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Q: hiding in the litter box?

April 7, 2010 | By Amber | 4 answers | Expired: 1588 days ago

Amber

Sammy has a habit of hiding and hanging out in litter boxes.

for those who don't know the back story, we picked Sammy up from Animal Control a couple of months ago thinking he was feral, but when he turned out to be friendly, we brought him inside to try to find him a home. he's lived most of his life outside. he seems to be adjusting pretty well to life indoors...except for this one quirk.

he seems to prefer hanging out inside enclosed litter boxes but will also do this with open ones. we have various boxes and other similar, non-litter-box hiding places he could go into, but instead, he favors the litter box.

this may become a problem. it's weird when he does it with a normal litter box, but this morning, he did this with one of our Litter Robots. eventually, the weight sensor on the Robot spazzed out and a red light started blinking. he's not in any danger, and we can easily fix the problem...*if* we're home! otherwise, the Litter Robot will not cycle during the day.

so my questions...why is he doing this?? again, it's not just boxes and enclosed spaces, it's litter boxes specifically. i can only guess that he likes the litter, perhaps because it somehow reminds him of being outside. and my other question...how can i get him to stop this? i mean, of course we want him to go to the litter box when he needs to do his business, but we don't want him hanging around in it, monopolizing it or, in the case of the Robots, causing it to malfunction. does anyone know of anything similar but different enough that he shouldn't use it as litter? any kind of product that might fulfill the psychological or emotional need that is driving him to hide in litter boxes?

Readers' Answers (4)
Jillian
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Apr 07, 2010

the litter box is a safe place. it is strange b/c cats don't like to lay where they go, but i think between the comfort of being in a box {even uncovered} and having his own scent already there s his support during this transition.
i've never heard of or experienced this problem, but what i would do is create a similar experience in another box. put some freshly cleaned bedding in an appropriate box and add something that has his scent on it {a toy maybe?} or you could feed him in this new box. whenever you catch him laying in the litter, pick him up and place him in the new box w/praise and a treat once you set him down. be consistent, i'm sure this one will take awhile to stick, and hopefully he'll relate it to being a better place. maybe buy a bottle of feliway and spritz the new box for added comfort.

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Anonymous
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Anonymous

Apr 07, 2010

If he insists on it (and we know of male humans who hang out in park restrooms too, so how strange can it be LOL), maybe that oil dry that looks like litter would be a substitute for him. I can't think fo much else that is inert and has that texture.

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Marta G.
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Apr 08, 2010

the litter may have a famillar scent that sammy likes and feels that is his favorite "safe spot'.Or if there are other cats in your home he may be trying to protect it from them because he dosen't want to share it.But you have to remember cats are cats and we don't understand them completely.

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