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excessive/incorrect digging in the litter box

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I have two cats that will use the box, pee or poop, doesn't matter, than proceed to scratch and "dig" at things outside the box to bury it. One scratches the sides of the covered box, and the edges of the open box way more than the other. Both cats are adopted, both as kittens, one from a shelter, one from a foster home.

I have three cats, three boxes, and I scoop every other day. They are all full size boxes, with deep litter, so being too full of waste isn't the problem.
Bella is now 7, and has done this all her life. Max is 3 months and has done it since we got him 2 weeks ago. They both bury their waste eventually, but it's 5 min. of mis directed digging and noise in the middle of the night at times.

All three of my boxes are different. 1 is covered, 1 is a three tray sifter litter box with a guard at the top to keep litter in but is still open, and the last is a conventional open box. All three boxes get the same treatment.

My Madison is the only exception to this digging problem. Any thoughts? I can't squirt or tell them to stop without discouraging box use, and two of our cats are locked in with us in our bedroom to give our grouchy 7 year old the roam of the house and some peace and quiet.

Is it correctable? It's annoying, but we live with it. Be nice if it stopped
post #2 of 15
one of my cats does that too. she also slings litter EVERYWHERE. pathces, however, doesnt; she just scratches around enough to cover things. so who knows lol
post #3 of 15
I know exactly what you mean. Big Guy Dino is an obsessive digger. Dig, dig, scratch, strike a pose, ummm...........no need more digging, dig, dig ummm, hows that ? no, a little more here might just do it, then strike a pose, umm, not quite yet. He drives us mad BUT when he covers it theres cat-lit flying everywhere, and he has to have it covered it double quick time, its manic !

It cos he a BOY

Now the girls, all very delicate and gentle. They go do what needs to be done no fuss what so ever


post #4 of 15
Yeah, some kitties do enjoy over excessive digging and covering when it comes to litter. Maia likes to paw and do her best to cover her left over food when she is done eating, when there is nothing there to cover it with! I think we should just be happy they are useing the litter and sometimes the less attention we show them toward thier little broadway performance, the more likely it eventually calms down.
post #5 of 15
Don't punish them when they 'dig' at the outside of the box--they are merely wiping the litter off their paws. You might provide a carpet or cat mat around the litterbox so they can clean themselves better.

Gizmo not only wipes her paws on the sides and edges of the box to dislodge the litter--she wipes her feet on the side of the mattress before jumping into the bed. Far from discouraging her, I encourage her to do this; but the three small carpet pieces in the bathroom also help her keep her feet clean.
post #6 of 15
It is possible that the litter is sticking excessively to their paws, and makes them uncomfortable. What litter do you use?
post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
I don't think that's it, we use Fresh Step mixed with the Small Spaces litter, and mix in the odor crystals with them both. I watch Bella and Max, and they are actually trying to bury their waste with the sides of the box. Bella especially will scratch the sides for a full min., than sniff her waste, realize that no, it's still not covered, and continue with the side of the box. Eventually she will dig the litter and burry it, but it almost seems that it's the last resort

Max will actually bring other things inside the box if he finds them near it and bury his waste with them. I have carpet squares at the entrance of the covered box (which by the way has been used almost exclusively as the poop box as apposed to the other two being used for both), and the other two are on carpet. If there is newspaper under them, Max will tear it up and bring it into the box to cover his mess with. We found this out at my in laws.

I definately don't punish them for this, because I don't want accidents around the house. Use the box, and bury how you will, I just wish there was a way to minimize the overkill digging.
post #8 of 15
I have one cat that's done this very thing since the day I got her! I think it's so funny! She has a mat to wipe her paws on, but she still likes to reach to the corner of it and try to cover with it. I sometimes wonder if it's because she's declawed and maybe the litter hurts her paws, but the carpet doesn't. (She came declawed.) Another weird thing is that she won't use the box if it's on tile if we don't put down a piece of carpet, rug, or something like that for her to "scratch" on!! She's never covered IN the box, just outside the box. I think she's a weirdo-cat!

