Maybe I should just get her a kiddy pool. It'll be the kitteh pool.
August 9, 2012 5:26 PM   Subscribe

My cat pees with her butt hanging outside the litterbox. How can I get her to just move forward a teeny bit?

I have 3 nearly identical black cats (obligatory pic here, sorry it's so dark) and to be honest, I've been super lucky in the cat-pee department. My cats have been great with the litter box, and in three years with 3 cats I've had only one deliberate accident with an obviously ill kitty. I actually feel bad complaining, because I know it could be soooo much worse.

But one of my cats tends to pee with her butt hanging out of the litter box. She goes in halfway and just lets loose, then turns around and tries to bury her contribution, despite the fact most of the time she's missed the litterbox and all her burying is ineffective as the pee is on the floor. She's not shy, this morning I watched her do it right in front of me. She also poops like that, but her misses with number 2 are less frequent.

With the 3 cats I have 2 large litterboxes and 1 med sized litterbox, although all three definitely prefer the bigger boxes. The biggest is actually just a giant rubbermaid container, with lid and a hole cut out of the side. Then I have giant traditional litter box on the lid of the rubbermaid container - it's a multi story pee house that all three seem to be ok with. But my locationally-challenged furrball misses from all boxes. Bigger litter boxes do not exist in pet stores. I'm only half-kidding when I say I'm going to buy her a kiddy pool and fill it with litter instead...

How on earth can I convince my cat to just pee inside the box? She literally just needs to move up an inch to two, and there's plenty of room! I'm getting really tired of pee puddles on my floor (and litter box lid!). I've protected the floor and clean up is pretty easy thank goodness, but Nature's Miracle is expensive. Never mind that puddles of cat pee are not a fun smell to come home to.

Any ideas? Thanks all!
posted by cgg to Pets & Animals (25 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
So is the box on top of the container covered? And what about the other box? Also covered?

I only ask because I've had cats be weird about covered boxes.
posted by xyzzy at 5:31 PM on August 9, 2012

What about a box with taller sides?
posted by mollymayhem at 5:34 PM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

put a bigger cat litter box underneath the regular one?
posted by any major dude at 5:37 PM on August 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

I had a cat that "missed" frequently. Our solution was a Booda. A little pricey but worth solving the problem for me. Since kitty has to walk up the ramp, no more puddles!
posted by quietta at 5:38 PM on August 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

I've solved this problem by surrounding the litter box with (expensive, planet-destroying) puppy training pads. But my cat is elderly and not really amenable to change. Still, this will help protect your floors while you try new methods/boxes/litter.
posted by rtha at 5:41 PM on August 9, 2012

You need the Kat Kave!
posted by analog at 5:42 PM on August 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

How is she missing with the one that has a lid?
posted by Houstonian at 5:45 PM on August 9, 2012

Seconding the Booda. It's an awesome litterbox and not only solves the "overhanging cat" problem described but cuts down on tracking litter outside the box.
posted by wildcrdj at 5:46 PM on August 9, 2012

Response by poster: Hmm - the Booda might be worth a try. So would boxes with taller sides all around. The complication of course is that with a multi-cat household, I can't risk upsetting the precious dynamic of successful peeing from the others, so there's no guarantee my problem cat is even going to use a new box while keeping the old ones around.

My current setup is basically this with a hole cut out on the narrow end, with lid. On top of the lid I have something like the xlarge variety of this. And under all that I have a waterproof mat for the messes. I also have the large version of this elsewhere, but it's rarely used. Problem pee-er literally has her butt hanging outside the opening of the covered boxes, and it's a free-for-all on the uncovered one. I keep the uncovered one around because it's the preferred peeing location of choice for one the the other cats.

Please keep the ideas coming!
posted by cgg at 6:03 PM on August 9, 2012

My girlcat does the butt-hanging thing, so I'm on Team Puppy Pad with rtha. Box sits on waterproof mat, and a puppy pad covers the area in front of the box entrance (like a doormat). Mess goes on pad, pad goes in trash. Sorry, planet!
posted by shiny blue object at 6:08 PM on August 9, 2012

The only thing about that Booda box, which I had once, is the place where the cats actually pee is quite small. See lower on the page here and also for other suggestions.
posted by analog at 6:13 PM on August 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

It's so funny because I feel like I'm reading about my kit cat all over the place here!
I am having the same issue - she will step right inside with her butt hanging out, but luckily she'll turn around and poos inside. I have been using the training pads, like rtha, because my cat is older as well, but yes they are expensive and it can get really aggravating when she pees outside - even though the litter box will be sparkly shining clean!

