By: | | Cats

Cleaning your cat’s litter box is enough of a chore without your cat kicking their litter out of the box every time they use it. Here’s why your cat throws their litter all over the floor – and how you can remedy this problem.

Making a Mess Is a Sign of Respect

Even big cats, like lions and tigers, bury their waste in the wild. They hide their poop to avoid attracting attention from a predator that could threaten their kittens, and from other cats.

However, cats leave their poop uncovered around the edge of their “turf” to mark their territory. An exposed poop is a cat’s way of saying, “Beware, this is my land!”

When your cat buries their poop, it’s their way of being modest. It shows that they don’t feel the need to mark their territory in your house, and may even respect you as the “king” or “queen” of their land.

So, next time you see a dusting of litter all over the floor, take it as a sign of respect – if not just because getting angry at a cat is a total waste of time.

Can Cats Be Trained Not to Kick Litter out of the Box?

Litter kicking is an instinctual behavior that is tough to discourage. Excessive litter kicking, especially when the behavior shows up suddenly after a lifestyle change, can actually be a sign of anxiety, and your cat will only do it more if they feel threatened by punishment.

If you catch your cat kicking litter, you can interrupt the behavior by calling them away from the box.  If you typically offer treats when calling your cat’s name, they’ll be more likely to respond to their name.

Clapping, shouting or spraying your cat with water are all outdated methods that contribute to stress. Stressed cats may kick up more litter, or may express their frustrations with other undesirable behaviors.

How to Contain Your Cat’s Litter

Odds are, you won’t be able to change your cat’s behavior. You’ll have better luck changing their litter box setup.

Spilled litter is a sign that the litter box is too full, too small, or too shallow. Try a box with taller sides, or a covered litter box, if your cat will use it. Fill it with just 2 inches of litter. Be sure to scoop often, or your cat may kick litter around as they look for a clean spot.

You can contain your cat’s litter by placing the box on a large mat or towel. Then, you can shake the excess back into the box. You could also replace the litter-box with a large, modified storage container, or place their small litter box inside it.

Heavy litters with large particles, like silica or pine wood chips, can discourage your cat from kicking up the contents of your box, but your cat may refuse to use them at all. You can gradually introduce them to a new type of litter by mixing it with their favorite litter material.

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