Cat enjoys rolling in litter boxes - have tried everything - long post

fionasmom

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Your little girl has a big personality! Maybe the side entry will help. I have a friend who uses a clear plastic storage box with the lid on as a litter box.
 
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crouton

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Sigh. Another night another rolling in boxes session. Yesterday she followed me around all day rolling on the floor in front of me so I could pet her. Overnight she was rolling in dirty boxes.
 

susanm9006

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I would see if she will accept larger pellet litter, like the crystal pellet type. It is less likely to stick to her fur or be flung out. If it isn’t cleaned it still will be an issue so scooping several times a day is needed.
 
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crouton

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I would see if she will accept larger pellet litter, like the crystal pellet type. It is less likely to stick to her fur or be flung out. If it isn’t cleaned it still will be an issue so scooping several times a day is needed.
Hi Ive already tried every kind of pellet litter available, she does not use them for litter and will not roll in them. As an aside the larger crystal and wood pellet litters did indeed stick to her fur via static cling. The paper did not. We scoop 3-4 times a day on average but cannot scoop while we sleep.
 
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crouton

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Another update. Yesterday morning she rolled in the litter boxes so intensely that the litter was tangled in her back fur hair and stuck to her skin. So gross. Took awhile to comb it all out while she purred away not concerned that she smells of dirty litter.

I got some storage boxes that are exactly the same sizes as the boxes she likes to roll in, and some sisal and jute rough mats. Unfortunately none of the mat sizes match the low sided box sizes exactly sigh. So I did my best. I have previously tried giving her larger and higher sided boxes then the boxes she prefers to roll in and those didn’t work. So I thought maybe she wants a lower side and entrance.

Well she was very pleased to have the box to...sleep in. She laid rightdown and purred and went to sleep. Woke up a bit later and did some scratching in the box then climbed out of the box to roll all over the floor instead. She didn’t roll in the litter box but I think I interrupted her on the way to her scandalous behavior. I’m fairly sure she slept in the new box all night but it’s stressing her out that her kittens also like to sit in the sisal boxes. It’s tough in a multicat household I can’t always police who is using what. She did not roll in the litter box overnight but I’m thinking that’s because of there being a poop near every box (sometimes she doesn’t do it if she smells poop nearby in another box, sometimes she does) and could be a fluke

its Very stressful living like this and on top of that her habit of leaving pee to drip from her lady bits is killing me with stress. Wherever she sits ifind little droplets of pee aftrerwards. Every day I have to do so much cleaning and laundry. I just don’t know what to do about all these problems.
 

Catmom1234567890

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I’ve heard rolling in litter is natural feline behavior. Some cats do it some don’t. I don’t think you can teach your cat to stop. I’ve heard large crystal litter deters this behavior.
 
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crouton

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I’ve heard rolling in litter is natural feline behavior. Some cats do it some don’t. I don’t think you can teach your cat to stop. I’ve heard large crystal litter deters this behavior.
I’m aware that it’s feline behavior but my cat does it obsessively in dirty litter, not soil or grass or sand. As I’ve said elsewhere in this thread large crystal (or small) doesn’t work in my home as litter and I don’t feel good about them breathing in the dust from such dusty crystal litter. My cats refused to use it anyway, we’ve tried all litter types.
 

Moonlight Skywriter

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This is going to be long so thanks for reading. She’s going to be estimated 3 this year. Has had one litter before I adopted her. We also have two other cats in the home that are her kittens and are now going to be 2 next month.

After we took in the kittens they had stomach issues with the food we were feeding so we installed motion sensitive cameras near the litter boxes to see who was having diarrhea and to make sure they weren’t all sick. The camera unknowingly showed us the momma cat repeatedly rolling in both clean (scooped boxes not necessarily just changed and washed boxes) and dirty litter.

That was late summer in 2019. We have yet to curb this behavior or understand it. We had to change all of their food after having them tested for sensitivities and allergies when we couldn’t find any other medical reason for the stomach issues. Spent much money on many poop tests both cheap and expensive. Never found any parasites or problems.

