Tag Archives: Litter box

More Cats in Litter Boxes

A couple of months ago I wrote about the many cats I saw who tended to spend their time lying in litter boxes at the SPCA shelter where I volunteer (see here). I suggested, and people agreed, that this is a behavior caused by stress. Since then I have accumulated several more photos of cats in litter boxes. Many, if not all, of the cats shown here have been adopted so enjoy the photos but don’t worry about the kitties.

Being in a shelter is no fun for anybody but usually, the end justifies the means. I’ve noticed the turnover is relatively quick and a cat that spends three months in our shelter is pretty rare. Now that the shelter is by appointment only that might change but my hope is people won’t forget about these pets in need even though they have other things to worry about right now. What do you think?


Shelter Cats Loafing in Litter

Since starting as a volunteer at the SPCA a few months ago, I have noticed a surprisingly high number of cats who spend there time lying in litter boxes. I don’t know why. The pods at the SPCA are about 100 square feet with plenty of vertical sleeping areas. Perhaps it is a reaction to stress. Considering there are between four and eight cats in each pod and the pods are constantly changing as cats come and go, I can understand why it would be stressful, especially for the more timid cats.

Sometimes they are joined by friends.

What do you think?

The Couch Pooping Continues

I recently wrote about Puck pooping on the sofa in the Florida room and many of you wrote back with suggestions about putting things like plastic on it to discourage Puck from pooping there again. I didn’t have any plastic that I could spare but I decided to put the cat’s Turbo Scratcher on the spot where Puck was pooping.

I was hoping it was that spot or nothing but he just pooped on the other side of the couch. I then loaded up the couch with many of their toys.

Cats, sofa and toys

That worked, somewhat. The next day I found a pile of poop on the floor in front of the litter box. That’s not ideal but I prefer poop on our tile floor over poop on our couch.

Thursday was the day our cleaning woman comes and I think my wife was embarrassed about our “messy” sofa and insisted I take all the toys off of it. I did, and it lasted until Friday before I found poop it, so back the toys went. Since then I have cleaned poop off the floor about four times, including morning.  As I was writing this post, I took a short break and noticed a pile of poop on the ground. Since I scooped twenty minutes before, two of the litter boxes were clean but the one with poop in front of it had been used once.

Puck has never had an issue with the litter boxes before and I have no clue what could have changed with him but I hope I figure it out soon.

Related posts:

A New Level of Badness

Wrongly Accused?

Couch Pooper Puck

Couch Pooper Puck Strikes Again

Couch Pooper Puck Strikes Again

Puck has been pooping on our sofa in the “cat’s” room. At first we blamed Chris because that is something Chris would do but we soon realized the the evidence started pointing to Puck.  We bought another litter box (see here) because we assumed the boxes were not always as clean as they should be after adopting Floki. That worked for a while but soon we found poop on the sofa again so I moved the new box next to it to see if that would help.

cats by litter box

A day or two after putting the box there, I think it was Saturday, Rose was at her desk when Puck decided to poop on the couch. Keep in mind that her desk is inches from the couch but she felt compelled to call me in from another part of the house to stop what was going on. I arrived just in time to see the event unfold in real time. There wasn’t much I could do at that point. If I was there from the beginning, oh, like maybe sitting in a chair next to him, I could have picked him up and put him in the box. The funny thing is, we never new for certain that Puck was the culprit, but he showed us he was guilty in a big way.

calming spray for catsAt this point, I don’t know what to do with him. I have a bottle of Nature’s Miracle Calming Spray that I bought for a problem long ago but I can’t remember what that problem was. In any case, I sprayed it on the sofa this morning and Frankie and Floki became very interested in the smell. I also have a bottle of “No Scratch” spray, which I think is like a repellent, but I don’t want to repel the cats away from the sofa. I hope the calming spray helps because I don’t know what else to do to get puck to poop where he is supposed to.

cats on sofa

Maybe next I can put the litter box on top of the sofa. My wife would love that.


