6-4-21 Friday

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So my boy Toby is 11 years old, very overweight because my father won’t stop giving him treats. He’s otherwise a very good boy, we play with him regularly with the teaser. He seems pretty happy. I use Feline Pine litter and have ALWAYS used it.
He originally had a covered box with a flap door, but I noticed that sometimes he wasn’t going all the way in and so poop, and one time, pee, came out the front because he didn’t realize that he wasn’t all the way in.

I then purchased an enclosure that looks kind of like a side table, with an open door and vents on the side and room inside for a litter pan. He actually got WORSE with this one. He still wouldn’t go all the way into the box, and I have had to put puppy pee pads down under the tray as well as the enclosure because he was routinely, and I mean immediately after me cleaning the box, peeing just outside it.

I changed his litter yesterday and it was just beyond and I was pissed off, so I had found a very large, plain old litter pan that I put down, on pee pads. He peed a couple of times just fine in it, but then last night, once again, poop outside the box because his butt was right at the edge.

I don’t know why he’s doing this. This has never been a problem. Does he suddenly not like the litter? I wonder what happens if I filled a kiddie pool with litter…would he still go on the edge? I don’t know if he’s just so fat he’s not comfortable in an enclosed box anymore? Both were plenty big enough for him. Is this some kind of old age thing? I am really losing my mind because the only place that there’s room for his box is my bedroom, and let me tell you, it is a nightmare to have to live with. Do you have ANY suggestions for what could be causing this, or what I can do to make him stop being such a jerk?

Thanks for listening. He is only my second cat, and the first one died at only 2 years old so basically he’s my only experience.

Sarah, I know you and I discussed a few things, but upon re-reading this through again – is the litter box still in the enclosure? Because I think that might be the issue. I know the box you’re using now has pretty low sides, I’d recommend trying it outside the enclosure and see if that’s the issue. Another thing worth trying: a wider litter box.

If you guys have any suggestions, please chime in – I’m sure there’s something (maybe several somethings) I’m just not thinking of at the moment. Help?


How big is Charlie these days? He looks pretty long and tall compared to the other permanent residents.

He weighed 12 pounds, 4 ounces at the end of April. I think he’s going to be a biiiig boy when he’s done growing!


Tell us, please, about the wall-mounted tubes holding the feather teasers?

I actually wrote about them in March of 2020, in this post. Basically: shipping tubes cut in half and affixed to the wall with Command strips. They work AMAZINGLY well!


(Fun Fact! I have a new bed frame, and it’s a few inches higher than His Highness is willing to jump, so at bedtime, he’ll sit by my bed as I’m reading and passive-aggressively knock over books I have stacked next to my bed and stare up at me, and wait until I PICK HIS ASS UP AND PLACE HIM ON THE BED. I ask you – who is the bigger fool here – Malcolm for succumbing to laziness, or me, for being manipulated!?!)

Oh, I think we ALL know that Malcolm is no fool!


Pinochle’s “smile” cracks me UP.

Whist from above. Such a pretty girl.

Rummy, also from above. Also such a pretty girl.

Rummy and Slapjack keep an eye on me – and I’m not sure they approve.

Rummy the talker.

Slapjack’s always got something to say too.

Rummy’s making sure Uno is all cleaned up and ready to go.

Pinochle (left) and Whist give me the judgy faces. (I know it looks like Whist is bigger than Pinochle in this picture, but he actually outweighs her by about half a pound.)

Sweet miss Uno needs a kiss (and she got one or a million.)

Charlie wonders if there’s a place at the breakfast plate for him.


The Magnificent Khal continues to be magnificent, as expected.


2020: Bugs is all “How YOU doin’?”
2019: Say hello to Margeaux, Jacques, Esmee and Amelie.
2018: “Come on, Mister Mousie, let’s play!”
2017: Scheming.
2016: No entry.
2015: She just loves loves LOVES her Mama.
2014: Gilbert gets bitey with Marshall, who is MINDING his OWN BUSINESS, climbing the cat tree.
2013: Norbert, International Man of Mystery.
2012: The Noms have learned that Jake is a good friend to have.
2011: No entry.
2010: The cheek!
2009: “Pipe down, Phyllis, this one is mine!”
2008: Kaylee wubs Tigger.
2007: Good thing we put SoftPaws on his claws, right? So he can’t go climbing trees or anything. Right?
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.