No one has urinary problems except for the box rolling cat who when we took her in was underweight due to feeding her litter. She’s not overweight now but she’s on the larger end of the scale and has a short torso. She can reach to clean herself...she just doesn’t. And due to the way she squats in the box she constantly smells like urine even if I give her the sanitary trims and lately she gets a full on brazillian (yes picture it ) but still the urine smell persists so I have to wipe her off often for that or the urine dries on her skin or fur creating crunchy fur or hard balls of dried urine. I’ve tried washing her off with soap (gentile Castile watered down), giving her a full bath which she doesn’t mind, or just using various wipes like unscented water wipes, wet towels or recently glandex or furbliss wipes designed for the private area. It only helps until she goes to the box again. I’ll probably create another thread for this but I wanted to share it here as not sure it’s relevant to her. She comes to me every night before bed when Im doing my own before bed washing up and demands I brush her and wash her off or just wipe her with a hot rag. It’s our ritual and sometimes it works to keep her from rolling in the box, but not always.

I keep track of what she eats (they use microchipped feeders), what she does all day like play time or upset time (tantrums), toilet habits, if I wash her off or not that day etc. there is no plotted data point that tells me what makes her do this. I’ve also plotted everything we do at home in the houses of finding some kind of pattern. There is none.

Different vets all say there is nothing physically wrong with her. We don’t have her history so don’t know if she was born on the streets or what before she came to the humane society already pregnant. Outside of this she’s a very happy and loving cat. That’s what makes it worse.

The problem is she does this in both dirty and scooped litter. She rolls around so much that she coats herself in litter like sprinkles on a cookie or cake. Then she wants to be pet, and gets dirty litter and dust all over my floors, furniture, me, my bed. I’m a germophobe and this is my nightmare.

What we’ve tried:
  • Many tests and doctors - no problems found physically no other ailments except some food sensitivities
  • Many different foods (slowly) before we settle on what she eats now as she has problems with certain proteins and cannot eat many ingredients in food. Her food doesn’t seem to be the problem because throughout all this she’s still done it
  • Behaviorists recommendations nothing works
  • Building her a box to only roll in including some kind of filler that’s not litter, if it’s litter she or the other cat will use it. Didn’t work. Tried many sizes of boxes
  • Building her a box with rugs or Astroturf or a nubby pressure point and bath mat in it, didn’t work.
  • Those cardboard scratchers that are shaped like a box to lie in, she lays in it but doesn’t roll in it
  • Many different litters and box styles and sizes. If the box is too small she still does it, she just hangs her feet out the side to fit. Also if the box is too small the kittens step in poo, no win situation.
  • Many different litters. She prefers clay litter to do this in but the other cats will only use clay litter. They reject any natural litter or pellet shaped litter in the long run. We have tried every kind of litter except breeze pellets because they hate all other pellets so I just haven’t tried it yet. The kittens and the rolling cat have scent allergies so we can’t use anything scented
  • She doesn’t just roll in the boxes but will roll on the floor or carpet or bath rugs when happy. I give her her own bath rugs to play with. She loves them but still flies to the litter box to roll.
  • Picking her up and removing her when she does this. She just gets upset and sometimes goes back and lays in the litter
  • Calming aids. All of them, really. Including a thundershirt
  • Clothes, thought maybe that would deter her. She loves clothes! But didn’t deter her. 😔
  • Baths. She likes being in the sink with a slow trickle of water. Doesn’t mind a bath. Didn’t deter her she rolled in the box about an hour later last time I bathed her
  • Trimming her back end in case she was rolling in it to get off smells, doesn’t work
  • Brushing her more and brushing her less
  • Combing her more and combing her less
  • Not wiping her off (I died then but stuck it out for ages I still am grossed out) didn’t work she still did it
  • Wiping her off more, like once a day, twice a day, thrice a day up to 8 times in one day whenever she asked for it by following someone to the bathroom where her rags are
  • Leaving pee clumps or poo in the middle of the boxes, this worked for like a day. She would go in and get mad there is pee in all boxes (hers or not didn’t matter, they all get along great) eventually the kittens caught on and now when I do this they run in to cover it up (thanks guys) and then she’s happy and...rolls in it.
  • Cleaning the boxes less: despite a large number of boxes this creates disaster as the kittens always want to use the last used box and they were stepping on each other’s poo and pee. Not fun
  • Can’t clean the boxes more i already clean a lot, tried cutting back and it doesn’t matter to her. She just waits until she wants to do it
  • Taking her outside on a harness/leash so she can roll in leaves, dirt, sand or on the driveway. She will not roll outside.
  • Shampoos and conditioners and skin treatments, dr says it’s not a skin issue
Some things to note:
  • She always looks around before she does this because I think she knows it’s naughty or at least that we don’t like it
  • Because of this she mostly does it if we aren’t around (in the other room) or are asleep
  • Yesterday she did it at 6 am and again at 8am sometimes she will do it 3-4 times before we realize it’s been done
  • Between 12/30-1/28 of this year she didn’t do it at all. Nothing changed in her routine, food, litter or schedule. Nothing. Then one day she did it again and hadn’t stopped since.
  • She always does this before she uses the box but she doesn’t always use the same box she rolls in. She may roll in box A and walk somewhere else to use box B. Doesn’t matter if either box is used
  • She makes a very happy trilling noise when she does this, she looks in bliss. You have never seen a happier cat
  • I have to wipe her off regularly as she’s one of those cats that leaks anal gland fluid when happy or overstimulated. You can smell it a mile off. Her glands are fine and have never needed to be unblocked or expressed.
  • I’ve been working from home since feb 20 but she did this even before then. My partner has always worked from home since we got her.
  • Sometimes she does it in the middle of the day or evening it doesn’t matter
  • She does it year round so it’s not dry skin from winter
  • She does not do this for attention it seems as she looks very sad when we catch her
  • She has many cat trees and high spots, beds, blankets, toys, outfits. It’s not a case of no safe space. They frequently pile in together for a snooze.
  • None of the cats go outside of the box
  • She always starts the roll by putting her chin down in the box and then slowly rolling over in a somersault style and then rolls back and forth until she’s caught or done
  • Lately she also goes into the box and does a really deep downward dog stretch before starting the roll but sometimes she does the stretch but not the dirty roll
I feel like we’ve honestly tried everything here. Thankfully the kittens have not done this but they walk-in on her doing it and she runs out of the box sometimes when they walk in on her she hits them and runs away. I feel at my wits end and I can’t deal with cleaning her off so many times a day every day or every morning before I can get to work. I’ve recently gotten in trouble at work for needing to take breaks so often to take care of the mess or from having to clean her off in the morning before I can get online.

