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Litter box digging resulted in a mess this morning!

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Ugh. Before I start, I'd like to warn everyone that this post is long, and contains graphic information about litter box issues.

With that said, here we go. When Chesty came to us, we added a litterbox in our bedroom--not ideal, but we don't have a lot of room. He just looooves to dig and scratch noisily, especially at night (or so it seems). He even scratches the sides of the covered box (in other words, where there's no litter). This has been annoying when we're trying to sleep at night, but I thought it was just a normal thing that we'd have to ignore.

Well, Ziv adopted this behavior (he had never done this with the same vigor), so now we have twice the noise at night. He even come out of the box and tries to dig on the mat we have in front of it--he looks like he's trying to kick the mat into the box. Recently, there were some socks on the floor by the box, and he ended up kicking those into the box (eeew!).

Well, this morning Ziv had diarrhea. (Yes, I know I have to check on that--he's on two medications now, Zithromycin and Lysine, so I've put in a call to the vet to see if those can cause diarrhea.) He did his whole vigorous scratching thing in the box, then on the mat, then he turned around and put his head and front paws in the box and started digging that way--kicking stuff *out* of the box. Yes, it happened--diarrhea went everywhere, on the carpet, on the clothes hamper next to the box (I realize now how stupid that arrangement was).

So, you can imagine how disgusting this is. It also makes me wonder if this vigorous digging is not a normal behavior, but a sign of something else. If it's normal, I'm thinking about getting a different box--one of those large corner ones, to give them more room, or perhaps the top-entry style. I'm just worried that the top-entry style might cause the cats not to use the box.

Does anyone have any advice or experience with this sort of thing? Is this a normal behavior for cats that needs to be remedied with a different litter box, or is this a sign of some underlying health problem? (For reference, all three cats were dewormed in March and I changed their dry food from Nutro Max to Nutro Natural Balance recently--but that was over a week ago.)

ETA: I clean the boxes once per day, and this particular box was cleaned last night.
post #2 of 18
Get a larger box. Go to a discount department store and get a couple of large rubber bins with low sides. If you can't find low sides, then buy the ones with a higher sides, and have someone cut a hole in the sides (up a ways off the ground) that the cat can jump through. Or they easily can clear the high sides because they jump so well. But the standard litter pans are really not big enough for cats to use. Face it, they are programmed to go outside in wide areas you can't get much bigger than that. You should get two boxes preferably three- cats pee in one area then move off and poop in another-
post #3 of 18
Yes, hissy's comments are true.

I had to go to extra-large boxes for Nano -- she kicks up a storm and I give her a very deep layer of litter.
post #4 of 18
My Gracie does this, she digs and scratches and pulls at the lip at the entrance to her covered litterbox. She has always done this and we were actually told when we adopted her (humane society, but she was at the animal hospital when we adopted her cause the society had taken her there for lethargy) that she LOVED her litter box and would spend forever in there if allowed to. I think the digging (especially the digging/pulling of the pan lip) is helping her shed her claws, as she doesn't use the scratching posts or pad and doesn't scratch rugs and furniture either.
post #5 of 18
When my two have a poop they dig deeper than when they have a wee, especially Rosie who nearly digs into China!.

I bought deeper trays and they made a big difference, but Rosie still manages to get a few grains of litter shovelled out though!
post #6 of 18
this is what i've got, a large plastic childs toy box. works for me.

post #7 of 18
my marsh will too dig and dig and scratch and scrape the sides of the box, long after he's actually gone to the bathroom. He also 'buries' his food after each meal - i should really take a picture of a wall next to his food dish - it's dug deep with nail scrapings. YES.. he will 'bury' his food by scraping on a wall near by

it's adorable, but yeah, it does create a mess.

