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November 24, 2011 3:30 AM   Subscribe

Two cats, one dog: How do I keep a dog visitor out of the cat box?

So, I knew that dogs eat poop, but for some reason I thought if it were battered in kitty litter even a dog would not eat such a poo. My friend, who is coming to visit with dog, assures me such is not the case. So how do I keep the dog out of the cat box? What do people do?
posted by angrycat to Pets & Animals (21 answers total)
Put it where the dog can't reach it.
posted by Akke at 3:43 AM on November 24, 2011 [4 favorites]

You may not want to put holes in your woodwork, put I put a hook-and-eye latch on the cat-box room positioned to hold the door open about 3 inches. Not very elegant but it worked. Cutting a cat-sized hole in the door works too; again, you may not want to go there.
posted by bricoleur at 4:00 AM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

From experience I would agree that some form of physical separation such as a dog-proof barrier is your best answer.
posted by misteraitch at 4:38 AM on November 24, 2011

My parents have a cat and a dog. They put the litterbox in a spare bedroom and put a baby gate across the door. The gate is about five inches off the ground, which is enough for the cat to squeeze under but way too small for the dog.
posted by christinetheslp at 5:04 AM on November 24, 2011

zounds, I guess this is why people have yards
posted by angrycat at 5:12 AM on November 24, 2011

Yup. We keep our litter boxes out in the garage, with a cat-sized pet door as the only access. Failure to keep that door closed means two dogs with poop-breath, and bits of litter and cat poo scattered around the house.
posted by Lokheed at 5:28 AM on November 24, 2011

When we had a dog, we kept the litter box in our laundry room and put a baby gate across the doorway. The cat could easily leap the gate and kept the dog away from the big box of doggie-Godivas.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:41 AM on November 24, 2011

Since this is just a temporary visitor, maybe it would work to put the cat box inside a big cardboard box with a hole cut in it that only the cats can fit through.
posted by lakeroon at 6:15 AM on November 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

Is the dog going to have free reign of your entire home? At night as well? I would suggest keeping the dog in the same room as you or your visitor is in at all times and at night, closing the door of the room the dog is spending the evening in to prevent the dog from wandering about and eating unauthorized things.

If that's not doable, then I would try a baby gate if the room you keep the litter in has a door. Whatever option you choose, try it in advance to make sure the kitties are cool with it.
posted by vivzan at 6:23 AM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Our dogs are small, so this won't work well for medium or large dogs. Put a deep litter box on a sturdy container high enough so that the dogs can't see (or sniff) into it, and provide another surface the cat can jump onto and then step into the litter box. Although the dogs could still theoretically get into the box, they don't.
posted by Snerd at 6:34 AM on November 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

My parents' dog knocks over baby gates to get to the lovely, lovely litter box.

Bear in mind you will also have to hide the cat food.
posted by jeather at 7:19 AM on November 24, 2011

For a temporary visitor, I would keep the dog with you when possible, and either confine the cats to the room with the box, or confine the dog to a room where the box isn't when you're out. On the off-chance one of your cats decides they don't like the baby gate/ narrow space/ whatever, and starts peeing elsewhere, you will seriously consider burning down your house for the insurance money as you work to get the smell out.
posted by deadweightloss at 7:25 AM on November 24, 2011

Yeah, after years of living with cats my one big rule is "do not mess with the litter box if they're using it the way it is." Your objective should be to control where the dog is, not access to the litter box. And anyway there are like forty-five things in your house the dog will eat if he gets half a chance. Dogs are little eating machines. Sometimes not so little.

My sister found it necessary to leash the dog and hold the leash if he was in the same zone (i.e. two floors of the house) as the cat food, because otherwise the cats couldn't eat before he got to it. It seemed kind of mean to me, but it was the only thing that worked. Luckily she had (pre-dog) trained the cats to accept using a litter box stored in a kennel that was just a little bit too small for him to get into. One cat wouldn't use it, so she lived on the same floor as the cat food, and the dog was leashed, and problem solved.
posted by SMPA at 7:44 AM on November 24, 2011

I believe my dog is somewhat mentally compromised - but our box is shaped like a rectangular igloo, and turning it so that the little doorway faces the wall in an area where the cat, but not the dog, has room to walk along side it and go in seems to work for us. And that's all it takes because the dog is just not that smart, though she's a hound and a poop-eater from waaaay back.

That said, the litter box is in the laundry room where I seem to be at least four times a day, (between the wall and the big rectangular thingy that I believe is the fresh-air intake from the upstairs floor vent) so scooping as soon as I've noticed it works too. And I notice it, because the cat seems to like company when he goes, and then he likes to watch me scoop it. Because the cat is a mean, gross, weird little man.
posted by peagood at 7:54 AM on November 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

note: many cats have no problem climbing ladders.
posted by amtho at 8:40 AM on November 24, 2011

Our solution was to put the litter box in a utility closet in the basement and cut a cat-size hole in the closet door.
The food is on a counter that the cats can jump up to at any time.
posted by Drasher at 9:12 AM on November 24, 2011

Thanks all. The dog is a daschund and one of my cats is obese, and actually a bit larger than the dog. What I am going to try is putting the litter box on a desk, because I think even the obese cat can jump higher than a daschund.

I'm also a little worried about the safety of all animals concerned -- the dog likes to chase cats and my obese cat is a wall of muscle underneath her fat. So we're going to keep a close eye on them and not leave them unattended while they're in the same environs.
posted by angrycat at 9:52 AM on November 24, 2011

Late to answer the litterbox question, but your update is actually a more pressing issue IMO. If the dachshund is a cat chaser, I strongly suggest an umbilical cord -- that is, dog on a leash that is attached to his owner's waist or belt. Or, make everything easier by separating cats and dogs completely with a solid door between them; and vigilance.
posted by vers at 10:31 AM on November 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

oo ooo ooo I can TOTALLY answer this one. Because I have a small dog that likes to eat poop and a cat that poops.

One of these.

You could totally make one yourself, but I'm pretty lazy. They sell them at PetSmart too.
posted by magnetsphere at 1:14 PM on November 25, 2011

Seconding the Clevercat box rec. For the homemade version you could buy a large plastic bin with lid and cut a hole in the lid. Regardless, test out the setup first to make sure the cats know to enter from the top and are willing.
posted by nicebookrack at 7:51 AM on November 27, 2011

Thanks all! Put the box on a desk, so no poop was eaten. My fierce obese cat was very scared but just hid; is fine this morning now the dog is gone.

At the end of the day the little kitty and the little dog were pretty happily hanging out together on (opposite ends) of the bed.

Worst thing that happened was that the little dog jumped into the bathtub and scrabbled around for fifteen minutes, unable to get out, until the humans realized what was going on and rescued her.
posted by angrycat at 9:07 AM on November 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

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