A dear friend recently asked,
Dear Reluctant Cat Owner,
My cat refuses to cover her shit. What do I do? Is he trying to murder me with the smell of his deuces?
I hope you can take solace in the fact that you are not alone, so much so that I believe there are support groups for victims of this issue. Uncovered cat poop is as common in our home as my use of profanity. It’s disheartening to come home from work on a fresh, spring evening only to wonder if your toilet backed up while you were away. And you can’t trust your friends because even though they say, “No. It smell’s fine in here,” when you ask them upon entrance, you know they’re talking about it behind your back. At least, that’s what I do.
This mainly occurs with our skittish cat, Reese. I have witnessed her bolting from the litter box like a race horse the moment her last brownie drops. I assume the plopping turd slapping the back of her leg like a riding crop startles her. For this, I can’t blame her because if I felt something tickling my cheeks while sitting on the toilet, I would bolt from the bathroom, too, hands flailing in the air, pants around my ankles, and butt unwiped.
Unfortunately, I have had no luck with deterring her unhygienic behavior. Wait. Let me rephrase that. Unfortunately, I have not attempted to deter her unhygienic behavior because I am too busy wiping cat vomit off the floors, vacuuming hairballs, and breaking up ultra-violent cat fights, but I have read that there may be many reasons why this occurs. And while I would not doubt that your cat is feeding off of your misery, there’s a chance this is something that may be alleviated with a little work.
Dr. Houpt is an animal behaviorist of over 30 years and indicates in an article published on vetstreet.com why this may be happening. Since none of us have time to read dry material, I have broken it down for you in a language of my people: profanity.
- Your Cat’s Fucking Claws May Hurt: This may be the result of being recently declawed (boo!) or general discomfort in their cover-the-shit paw. Take a moment to examine your cat’s paws for any tender spots. I recommend having treats readily available to help distract them as these bastards will squirm like a drunk toddler on a stripper pole if your touch their tootsies. If they give an indication of pain in their feet, take them to a trusted vet.
- Some Cats are Just Stupid: According to catbehaviorassociates.com, if your precious heathen is disrespecting the sanctity of your nose, “use your finger and dig a little in the litter as the sight and sound may entice her to do the same.” Additionally, “If she eliminates but doesn’t cover it, take your finger and cover it a bit so she can see what the sequence is supposed to be.” To which I say, “That’s fucking disgusting! Please wear rubber gloves before you do this, and for the love of public health, wash your hands when you’re done.”
- Get a Bigger Box, Dipshit: If you can’t understand why a cat’s litter box may be too small, try recalling that time you had to pop a squat in an airplane bathroom. It’s not pleasant. Especially if you are 6’4″ like me. And for a cat, covering their Satan Hershey requires a little maneuvering. They have to see it, and sometimes they want to smell it (nasty pigs). Petfinder.com suggest, “As a general rule of thumb, the litter box should be at least one and half times the length of the cat. If you’re unsure, you should pick the bigger size.” Also, when selecting a litter box, keep in mind that cats typically don’t prefer the covered boxes. I say it’s because they like making you uncomfortable with eye contact while they take a dump, but catbehaviorassociates.com says different.
- They’re Just Assholes and Hate Their Litter: As much as you probably wouldn’t enjoy dragging construction paper along your ass crack, a cat may not like how it feels to dig into its rough, heavy litter. Vetstreet.com provides a thorough list of the types of litters on the market (as a matter of fact, I discovered a “grass” litter that I may try), but be sure to read suggestions at the end on how to transition your cat to a new litter.
I hope this helps. And feel free to drop me a line if you have any other questions. I may not know everything, but I believe I give the best answers.