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View Full Version : cat behavior - cat puts his face in the litter box...help!


November 30th 07, 03:44 AM
Here's a strange one for you, internet:

One of our cats has some very strange bathroom habits.

He executes #1 like a normal cat, but when it comes to #2, he'll spend
2-3 minutes digging in the litter box and scooting litter around with
his paws and also WITH HIS FACE. He's done this since we got him as a
9-week old kitten. He'll then take care of his business and make a
show out of burying his poop, spending another minute or two "cleaning
up," which usually amounts to shuffling more litter around and
scraping the sides of the litter box till the liner is in tatters.
He's emerges from the litter box with his cute black face covered in
white dust. Aggh!

I've looked this up to no avail, not a mention anywhere.

Here are the facts--maybe someone out there has had this problem
before or can help us solve this mystery?
================================

He's just about 6 months old, getting fixed next week.

He shares our house with a female kitten about this age. They get
along very well, neither of them is a bully, and though they play a
lot, they've never been in a fight.

We are absolutely religious about cleaning the litter box. We do it
every morning and every night, so it's not an issue of litter box
neglect.

When we realized he had some litter box issues, we changed our litter
from a wheatgrass-based litter to World's Best Cat Litter. This had no
effect on his behavior.

We're using the biggest littler box we could find. Not hooded, not
automatic, just a plain old litter box. We tried two other types of
boxes as well, no effect on his behavior.

We would never scold him for this behavior, the last thing we want to
do is have him develop a negative association with his litter box.

We got them both from a rescue group.

It doesn't seem as though he's playing in the litter box. He's
absolutely serious as he goes at the task of out burrowing into the
litter with his whole face until he finds just the right spot.

He displays some other odd behaviors: He scrapes at his food bowl and
place mat incessantly, more "cleaning up" behavior. He also made
constant attempts to nurse off our female kitten, but has recently
outgrown that behavior. Poor guy must have had a rough start.

Our other kitten is just fine.


Please--if you've got any ideas for us, it would be much appreciated!
We love him to death but are tired of wiping him up after every trip
to the bathroom!

THANKS.

Noon Cat Nick
November 30th 07, 04:37 AM
wrote:
> Here's a strange one for you, internet:
>
> One of our cats has some very strange bathroom habits.
>
> He executes #1 like a normal cat, but when it comes to #2, he'll spend
> 2-3 minutes digging in the litter box and scooting litter around with
> his paws and also WITH HIS FACE. He's done this since we got him as a
> 9-week old kitten. He'll then take care of his business and make a
> show out of burying his poop, spending another minute or two "cleaning
> up," which usually amounts to shuffling more litter around and
> scraping the sides of the litter box till the liner is in tatters.
> He's emerges from the litter box with his cute black face covered in
> white dust. Aggh!
>
> I've looked this up to no avail, not a mention anywhere.
>
> Here are the facts--maybe someone out there has had this problem
> before or can help us solve this mystery?
> ================================
>
> He's just about 6 months old, getting fixed next week.
>
> He shares our house with a female kitten about this age. They get
> along very well, neither of them is a bully, and though they play a
> lot, they've never been in a fight.
>
> We are absolutely religious about cleaning the litter box. We do it
> every morning and every night, so it's not an issue of litter box
> neglect.
>
> When we realized he had some litter box issues, we changed our litter
> from a wheatgrass-based litter to World's Best Cat Litter. This had no
> effect on his behavior.
>
> We're using the biggest littler box we could find. Not hooded, not
> automatic, just a plain old litter box. We tried two other types of
> boxes as well, no effect on his behavior.
>
> We would never scold him for this behavior, the last thing we want to
> do is have him develop a negative association with his litter box.
>
> We got them both from a rescue group.
>
> It doesn't seem as though he's playing in the litter box. He's
> absolutely serious as he goes at the task of out burrowing into the
> litter with his whole face until he finds just the right spot.
>
> He displays some other odd behaviors: He scrapes at his food bowl and
> place mat incessantly, more "cleaning up" behavior. He also made
> constant attempts to nurse off our female kitten, but has recently
> outgrown that behavior. Poor guy must have had a rough start.
>
> Our other kitten is just fine.
>
>
> Please--if you've got any ideas for us, it would be much appreciated!
> We love him to death but are tired of wiping him up after every trip
> to the bathroom!
>
> THANKS.

ISTM some cats have odd but harmless litter box behavior. This is one of
them. I don't see that burrowing his face in clean litter should be a
cause for alarm. It's eccentric, but certainly not dangerous. As far as
his clean-up in the box, again it appears odd but harmless. My own cat
Leo takes a few minutes burying his leavings, even scraping outside the
box. It's just what he does. If it makes him feel more secure, let him.

Regarding scraping at his food bowl and place mat, lots of cats do that.
It's instinctual; they're "covering" their food with "dirt," just like
they'd do in the wild, so they can come back to it later and no other
animals will eat it in the meantime. It's a (more or less) common cat
behavior--nothing to worry about.

Rogue
November 30th 07, 04:46 AM
Aww, sounds like he has some issues, bless his heart. But at least
he's using the box.

One of my shelter kitties did that for months after I brought him
home. He'd come out of the litter box with granules stuck to his
little nose. I just wiped his nose with tissue. Eventually he stopped
putting his face in it, though he does to this day spend an inordinate
amount of time scratching around in there.