Getting rid of her is not an option please don’t suggest this. She’s a family member. But I am on a ledge here and feeling hopeless. I can’t live with all of the cleaning of her. I don’t know why she won’t clean her private area off either. She leaves pee smell all over when she sits on things. Thankfully it’s mostly on blankets or stuff that can be washed. Per doctors there is nothing wrong with her lady bits.

Has anyone successfully combatted this? I only find online others that have the same problem. No one has found out why or fixed it.

Because of this Im honestly considering paying an animal communicator to see *** she is thinking or what makes her do this. Yes I know how crazy this is. I have a separate thread on that. What is the urge? I understand dust baths but she won’t do this is dirt or anything and she wants to be cleaned off after.


I have to vacuum my house 2-3 times a day because of this. She tracks so much litter around by covering herself in it. I’m worn out.


Have you ever tried to use non litter like dried up newspaper there is a kind of litter that my vet tells me to get but these spoiled cats will not use it.. its not litter its more like dried up pine straw.. they are pellots and when they urinate they can not take it with them.. and the smell is fresh and clean.. no pine smell... I do use some baking soda.
 

Catmom1234567890

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My cat rolls around the litter and i have to wipe her down with baby wet tissue. She seems to roll when she's happy and excited. It doesn't matter if her box is clean or dirty. I don't know how to stop this behavior.
 
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crouton

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Have you ever tried to use non litter like dried up newspaper there is a kind of litter that my vet tells me to get but these spoiled cats will not use it.. its not litter its more like dried up pine straw.. they are pellots and when they urinate they can not take it with them.. and the smell is fresh and clean.. no pine smell... I do use some baking soda.
I’m not sure what kind of litter you are referring too. All of the pine litter I have tried has smelled like the inside of an ikea warehouse
 
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crouton

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My cat rolls around the litter and i have to wipe her down with baby wet tissue. She seems to roll when she's happy and excited. It doesn't matter if her box is clean or dirty. I don't know how to stop this behavior.
Is she an only cat? I’m thinking of collecting more data from owners like us that have happy box rollers. I’m still doing research on mine, have not met anyone who’s been able to curb it but I am still hopeful.

