May 2008 Issue

Strange Litter Box Behavior

Keep this in mind: Most of these puzzling habits are preferable to a cat that stops using the box.

You walk into the bathroom and find your cat sleeping contentedly in her litter box. (Luckily, you had just cleaned it.) Is this normal behavior? Should you get her out or let her stay? Your catís litter box can sometimes trigger unexpected behaviors from her. Some of these habits might seem weird or annoying to us, but they are, actually, perfectly normal to your cat. But there are other behaviors that are more dangerous and require your intervention. Here are the most "common" strange litter habits and what to do about them. It may not seem like the best place to play to you, but cats will often convert their litter box into a sandbox. Often this starts in kittenhood and continues into adulthood with an occasional playtime in the box. "Some cats like to sleep in their litter, even hide in it," says Stefanie Schwartz, DVM, a veterinary behaviorist with Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston who is board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. "This is normal if the litter is clean ó or even a bit soiled, but dry."

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