable bathroom myself and would not be too fond of someone making me use a confined plastic covered portable as my everyday bathroom when there are other options.  I also find uncovered boxes a lot less smelly (as do cats) since they do not trap odors (again, think of a portable potty) and it is easy enough to scoop anytime I walk by it (I have a Litter Locker so I just scoop and dump it in there).

 

When you are showering, can you move the boxes over away from any water spray? If you are not in there for hours, I am not sure if 5-10 minutes would be a big deal.

 

This is a good link, too: "The Litter Box From Your Cat's Point of View" http://www.catinfo.org/?link=litterbox

post #22 of 24
Thread Starter 

Just wanted to post an update. Since my last post Harley has been wet on his hind legs once. I guess deep litter helps. Amelie still has her obsessive compulsive moments.

 

Me and my SO discussed the open litterbox suggestions and we are definitely going to give that a try, if these issues go on. We are a bit afraid of the possible piles of litter outside the box.

 

We are changing one thing at a time though, and for now the new thing is the new litter. @MServant, I am so sorry I did not make a video of the first days with the Tigerino Canada litter. I only put the new litter in one of the three boxes, mixing it with the old litter. Well, it was the only litterbox used for a couple of days. We now have 1 litterbox with old litter and 2 litterboxes with mixed old and new litter (old: Cat's Best Oko Plus, new: Tigerino Canada clumping unscented).

 

And now the review: I think I am more reluctant to change than my cats. For them this litter is a total hit. Maybe because of the texture, maybe it has some sort of attractant in it, but they sure love it. My prince and princesses did not use a litterbox if it had one item in it, and now they use the same one over and over again even if we did not have time to scoop. It does not track (or at least not like the other litter) and produces a very limited amount of dust. It clumps really well.

 

It does have some cons though:

- odor. Cat's Best Oko Plus did a wonderful job odor wise. You wouldn't have guess there are three cats (and two humans) in a one bedroom apartment. Tigerino Canada is better than most other litters I've tried, but not as good as the other litter I use.

- the poo also gets covered in litter, and although that would be a PRO for most, for me is a CON because we had some issues in the past and we made a habit of analyzing the poo (Sophie had fresh blood on her stool in august; Amelie ate a hair band once and we had to see if it comes out the other way).

- it sticks to the bottom of the litterbox and on the scoop.

 

I do not know yet how much it lasts. I am still in shock that the 18 kg bag of Oko Plus only lasted two weeks (and a half) this time, since we started putting more (for depth). Usually it lasted three and a half weeks.

post #23 of 24

Thanks for the initial comparison with the litter @IrinaSak.  I have found the odour contrl really good but that could be because it only has to cope with one cat here.  it is significantly better when I don't mix it with the Sanicat I used to use though - I still have some of that to use up and put in in sometimes when I top up.  Mouse manages to track anything he's such a pest for leaping out of his tray so he still leaves the grey stuff on the rug  use in fromt of his tray,  but I don't think anything would stay in the box with him. :sigh:    Glad your kitties seem to like it, I don't think there are any additives so most likely it is the soft texture and or lack of other scents putting them off.  Keep me posted on the cost comparison when you see whether it lasts.  I totally get your comment about the poop inspection issues as it does coat the poo - which is why I reckoned it managed to control the odour better than other litters I had bought.  I'm relieved Harley hasn't managed to cake his hind legs in the stuff (yet).

post #24 of 24

Only cat lovers will post things about their cat's litter box habits! My youngster has OCD too, he scratches like mad to make the perfect hole, again and again, and then sometimes goes to another box to start again! He also covers my Burt's 'offerings' because Burt doesn't cover at all, which drives Casper crazy! Needless to say I have to have covered boxes and Casper still manages to throw a bunch out the front. He also LOVES to use the one near our bedroom at 3:00 in the morning, even though he never uses it during the day. He'll scratch for I swear 5 minutes and I KNOW he's laughing! :sigh: How do we put up with all this madness!

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