I'm out of town for work right now, but my boyfriend, who is cat-sitting, apparently tried to put up some leftover bendy house siding (!!) as a sort of encasement around the litter box ... alas, she is still insisting on poking her bum out through whatever little opening she has. Larger litter boxes, lids, clean tests from the vet, litter change - NOTHING has worked for me. I was going to say, about your (joking) option with the swimming pool, your kitty would probably find the edge and go over that, too!

And, thanks, any major dude, for that suggestion.. i might have to try that.

Sorry to go on about my woes, but thanks for asking the question. Hang in there - cats are fickle, wonderful, mysterious little creatures.
posted by foxhat10 at 6:14 PM on August 9, 2012

We're also on team puppy pad here.
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:22 PM on August 9, 2012

I enthusiastically second the recommendation for the Clevercat. I got it to address litter kicking issues, but it should be helpful for your problem as well. It is nice and big and my 2 cats share it with no problem.
posted by maryrussell at 6:30 PM on August 9, 2012

I would have tried something like the Clevercat, but Girlcat is getting old and I didn't think she could handle jumping up every time. (Also, though she is pretty, she is dumb as a brick.)
posted by shiny blue object at 6:32 PM on August 9, 2012

Can you add weight to the lid somehow? My cat used to do this, but the pressure of the lid scoots her inside.
posted by unknowncommand at 6:46 PM on August 9, 2012

Oh, wait, you don't have a swinging door, just open entry into the box? Get a box with a swinging door (that's what I was suggesting you weight). It's been the only way for mine, at least.
posted by unknowncommand at 6:48 PM on August 9, 2012

I had an cat who stopped squatting so thusly ended up peeing out of the door in the lid, or over the edge if there was no lid, or sometimes right on where the lid sat on the bottom, which would sort of run out the side.

My solution (very cheap!) was a large Rubbermaid container with no hole, no lid. So she had to jump in and when she peed standing up, the pee just hit the side of the container and ran down into the litter.
posted by Squeak Attack at 7:20 PM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

We had to get a large shallow tray to put the box inside. We got it at Home Depot, I think; it was intended to go under washing machines (so you can get the visual on the size). I think it was $15? We would line it with a giant puppy pad, and put the actual litter box right inside it in the center on top of the pad. We didn't use a covered box because it ended up worse. At least this way, whatever size she peed off of, we were covered. It's not a SOLUTION, but it takes care of the problem easily.
posted by clone boulevard at 7:29 PM on August 9, 2012

Have you tried turning a box so the opening is facing the wall? The different orientation might prompt your cat to enter fully and turn around. Obviously, protect your wall first.
posted by hydrophonic at 8:00 PM on August 9, 2012

We've got the clevercat and it's great. We mostly got it because we thought it would prevent the dog eating the cat litter (works a treat for that) and also because we were living in a very small apartment without a great place for a litterbox, and didn't want to have to look at poop all the time.

If you don't want to do that, maybe you could try getting a bigger box? This one is almost three feet long (albeit some of that is pointless storage compartments) and your cat might be more down with peeing inside the box if she felt like she had more space.
posted by Scientist at 8:10 PM on August 9, 2012

Yeah, I'm on team Clevercat now (I got it so my kitties wouldn't scatter litter everywhere, but it seems like it would solve your problem as well unless you have especially elderly/un-nimble cats). My sister homebrewed one out of a large plastic storage container and that has worked for her, and more cheaply than the store-bought top loader I have.
posted by charmedimsure at 10:30 PM on August 9, 2012

Hearsay: I've heard that vertical jumps like Clevercat aren't so good for the elderly - it's hard for arthritic hips to get good footing on litter and force a vertical jump, so could discourage litterbox use.

Personal anecdote: I have a tray+grill at the entrance to my cat's box to cut down on tacking litter across the bathroom. The bonus is it contains any accidental outside-the-box pee, and I just rinse it off in the bathtub and put it back, no fuss. Of course my little darling only puts me though this once every 2 months or so. YMMV

Random Google encounter while looking for the other link: This looks like a permanent washable version of the puppy pad trick.
posted by aimedwander at 5:58 AM on August 10, 2012

For those using puppy pads: reusable pads are great, and alleviated my planet guilt.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 7:15 AM on August 10, 2012

Use vinegar to liberally & thoroughly clean the outside of the cat box and the floor. Cats can smell where pee has been better than you can.
Clean the cat box daily. Scoop out solids, including any clumped pee. The fresher the box, the happier all cats.
I had a cat that did this, and used a plastic dish washing container with higher sides. If the level of kitty litter got too high, she'd still hang herself over the edge.
That clevercat looks like just the thing.

For those using puppy pads, newspaper is quite absorbent, you'd be recycling it, and it's free.
posted by theora55 at 7:45 AM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

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