I recently got her new sisal mats that are the roughest I could find. I put one in a box and onedirectly on the floor. She’s been sleeping on and scratching the mat in the box but not rolling. We think she’s possibly using the floor mat for rolling when we aren’t around. I may need to put it near a security camera to confirm.
 

Catmom1234567890

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Is she an only cat? I’m thinking of collecting more data from owners like us that have happy box rollers. I’m still doing research on mine, have not met anyone who’s been able to curb it but I am still hopeful.

I recently got her new sisal mats that are the roughest I could find. I put one in a box and onedirectly on the floor. She’s been sleeping on and scratching the mat in the box but not rolling. We think she’s possibly using the floor mat for rolling when we aren’t around. I may need to put it near a security camera to confirm.
she's an only cat so I doubt she rolls to mark her territory.
 
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crouton

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she's an only cat so I doubt she rolls to mark her territory.
Yeah I don’t think mine is marking her territory because of how I’ve observed her doing it. I just hear this box rolling complaint from mostly single cat owners and I have three cats.
 
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crouton

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Update again: she hasn't rolled in any box since the morning of 2/26

The only thing that has changed is she now has these very coarse and smallish sisal pads in a box and on the floor in various parts of the house. She's been rolling on the floor and on the bathroom rugs but we haven't yet observed her rolling on the pads. In the past she has gone over a month without doing it but then does it again randomly so I will just regularly update this thread if anyone cares to read on.
 
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crouton

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Here she is on the new mat, unsure yet whether it’s good enough to replace her beloved litter but hey she seems happy no? Ps she’s very floofy on her belly and loves to be combed
3001DD75-08A3-4CEE-B9E8-7BCB109245F8.jpeg
 
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crouton

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Well she got combed and pet this evening and was acting aloof so I knew she would do the rolling. Soon after I gave her attention she went and broke her record. She rolled enthusiastically in three different boxes in a row. It’s very gross. All the litter is stuck under her fur. The video playback shows her blissfully enjoying herself.

As I said before we can’t safely change all the boxes to pellets, crystal, or natural litters as the cats all hate them and cleaning up more accidents will break me. Nothing changed in her routine, she was roll free for two days so I guess she had to make up for it.
 

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I so wish I could help you but I see you've tried so much already!

Just a couple thoughts here, apologies if they've already been suggested

-Would a plastic liner in the box deter her? Maybe the plasticy texture will throw her off?

-Maybe a treat every time she goes to the box, does her business, and hops right out. It might create a more positive association with not rolling?

- I know you've tried brushing her less, but i suspect that her enjoying the brushing post-rolling is what's making the rolling more enjoyable. maybe theres a way to clean her without giving her the exact brushing she wants. a lint roller? wet rag? etc? Just so she gets clean but isn't getting the same brushing she's expecting. Disrupting the pattern might help?
 
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crouton

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I so wish I could help you but I see you've tried so much already!

Just a couple thoughts here, apologies if they've already been suggested

-Would a plastic liner in the box deter her? Maybe the plasticy texture will throw her off?

-Maybe a treat every time she goes to the box, does her business, and hops right out. It might create a more positive association with not rolling?

- I know you've tried brushing her less, but i suspect that her enjoying the brushing post-rolling is what's making the rolling more enjoyable. maybe theres a way to clean her without giving her the exact brushing she wants. a lint roller? wet rag? etc? Just so she gets clean but isn't getting the same brushing she's expecting. Disrupting the pattern might help?
thanks, liners do not deter her. We don’t use them regularly but she doesn’t care either way.

I can’t give her treats everytime because she likes to use the box around 1-5am when I am sleeping 😴 but we’ve tried this when she does her evening or afternoon box business. She doesn’t seem to care.

she is afraid of the lint rollers and runs off if she sees one, I don’t know why. I generally started with the wet paper towel then rag. All that led to is her begging to be wiped off any time someone has a paper towel or is washing their hands. It’s really infuriating because I feel like I’ve tried so much.
 
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