On Nov 29, 10:44 pm, wrote:
> Here's a strange one for you, internet:
>
> One of our cats has some very strange bathroom habits.
>
> He executes #1 like a normal cat, but when it comes to #2, he'll spend
> 2-3 minutes digging in thelitterboxand scootinglitteraround with
> his paws and also WITH HIS FACE. He's done this since we got him as a
> 9-week old kitten. He'll then take care of his business and make a
> show out of burying his poop, spending another minute or two "cleaning
> up," which usually amounts to shuffling morelitteraround and
> scraping the sides of thelitterboxtill the liner is in tatters.
> He's emerges from thelitterboxwith his cute black face covered in
> white dust. Aggh!
>
> I've looked this up to no avail, not a mention anywhere.
>
> Here are the facts--maybe someone out there has had this problem
> before or can help us solve this mystery?
> ================================
>
> He's just about 6 months old, getting fixed next week.
>
> He shares our house with a female kitten about this age. They get
> along very well, neither of them is a bully, and though they play a
> lot, they've never been in a fight.
>
> We are absolutely religious about cleaning thelitterbox. We do it
> every morning and every night, so it's not an issue oflitterbox
> neglect.
>
> When we realized he had somelitterboxissues, we changed ourlitter
> from a wheatgrass-basedlitterto World's Best CatLitter. This had no
> effect on his behavior.
>
> We're using the biggest littlerboxwe could find. Not hooded, not
> automatic, just a plain oldlitterbox. We tried two other types of
> boxes as well, no effect on his behavior.
>
> We would never scold him for this behavior, the last thing we want to
> do is have him develop a negative association with hislitterbox.
>
> We got them both from a rescue group.
>
> It doesn't seem as though he's playing in thelitterbox. He's
> absolutely serious as he goes at the task of out burrowing into thelitterwith his whole face until he finds just the right spot.
>
> He displays some other odd behaviors: He scrapes at his food bowl and
> place mat incessantly, more "cleaning up" behavior. He also made
> constant attempts to nurse off our female kitten, but has recently
> outgrown that behavior. Poor guy must have had a rough start.
>
> Our other kitten is just fine.
>
> Please--if you've got any ideas for us, it would be much appreciated!
> We love him to death but are tired of wiping him up after every trip
> to the bathroom!
>
> THANKS.

mariib via CatKB.com
November 30th 07, 06:31 PM
wrote:
>Here's a strange one for you, internet:
>
>One of our cats has some very strange bathroom habits.
>
>He executes #1 like a normal cat, but when it comes to #2, he'll spend
>2-3 minutes digging in the litter box and scooting litter around with
>his paws and also WITH HIS FACE. He's done this since we got him as a
>9-week old kitten. He'll then take care of his business and make a
>show out of burying his poop, spending another minute or two "cleaning
>up," which usually amounts to shuffling more litter around and
>scraping the sides of the litter box till the liner is in tatters.
>He's emerges from the litter box with his cute black face covered in
>white dust. Aggh!
>
>I've looked this up to no avail, not a mention anywhere.
>
>Here are the facts--maybe someone out there has had this problem
>before or can help us solve this mystery?
>
>Please--if you've got any ideas for us, it would be much appreciated!
>We love him to death but are tired of wiping him up after every trip
>to the bathroom!
>
>THANKS.

No mystery, just a cat's idiosyncracy & nothing to worry about. My black &
white tuxedo boy Little Devil is a neat-freak in the litter box & has always
done exactly the same thing as your kitten - it looks like he's rooting
around in the box searching for treasure. He's now 3 years old & has done
this since he first arrived. I've never wiped his face & he always looks
shiny & glossy with his black & white face & long white whiskers. So don't
worry & leave him alone. M.
here's a link to some of Little Devil's pictures on webshots:
http://pets.webshots.com/photo/2044460350050028271xvPWlR

--
Message posted via CatKB.com
http://www.catkb.com/Uwe/Forums.aspx/cat-health/200711/1

-Lost
November 30th 07, 08:07 PM
Response to :

> It doesn't seem as though he's playing in the litter box. He's
> absolutely serious as he goes at the task of out burrowing into the
> litter with his whole face until he finds just the right spot.

I agree with what everyone else said for the most part. It is simply
a personality issue.

Gabby (our male kitty) for example does the same thing, he hops into
the litter box, hunkers down REALLY low and peers frantically back
and forth over everything he can see as if to say, "OK soldiers,
looks like we're clear for #2. Go, go, go!"

And he also does the same thing with the constant digging. He
literally "digs a hole to China." And then when he cannot dig any
further down into the litter, he starts on the hills he's made and
digs another "hole." Finally after at least a minute of digging
holes, making hills, and tossing litter out of the box for a radius
of two to three feet on all sides he stops to do his thing...

....all the while, serious as a heart attack.

What do we do about it? We vacuum it and thank God there is no poo
on the floor. HAHAHA!

--
-Lost
Remove the extra words to reply by e-mail. Don't e-mail me. I am
kidding. No I am not.

Michael Broad
December 1st 07, 06:50 AM
He'll then take care of his business and make a
show out of burying his poop, spending another minute or two "cleaning
up," which usually amounts to shuffling more litter around and
scraping the sides of the litter box till the liner is in tatters.


Hi, As you might know cats bury their feces to hide their scent trail. They instinctively do this if they are subordinate and fearful of his social standing. In other words if the cat wants to be less visible in terms of scent. Cats have a great noses and scent plays a much greater role in their lives than for humans.

Some cats will instinctively leave their feces uncovered as a way of sending out a signal to other cats that they are top cat. Cats see humans as giant cats by the way.

So, I think he is overly careful with checking and burying because of a fearful start to his life and he feels vulnerable. I would hope that with time and reassurance that he might get out of this habit.

Michael
I run www.pictures-of-cats.org
and
http://pictures-of-catsorgblog.blogspot.com

December 2nd 07, 12:59 AM
Thanks for your suggestions everyone! It helps to know other people
have seen this too and that there's a logical explanation. We'll keep
all of this in mind and hope that with a little reassurance he'll kick
the habit.