I think for you, the best thing is to get a big plastic storage bin and cut a hole in the side or better yet, they sell these litter boxes where the whole is in the top
post #8 of 18
Originally Posted by maverick_kitten
this is what i've got, a large plastic childs toy box. works for me.

maverick-kitten - i LOVE your setup
post #9 of 18
Hey! This sounds like my Kelly-cat. He scratches on the roof of the box. It's quite funny actually. The box might be too small. My other three (two of mine and my foster kitty), all get out of the box and then bury what ever they just deposited while outside the box. It gets tossed out often. I got a box with sides that slant in and that stopped some of the litter-pitching. The only down side is that I have a BIG adult male who is so big he actually has his butt hanging over the side and out of the box when he we routinely find poo on the floor next to the box.
I'm getting a bigger box for him next week when I get paid. :P Right now, we just laugh when it happens...what else can you do?
post #10 of 18
my boyfriend built it for me. its a hollow tunnel filled with junk i cant bear to throw away but might need one day ( ) blocked of with a wooden plank to prevent cats wandering in, then the litter box. my wardrobes are on top.

the blanket chest contains all Mavericks cat stuff and also helps the new kitten climb up on the bed.
post #11 of 18
Nicky what a brilliant idea!!

Just noticed the Catsan litter. Have you tried Wilkinsons own brand?. I buy their clumping litter and found it a lot better than the Catsan, and it's cheaper by far!
post #12 of 18
i buy wilkinsons own brand too! the catsan is for the kittens small litter tray because it was the purest litter i could find in tesco that day.

i LOVE wilkinsons but hate luggin it home on the bus!
post #13 of 18
I get it when i get my shopping on a tuesday because then i get a taxi back even though i'm only 5 minutes away
post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
I decided to go for a Clevercat top-entry box (I really can't bear open boxes, and all the cats are fine with enclosed boxes). I'm glad that no one seems to think this could be related to a health problem.

Rarepuss, that's so funny that Marsh "buries" his food--Ziv does the same thing. Luckily, though, he does it on the linoleum floor, and he doesn't use his claws, so no scratches (he's so amazing this way--he almost never uses his claws for anything except scratching his posts). It's pretty amusing, though.

ETA: There are other boxes, too (Booda Dome). It's just this one in the bedroom that causes a problem. Well, I never liked it much, anyway.
post #15 of 18
Soon after I got Franz and realized he was audtioning to be the first male cat Rockette, I got a JUMBO box and a detailed map of China. The jumbo box worked like a charm and once he looked over the map of China, he realized no matter how hard and long he dug and kicked he was never going to get there without big bucks for airfare. I then explained to him we were poor since I worked for a non-profit. Case closed and we lived happily ever after.
post #16 of 18

Mashie will get in her box and scratch for up to 20 minutes. THEN go...THEN scratch another 20 minutes. I walked in one day to find that she had carefully piled all the litter in the box into one large mountain--with a poo on top. Like a sculpture.

Made me think of "Close Encounters of the Third Kind".

"This MEANS something... This is important."
post #17 of 18
Oh! Is it bad of me that I couldn't stop giggling when I pictured the diarrhea mess in the room! Oh it must have been just awful, awful! I would have freaked!lol
Well, I'm sure it'll happen to me sometimes, Luna loves to kick around her litter and now she's got diarrhea...god, I'm worried. Can't wait to get back home.
post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 
Lilycurly--no, it's not bad at all. My bf had already left for the morning when it happened, and I called him up to tell complain about it to him...he just laughed and laughed. That is, until I said that *he* was going to be responsible for the major clean-up that evening (I only had time to clean superficially).

The top-entry box is working well, but Ziv retains his mania for scratching outside of the box. This morning, the bf missed the hamper when he tossed his shorts, so they landed on the low windowsill right by the box (yes, I have to clean up after the human I live with, too). Well, Ziv used the box, then stood up with the top half of his body through the entry and started scratching all around--he eventually came to the shorts and started clawing them down the hole. I got there just in time, luckily the shorts were already dirty!
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