Help us create an easily cleanable cat spraying box?!
November 14, 2020 8:40 AM   Subscribe

My cat (13M, neutered) has been peeing and spraying under a table. We're working with his vet but in the meantime have tried to make the situation more manageable. We created a big litter palace underneath out of a wood frame with insulation panels; the floor is 4 litter boxes. See it here: The problem is that the cat pees on the walls and it both escapes the structure and pools on the floor. We need some ideas to make the pee stay contained and have it (relatively) easy to clean up.

We taped the seams to try to keep it in but it's still not quite right. The front panel opens up for cleaning, but this morning there was pee on the floor that had dripped through that open space. We have considered lining it with pee/waterproof pet pads and blankets, thought about whether there are gigantic garbage bags we could line the whole thing with and have had a few other crazy ideas that don't seem practical. I'm hoping someone can help here because it's driving us (my BF especially) crazy. We found the cat has hyperthyroidism through this and were hoping that treatment would end this behavior; his numbers have improved but this behavior hasn't and we're still working with the vet on next steps. Any ideas or advice would be really appreciated! Thanks!
posted by iliketolaughalot to Pets & Animals (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Kiddie pool with a shower curtain around, hanging inside.
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:55 AM on November 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

Maybe this is obvious, but puppy training pads were a godsend when my cat was incontinent. I had them all over the place. I’m not sure how well taping them to the wall would work, but you could try it. Garbage bags won’t absorb the liquid, but the training pads do.
posted by FencingGal at 9:00 AM on November 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

OMG nightmare.

I'd suggest lining the entire thing with plastic sheeting - LARGE drop sheets from the hardware store on the bottom and pulling them up the walls, staple them at the top. The pee will run down into the bottom but if you've lined the entire thing it will be, like seanmpuckett suggests, a kiddie pool. There won't be any seams along the walls.

You could then do a layer of puppy pads on the plastic-lined bottom. This absorbs what runs down the walls. Wipe the walls, replace the pads.

Litter boxes on top of the pads.
posted by dazedandconfused at 9:07 AM on November 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

Conventional wisdom for large-scale litter box is the largest Rubbermaid bin with a fairly modest (and offset or on one end, to reduce the likelihood they target the hole for spraying) hole for entry-exit.

But for this rig, you could go with the shower curtain. Your local drugstore probably has a clear or frosted liner that'll suffice for now.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:32 AM on November 14, 2020

When my elderly cat started missing the litter box I started using puppy pee pads for the front of the litter box , and I also taped garbage bags to the back of the litter box that I secured to the wall so that any pee that missed got sluiced back to the litter box.
posted by hazel79 at 9:41 AM on November 14, 2020

Just get the largest plastic storage tote you can find and cut a door in one end or corner. As long as it's taller than his butt he physically won't be able to spray outside of it. and unless you have a giant cat you should be able to find a big enough tote. It'll be so much easier to clean than a shower curtain/pool setup, you can just pull it out and spray it down with enzyme cleaner* and rinse it out in the bathtub or yard. And you can get multiple boxes and swap them out if they need a good airing.

If you want to give him more square footage, buy two totes and cut corresponding doors where they meet, you can join them with some duct tape so they don't shift around. Don't put the lid on if he's used to open-topped boxes, some cats don't like feeling trapped. If his spray is managing to go up far enough it's hitting the wall above the tote, create some plastic spray barriers around the top edges. You could make them out of the lids pretty easily actually. And if you want to reduce the smell even more and make it easier to clean, taping up puppy pads on the walls would probably work.

*NOT nature's miracle, as I mentioned in another thread it used to be good but is awful now. I use this.
posted by 100kb at 10:58 AM on November 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

For our late cat, who would hang her butt over the side or out the front (and was too arthritic to use a box with a high entrance), and the at the time younger cat, whose butt would slowly rise as he peed, we ended up putting down a washing machine tray to house the litterboxes, lining the tray with puppy pads, and taping puppy pads all around the nearby walls.

Now that the late cat is gone and the newest younger cat prefers the Litter Robot, we just have one puppy pad taped to the cabinet where the older cat uses his litterbox (he refuses the LitterRobot utterly), and one underneath the box to catch any overflow from the one on the cabinet.

You can get clips to hold puppy pads to a tray or each other (or just use binder clips or clothespins), and we dedicated a roll of blue tape to the litter box room for taping pads together. We also found that the sort of pad with gel in it kept the pee from smelling for longer.
posted by telophase at 11:50 AM on November 14, 2020

Three cats here, one is an up-the-side-of-the-box pee-er. We bought two enormous totes - from, IIRC. We cut an entrance/exit hole out of one end, and keep the plastic lid on top of the box. We got opaque totes so we can both see in when things have gotten spray-tastic and kitties can see out. Not one outside-of-box pee incident since getting the hugely tall totes.
posted by mcbeth at 1:31 PM on November 14, 2020

I have a cat who lifts his butt while he is peeing so that it goes over the side of a regular litter box. I use big totes and with a little door cut into them, and I got some thin plastic cutting boards and I tape them along the tops of the litter boxes to extend them. They bend at the corners easily. I use packing tape and just redo it every time I do a full cleanout, and I tape along them along the inside of the box so that the pee just drips back down into the litter. So far this has been working very well for a couple of years.
posted by jenjenc at 5:15 PM on November 14, 2020

Use litter boxes with higher sides; storage bins come in a wide variety. possibly put the existing smaller containers in a larger container.
posted by theora55 at 8:30 AM on November 15, 2020

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