Now our other cat has picked up on that behavior and is starting to "dig" on the outside of the box, but I notice it especially when the litter in the box is low.

Stephanie
post #9 of 15
I don't think they want to put their feet into a dirty litter box so they try to cover their business from outside the box which, of course, never works. I think it would decrease if you scooped every day.
post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by mooficat View Post
I know exactly what you mean. Big Guy Dino is an obsessive digger. Dig, dig, scratch, strike a pose, ummm...........no need more digging, dig, dig ummm, hows that ? no, a little more here might just do it, then strike a pose, umm, not quite yet. He drives us mad BUT when he covers it theres cat-lit flying everywhere, and he has to have it covered it double quick time, its manic !

It cos he a BOY
LMAO you just described Chynna!!!!!!!! She's a real digger both before and after.

Abby on the other hand tentatively goes in and quickly puts 3 of her paws on the side of the pan and stands tippy toes on the 4th paw. When I first got her she used to try teetering on the side with all 4 paws, but that didn't work, so she resigned herself to having to have one paw in the box for balance. But as soon as she's done she jumps out and either leaves to go and wash up, or she sometimes jumps into the tub and scratches in there and then goes and washes up. She will never bury her business. Sometimes Chynna will go in and cover it, but not always.
post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maddies Mom View Post
I don't think that's it, we use Fresh Step mixed with the Small Spaces litter, and mix in the odor crystals with them both.
AHA! SCENTED LITTER - there may be your problem CATS have very sensitive noses, and they are easily irritated by the scents in the litter. The trying to use shredded paper is another hint as to what might be the problem with the scratching outside the box.
Also, most cats like to have 2 separate boxes, one for pee and one for poo. I am also allergic to the scents in cat litter, so I use chicken feed mixed with unscented clumping litter in some of the boxes and regular JonnyCat clay litter. I have 8 cats and have found that the usu. routine is to poop in the clay litter and pee in the clumping litter
My cat Joey will scratch and scratch and scratch outside the box if another cat has used his box - nothing short of me cleaning it right then and there will shorten the scratching session. And then, he carefully smells the offending waste (usu. Andy is the culprit) and identifies the trespasser, then hunts them down and gives them a sound cuffing.
Anyway, I suggest that you try unscented litter, multiple boxes and cleaning the boxes in the evening so they have a fresh box in the night, and hopefully your sleep won't be getting interrupted. Hope you find your answer soon! Susan
post #12 of 15
There is an all natural litter, made from corn, and it smells like vanilla..................
post #13 of 15
It has been my experience that cats, (just as people do), have their own little quirks that are just plain a part of them.

My Nugie who is a former feral has always been one to make his toilet a lengthy, scratch everywhere, but the litter process. His scratching everywhere simply amused me, but the fact that he could go through so much and never cover his mess used to baffle me.
I did finally go a couple times with the scoop when he was done and show him about throwing the litter over the top of his poo. Surprisingly he does now cover most all the time. He does still do the marathon scratching though.

Is it really necessary to keep Bella and Max locked in with you at night? I would think that would be the most obvious solution. If you allow them free access to the house also, you could move the boxes and there would be no scratching noise to wake you nearby.
post #14 of 15
And here I always thought that my Black Beard was just obsessive/compulsive. He scratches for a good 10 min after doing his business. He goes on the side of the box, on the floor and going as far as tearing the drywall off. I had to finally put two pieces of lamenant flooring against the wall to protect the wall. He is the most loveable out of all four cats but he's the one with mostly all the behavioural issues. Almost like he's adorable and he knows it mind set. We're working on the other issues not worrying about the obessive scratching though. I feel better seeing that he's not the only one to do this.
post #15 of 15
My Madison does the same type of stuff. She'll do her business, scratch around a little bit, come out, and then decide she needs to do more, and will scratch some more. She'll scratch the liner up. I use the World Best Cat Litter so the smells are not bad.

When she gets out, she then goes to the stove and cabinets and wipes her paws. Isn't it funny how they seem to know how to make the loudest noises when they scratch?
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