Litter Boxes are for Cats

When I met Rose she had one cat, Sneakers, who had a typical litter box. Later, when we added more cats, we added a couple more standard litter boxes. These boxes came with a cover that is designed control odors and keep more of the litter in the box. It is a great idea for humans, but what about for cats?

I never liked the covers and either threw them out or bought the box without the cover. I tried to look at it from the cat’s point of view. Would I like to crawl into a small cave to do my business? That is essentially what an outhouse or Port-O-Potty is and I never like using those and only do so when left with no choice.

The idea that those covers control odors, in my opinion, is a fallacy. They may somewhat contain the odors inside the box, in concentrated levels, that the cat then has to endure every time they use it. In addition, all those smells are released all at once when you remove the cover to scoop. I have seen my cats use the litter box without the cover and they will almost always have their head in a position outside where a cover would be, indicating to me that the cover interferes with what is comfortable for them.

We eventually switched to larger boxes, in part because we had too many cats, but also because I felt the standard litter box was too small and confining. Cats like to choose a good spot to go in and I felt the cats would feel better if there were more room to find that spot.

At first, we bought big storage boxes. These worked well but when Chris came along and started pooping outside the box, I spent many years refining our litter boxes, and the litter itself, to get him to poop where he should.

I tried very hard to think like a cat so I could understand why Chris would not always use the box. I started scooping the boxes every time I noticed one had been used. Chris had a very loose stool and would sometimes poop in the box and then five minutes later poop again on the floor, presumably because the box was “used.”

Another thought had been that the boxes were a bit too tall and climbing into a box is probably not natural for a cat. With that in mind, I replaced the boxes with ones that were a little shorter. I also bought an actual litter box that was short enough so Chris could just step into it. These changes helped but they were not enough.

Just recently we purchased two litter boxes. One was fairly big with a low front for easy entry. Our most recent purchase was a huge litter box called the Giant Litter Pan that is also lower in the front and it has two pockets for the scoop, bags and whatever else you need there.


Chris using our new Giant Litter Pan

Chris using our new Giant Litter Pan

Of course, the right box is only part of the solution. The other thing to consider is litter. Litters that are dusty are not good for humans or cats. I tried many litters and, at least for a while, settled on Tidy Cats because it had a relatively low dust. The Tidy Cats worked well enough but it did not stop Chris from pooping on the floor.

What helped that was a litter called Dr. Elseys Cat Attract. This litter has an attractant that somehow makes the cats want to use it. The drawback to this product is the cost, at about $30 a bag. It also did not work 100 percent of the time, however, the number of poops I had to clean off the floor was reduced by at least 80% which made this well worth the extra cost. It is also even less dusty than the Tidy Cats.

Chris’s pooping problem was eventually eliminated when we moved to our current home and put our three litter boxes (now two) in the same room. We had them in different rooms so Chris would always be close to a box but I see now that was a mistake. If one box was not perfectly clean in the old house, Chris was not going to go to another room to check out the next box. He simply pooped on the floor. Now if a box is dirty he can just step over into the other box to do his business.

Now that the litter box issues are behind us we switched the litter to Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat litter. It is the same as the Cat Attract but without the attractant (which is called
Precious Cat Ultra Litter Attractant and can be purchased separately) and the higher cost. It is still not cheap but it is very low dust and is also unscented, which I think is good because the perfumes added to litter is just one more thing intended for humans that a cat does not need.

Now I spend a little more time scooping and sweeping litter but I consider that time well spent. It is way better than cleaning poop off the floor.

Puck Takes a Dust Bath

Lately we have noticed that Puck seems to want to roll around in the litter box.

Puck rolling in litter boxAt first we thought he was just being weird. It would be like us humans washing our hands in the toilet.

Puck rolling in litter boxBut then we discovered it is common for cats to do this. It is called a “dust bath” and naturally, this is supposed to be done in the dirt, but our inside cats have no access to dirt so this is the best they can do.

dust bathOne of the reasons they do this is to cover their bodies with good bacteria that they then lick off themselves to get this good bacteria into their digestive system. They may also do this to scratch an itch or mark their territory. My worry is that the bacteria in the litter boxes may not be what I would consider good, although so far Puck seems to be in good health and is on the desk as I type this purring and causing typos.

