How do I convince my cat her litter box is not a good hang-out?
August 30, 2009 8:11 PM   Subscribe

My cat loves her litter box.... too much. How do I get her to stop playing in it?

It's not that she is playing with the messes in her litter box (although she will if she can't find any of her toys), it's that she insists on taking her balls into her litter box to play. I'm a little grossed out by it and wonder if it's spreading germs all over my apartment when she takes the balls out and rolls them around the rest of the place.

I don't know if it's relevant, but she didn't use a litter box until she was almost a year old (2 months ago). For the previous 10 months she was living in a country with 'wet' bathrooms and would go either in the drain or directly beside it (litter was unavailable and/or prohibitively expensive). She took to the litter box immediately, but now seems to think it's an okay place to hang out.

Any suggestions for at least getting her to stop taking her toys in? I've tried covering it and it doesn't really work.
posted by scrute to Pets & Animals (4 answers total)
My sister's cats did this (gross) and would also enjoy rolling in any litter that spilled on the ground. What worked for her was using a litter box that was really too small for them. Like a kitten-sized litter box, with a cover.
posted by jschu at 8:16 PM on August 30, 2009

Also try putting the litter box on maybe a book box or something, so that it's higher and less appealing as a play space. This doesn't usually keep a cat from using a box.

I've never had this exact problem before but cats' habits seem to be pretty fluid in a "roll with the punches" kind of way.
posted by shownomercy at 9:25 PM on August 30, 2009

I'm not sure if this is your problem but my cat, when she was young, loved to dig in the litter box. She'd flip around in the box and throw litter everywhere. I asked the volunteer from the shelter group that adopts kittens/cats out of Petsmart for advice and she said that many young cats do this, especially with the fine grain litter. She suggested switching a litter that wasn't as fine. It did help. Switching to litter that has more ball shaped pellets rather than the fine grain almost sandy pellets seemed to make the biggest difference. She would still get over enthusiastic about digging when using the litter box but she quit going in it just to play. Hope this helps!
posted by stray thoughts at 12:07 AM on August 31, 2009

maybe she would enjoy an additional hide-out box to play in, hopefully favoring it over the smelly litterbox. my cat doesn't do this play-in-the-litter-box thing, but she does think of it as a safe hideout during stressful times. and seeks out and enjoys all similiarly sized/shaped cavities in our residence for playing and really likes sleeping in an upside-down cardboard box (with a little door cut in the side).
posted by Tandem Affinity at 9:40 AM on August 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

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