How can I change my cat’s litter box habits?

ninilovescats

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Hello everyone,
I am a new member and kinda need some help. Also, English is not my first language so I might make some mistakes. I’m sorry in advance.
Some background information: I have two cats: Molly (female, 16 months old, neutered, I have adopted her in October of 2021) and Sun (female, 6 months old, neutered, I have adopted her 2 weeks ago). As far as the socializing of the two cats go - I guess it’s going good. They play and sleep together now. Sometimes Sun attacks Molly, but it’s probably in a playful way.

Now, I have three litter boxes: two huge ones, that have a lid and a smaller one without a lid.
I am a bit concerned about Sun’s litter box habits. When I got her from the shelter, she was already litter box trained, but she uses it differently than Molly or any cat that I have ever known. Molly (and other cats from what I have observed), adjusts the litter to herself, pees, and then “buries” it. When Sun pees, she rummages in the litter, most of it lands outside of the litter box and she proceeds to pee on the plastic bottom/sides of the litter box. Then she sometimes (!) buries it. She makes a lot of mess inside and outside the box, it is also really hard to clean as it sticks to the bottom (I usually use clumping litter) and I have to deep clean the litter boxes every day. But, what makes me more concerned, the pee splashes on her and she often smells like urine. I know that cats clean themselves, but is it really healthy for her to lick her own urine a few times a day? I tried to help her clean herself with a damp cloth, but she won’t always let me.
I have tried various types of litter, even put those training pads under the litter, but nothing helped (she moved the pads so that the plastic part would be revealed and changing the type of litter did not change anything).
Again - this only happens when she pees, when she poops, she goes in, she does not dig in the litter, she poops and buries it.

I have no idea what to do. I can’t find any help online, as I only find articles about how to litter box train a cat, but she never pees/poops outside the litter box.

I can’t afford a behaviorist right now, as getting a second cat and experimenting with litter was pretty pricey.

Does anyone have any idea why does she do it like that? Or what could I do to help her change this habit?

Thanks in advance.
 
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ninilovescats

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Hi! Your command of the language is terrific.

Can you find a litterbox that is made of a different material, something similar to this so her urine wouldn't splash so much?

https://www.petco.com/shop/en/petcostore/product/so-phresh-disposable-cat-litter-box-set
Hi! Thank you for answering and the compliment, I’m still working on my English skills, but that is so nice to hear!
We don’t have Petco in Poland but thank you for the link - I will look for those in our local shops and online. I had no idea these existed!
Have a nice week :)
 

FeebysOwner

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Hi. In addition to the litter box suggested above, you might also consider buying some washable mats that you can place underneath the litter box to help collect the litter that your cat manages to scratch outside of the box. The mats can be vacuumed or picked up and shaken to get rid of the litter.

For your existing litter boxes, the litter depth should be at least 3 inches deep, but 5 inches is probably better for her because maybe then she won't dig clear to the bottom of the box.

I don't think you will be able to change her habit of peeing on the sides of the litter box, especially since you say you have huge boxes already. Feeby has peed on the sides/corners of the box all her life, even after I bought her a bigger box thinking that might be the problem. So, yes, cleanup is a chore!!! I tilt the box so that all the litter is away from the pee clump, scrape out the clump and use a spray cleaner and paper towels to cleanse that area without having to dump the litter every time. I also have a plastic spoon that I use to take out little pieces of debris that fall through the scooper holes, which also helps preserve the litter for longer.
 
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ninilovescats

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Hi. In addition to the litter box suggested above, you might also consider buying some washable mats that you can place underneath the litter box to help collect the litter that your cat manages to scratch outside of the box. The mats can be vacuumed or picked up and shaken to get rid of the litter.

For your existing litter boxes, the litter depth should be at least 3 inches deep, but 5 inches is probably better for her because maybe then she won't dig clear to the bottom of the box.

I don't think you will be able to change her habit of peeing on the sides of the litter box, especially since you say you have huge boxes already. Feeby has peed on the sides/corners of the box all her life, even after I bought her a bigger box thinking that might be the problem. So, yes, cleanup is a chore!!! I tilt the box so that all the litter is away from the pee clump, scrape out the clump and use a spray cleaner and paper towels to cleanse that area without having to dump the litter every time. I also have a plastic spoon that I use to take out little pieces of debris that fall through the scooper holes, which also helps preserve the litter for longer.
Hi, thank you for your answer! I actually do have these mats, but because she spills so much out, there is litter everywhere anyway. I also tried more litter, but she consequently dug everything out and there was even more mess and litter stuck in her fur.
Thank you for the tip!! Those little pieces were my nightmare… Let’s hope the spot cleaning you suggested will work out and I will be able to save some litter (and, well, time)!
 
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ninilovescats

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Have you looked into the tidy cat litter breeze system? The pee filters down into a drawer that has a pee pad in it.
Hi, thanks for your reply:)
This sounds awesome, I will look into that, thank you!
 

louisstools

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Hi, thanks for your reply:)
This sounds awesome, I will look into that, thank you!
I had good luck with the breeze system for years. Eventually I did a bit of DIY to reduce my costs as those pads were a bit pricey. I basically replaced the bottom part of the system with this and used standard puppy pads like this. The top part of the breeze system just sat on top of that litter box perfectly. My cat that used it was 13lbs and it held up ok on him. (I linked the actual things I bought, they may or may not be available due to current supply chain issues)
 

arr

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One of my cats has a similar problem. Not so much with the digging, but she sometimes has “elevator butt”, so when she pees, her butt slowly rises up and she is peeing over the side of the litter box. I got tired of cleaning it up so I taped puppy pee pads all along the walls near the box and on the floor under and around the box. Now when she has an accident, I just remove the pads and replace them with fresh ones. If necessary, I also wipe the litter box sides to freshen it up. I only have to fully wash a litter box once a week.
 
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