Tag Archives: poop

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.

The Continuing Saga of Poop

On one of my earlier posts, Tub Pooper C, I mentioned the problem we had with Chris pooping in the tub and on the floor next to the toilet. While in Myrtle Beach, one of the things I did was add raw meat to the cats’ diet. My hope was that a more natural diet would help with Chris’s loose stool, which in turn would mean that he would not poop as many times during the day. That would increase the odds that the litter box would be clean when he had to go. That would also decrease the number of “accidents,” even if the percentage stayed the same. In any case, it didn’t work.

It is possible that an all raw diet might have helped but the cats didn’t like it much. I ended up mixing it with canned cat food to get them to eat it. I was told that I could decrease the percentage gradually untill they were eating all raw food. Unfortunately, that worked in theory but not in the real world. I am still giving them the raw meat twice a day but I was never able to reduce the canned food much lower than 50%.

When we moved back to Florida Chris started pooping next to the toilet in the downstairs bathroom. We had two large litter boxes upstairs in the “cats” room, which is what we called the spare bedroom. I wanted to put another litter box in the downstairs bathroom but Rose did not want it there because that is the bathroom that our company would use. The problem was, we rarely had company and the pooping on the floor was getting worse.

Eventually Chris started pooping on the carpet behind the dining room table. Rose was not happy. I seem to remember that he was very close to finding himself back in the shelter. That was when she reluctantly agreed to put a litter box downstairs.

This helped a little but I still found myself cleaning poop from the floor and the carpet from time to time. It was then that Rose’s mother gave us a three-week supply of probiotics for cats. I thought for sure that would help but after three weeks there was no change. So the pooping continued… Today, he is 95% cured, but that is another story.

On another note, I put a link to my new Bad Cat Chris section of my Zazzle store. If you are viewing the website it will be on the right. Otherwise you can go to workingcatstudios.com and click on the Bad Cat Chris tab. I now have 38 items but only 13 are showing. I am working on fixing that. Also check out my other blogs, newlybent.wordpress.com and romeorooster.blogspot.com.

Tub Pooper C

Chris had a few minor medical problems when we brought him home. Rose said it was common for shelter cats to have issues so we waited to see if they would clear up. The first problem was with his eyes, Especially with his left eye. He seemed to sometimes not open that eye as wide as the right one. He also seemed to always have what we call “eye boogers.” It is like dried up mucus in the corners of his eyes.

We seemed to be constantly cleaning his eyes. Eventually the problem diminished but it never really went away.

This is Chris a couple of days after his adoption. Notice the “eye booger” and the partly closed left eye.

Of course we were not lucky enough to have a cat with one problem. He also had a very loose stool, almost like diarrhea and he seemed to always be pooping. He would poop and then five or ten minutes later he would poop again. The funny thing was, he cried when he had to go. Actually, I don’t know if I would call it a cry, more like an announcement.

Unfortunately, he started pooping in the bathtub. Imagine the joy of coming home to that. The pattern seemed to be that he liked an absolutely clean box and he would use the tub if that wasn’t the case. This was a problem because he would poop once in the box and then have to go five minutes later but not want to use the box with poop in it.

We had to start monitoring the boxes very closely and clean them when they were used. Even that only worked so well because sometimes he would poop in a used box and sometimes he would poop in the tub when the box was clean.  Fortunately he would always pee in the box.

We started listening for the announcement and when we heard it would pick him up and put him in the box. This worked sometimes but not always. It was like potty training a two-year old.

Eventually we started filling the tub with water. This worked for a while but we had to remember to keep water in the tub. After awhile, he started pooping on the floor next to the toilet. This was a game changer. Now the water in the tub was useless and since the tub was easer to clean, we gave up on that idea.

The best thing about having Chris around is that he keeps us entertained. We were even able to find something funny about his pooping. We started calling him Tub Pooper C in reference to Grand Master B from Married With Children.

There is more to this pooping problem that would be better told in future stories. I hope you will join me. Next time I will tell you about Chris’s name.