Magic is obsessed with her litter box. Advice? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-04-2011, 07:47 PM Thread Starter
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Magic is obsessed with her litter box. Advice?

Greetings all,

I've had Magic two weeks. She's 9 months old. She has lived most of her life in a cage at the county shelter. She is very well behaved and uses her litter box like a good kitty but obsesses over it.

The first week, I got her a clumping litter that the pet store recommended (brand name escapes me but it was pricey). I also used liner in the box. Magic would continuously go to the box and scratch and shred the liner. I thought maybe the liner was bothering her or perhaps the litter. So I switched to World's Best Cat Litter because....well...only the best for my Magic (plus I had read an article on the dangers of clay-based clumping litter and got scared ).

She still goes in and scratches. I have to sweep the bathroom a few times a day. Sometimes, as soon as I'm done, she'll go right back in the bathroom and scratches until the floor is full of cat litter again. Much of the time she doesn't even use the box. She just goes in there to scratch. Then when she does go, she's in there for ten minutes easy!

I picked the brains of some of the local pet shop workers who all have theories.

The box is actually a few years old. It's a large covered box and it was quite pricey when I bought it a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, the cat I bought it for died a few months after I bought it. I kept the litter box and used it again when I adopted a kitty which I only had for two months because my kitty died of FIP. The litter box was bleached and cleaned and then not used for over a year. When I adopted Magic, I started using the box again.

Could it be the box? One of the ladies I spoke with said that the scents of the other cats are in the box.

There are 3 cats that live on the property because someone abandoned them. (my neighbors and I refer to them as the "property cats"). They're too wild to domesticate but my neighbors and I take good care of them. We feed them, pet them, play with them and let them in when they want to come in (usually when it gets cold and/or rains). They have all slept over over the last year (they go to the bathroom outside). These guys are having a hard time adjusting to a new kitty being here and Magic is strictly indoors (I have seen coyotes on the property which scares me). My point is that the cats have been inside and their scents are clearly all over the place so Magic has already been exposed to the scents of other cats. Not sure if this has any relevance but I figured I'd mention it.

Someone else said maybe it's the cat litter but I've used two different litters and she's continued to behave like this.

Someone else said that maybe that's just Magic's "thing". "All cats have a thing" she said.

While Magic is going in the box and therefore there isn't a huge problem, I still want her to be comfortable.

Has anybody ever experienced something similar with their cats?
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-04-2011, 08:44 PM
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Location: Ontario, Canada
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Originally Posted by StrangeMagic View Post
Has anybody ever experienced something similar with their cats?

Well, yes and no. I recently posted a thread (just for fun) about adding a new box that was used by another cat, following which one of my girls sent mountains of litter flying out of the box. You can read the story here: However, they only did that once and they have been using the new box with no problems ever since.

In your case, I doubt it’s the smell of other cats. If she has spent most of her life in a cage at the county shelter, she must be used to the smell of other cats and accustomed to using litter boxes that were previously used by other cats.

I’ll venture a guess, which could easily be wrong…but perhaps digging has become a habit for her. That is, when she was in her shelter cage with a litter box, she might have amused herself by playing with the litter if there wasn’t much else to do. If so, you might find the habit subsides over time once she realizes there are much more interesting things to do now that she’s with you.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-05-2011, 12:29 PM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Texas
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Maybe she likes the way it feels. I know it sounds weird but maybe you could set out another tray or box and see what happens. She doesn't seem distressed from what you' ve said, but I could be on the totally wrong track. Anyway congrats on adopting another kitty and good luck!
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-06-2011, 01:52 AM
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IMO, I feel it is simply a very *strong* manifestation of an instinct to bury her waste. I agree with this just being a "thing" for her.

I also feel the same way about cats who paw/scratch at everything BUT the litter to bury their waste.
Those cats continue to paw/scratch because they can still smell the waste, but their instinct to bury has a mis-fire because they are scratching everything but the LITTER that would bury their waste. It is sort of like a Catch-22: They've got to bury the stink, but if they don't actually cover the stinky, it stinks ... so they've got to bury the stink. See?

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