Falling Off the Poop Wagon

Since the day we got Chris we had to deal with him pooping on the floor. Usually he would poop in the box but sometimes he would poop on the floor or the bathtub. It was a difficult struggle with him and we finally got some relief with a special litter called Dr. Elsey’s Cat Attract. This helped a lot but I still had to deal with an occasional poop on the floor.

When we moved into our current home last June, Chris pooped on the floor a few times the first month and then suddenly just stopped. For six months we enjoyed a Chris that was actually good, at least as far as litter box usage was concerned. Then Rose’s son came to visit…

Nick came just before Christmas and spent a week with us. He couldn’t handle Chris annoying him while he was trying to sleep so instead of closing his door, he put Chris on the patio and locked him out of the house… without a litter box. He may have tried to close his door only to have Chris flick the handle up and down, I don’t know.

What I do know is Chris had no choice but to poop on the patio, and he did. Like an alcoholic taking that first drink after months of abstinence, Chris found it hard to stop. Several times since then I have found poop on the patio. Yesterday morning I was late leaving for work because I had to clean three piles of poop on the patio. It has been several days since we spent time on our patio so I guess it was accumulating.

Fortunately it is not everyday that he does it and he hasn’t brought the problem into the house yet. Rose wants to put a litter box outside but I want to first work on trying to stop the problem. I have cleaned the area very well and somewhere lost in the house is a bottle of no-go spray. It hasn’t been very effective in the past but it may help a little. Does anybody else have a suggestion that might end this?

The House of a Thousand Lizards

The title may be exaggerated but lately it seems like I find the cats playing with a lizard almost everyday. Sometimes it happens more than once in a day. I can only guess that they come in under the patio door, Chris or Puck finds them, asks them nicely if they want to play, and when hearing no reply (lizards can’t talk silly) bring them into the house for fun and games. It always seems to be a group event. Apparently they think they are pack animals like wolves.

This past week I had to dislodge three lizards from either Chris or Puck and put them outside. A couple more times I was too late.

The other day I walked by the bathroom and noticed Puck in the litter box and Chris standing next to it as if he was waiting his turn. Upon further inspection I noticed that Puck had brought a lizard into the box. I was too late to save it and I am not sure if it was a ceremonial burial that I interrupted.

Hurry Puck! If they find it we will be in trouble.

Hurry Puck! If they find it we will be in trouble.

I am burying it as fast as I can.

I am burying it as fast as I can.

Who Needs Sleep?

The first night with Chris was rough. Actually, every night for the last two and a half years have been rough, but we were not prepared for Chris at that time.

Normally our cats would gradually filter into our room at night and congregate on my side of the bed, eventually taking up about a third of the space, That was the biggest problem we had no deal with. Suddenly, we had a five and a half month old kitten who loved to bite. It did not take long to realize why he was returned to the shelter.

He would not sit still. If he wasn’t laying accross my neck and biting my nose, he was laying on top of Rose’s head and biting her ear. Rose used to tell people jokingly, “You can wear him as a scarf, you can wear him as a hat…” If the face biting wasn’t bad enough, he would see our toes move under the sheet and attack them. Ouch!

Removing him from the bedroom wasn’t an option because he would cry at the door and worse, dig at the carpet. It was very rough for a while getting enough sleep. Even today, on his best day, he wakes us up at 5:00 a.m.

We tried every thing we could think of. I tried putting something in front of the door so he couldn’t dig at the carpet but then he would come around into the bathroom, which had two entrances, and cry and scratch at the door relentlessly. I would have closed the second door but the litter boxes were in there.

We tried pulling the blanket over our heads so he couldn’t bite us but then it was like a game to him and he would work at digging his way in. I even bought a tube of calming gel but using it on Chris was like trying to calm a hurricane by blowing in the opposite direction. Eventually I felt like my marrage could be in jepordy if I couldn’t find a way for us to get enough sleep.

Day two – Chris attacks stuffed animal