6-4-21 Friday — 10 Comments

  1. I have an older, overweight cat who was doing the same thing. Pooping just outside the box. Tried all the same things you all did to no avail. Then I pulled the box about 3 inches from wall and made sure nothing close to box on all sides. Fine ever since. I think she felt she did not have enough room to scratch around and turn around.

    • I agree with this. Drop the enclosure, use a wider litter box, and give the cat some more space.

  2. Regarding older cat with litter box problems: I have been there! One of mine did the same thing. Fortunately the box was in a bathroom, so it wasn’t as bad as having this happen in your bedroom 🙁
    Things to try:
    Make sure the litter doesn’t hurt his pads, if he is older and they are more sensitive he might be uncomfortable walking on it.
    Bigger pan, I use big, deep storage containers with an opening cut in one end. My biggest one is 34″x18″ and 12″ tall.
    Add a ramp in the pan at the “doorway” so he is well into the pan before he actually gets to the litter.
    Add a “litter catcher” mat outside the pan, it is two layers of washable foam, top layer has holes to trap litter and you can put a pee pad between the layers.
    Or, add a shallow empty pan outside at the doorway that he has to go through to get in the pan, if he still goes just as he gets in it will catch it.

    Good luck, I hope you find a solution that keeps you both happy!

  3. For the litter box issue – we have 2, 9 yr old, indoor only cats, & this is what works for us 99% of the time. A larger (length/width)box for each cat that have shorter sides & are each placed on a boot tray (which is longer/wider than the box), filled w/ unscented litter, and scooped every single time one of them does anything (because we’ve found that they both do best in a “cleared” box every time they need it). If either misses the box, the boot tray is easy to pull out & empty or rinse off. The trays are in an area that gets little foot traffic so they don’t get spooked or bothered by us humans. Know you’ll get lots of advice from the brain-trust here.

  4. One of our cats has a similar issue; she backs herself up and stands as tall as possible when peeing. We also use wood pellet litter so that could be the cause but we just assumed she was a weirdo and got some top entry litterboxes (iris usa makes some nice ones that look more like decor) and put one in pretty much every room (6 total for 3 cats) and we change them at least once a week. That solved the problem. She’s peed in the tub a couple times since but we figured out that she was telling us she felt ill/the litterboxes were too gross/she didn’t like the new cat

    You may want to take him to the vet just to make sure nothing else is going on, but if it’s not a medical issue in my experience it’s usually the cat being fussy or just using the litterbox in a way it wasn’t designed for, and you can make things better by changing the litter and/or box, cleaning it more often, and making sure he isn’t having trouble climbing inside.

    • Okay so half my problem is I’ve been collecting ($$) litter boxes at a rapid pace. I had the exact top entry one you’re talking about in my Amazon cart but was afraid to pull the trigger because I worried he’d still find a way to “miss” the hole. I take it you haven’t had that issue?

  5. Well first off Toby is not being a jerk, he is obviously uncomfortable with something. That being said, I understand the frustration since the litter box is in your bedroom. I’m a big fan of puppy pads, they’ve saved me a ton of clean up over the years. Most of my cats are older and so as they age they start to have arthritis problems and can’t squat or get over the edges of things as easily. I also have a couple with some chub factor. I do have a couple of top entry boxes but I don’t think that’s going to be a solution for you. My best solution that I use is the black, shallow, concrete mixing tubs/trays from Lowe’s. Home Depot may carry them too, I’ve never looked. They are about 4 inches high maybe but are nice and wide, plenty of room for large cats. I use extra large puppy pads underneath in case of accidental overshoot. The reason I ended up with this solution was because of a “straight shooter”, a cat who stand up to pee, just like Mae’s cat above. However, it was because he came from a hoarding situation and there were no litter boxes. He rarely does it now. I have pads taped on the walls the litter boxes back up to and I haven’t had to change one in a good long while.
    I hope between all of us we help you find a solution. You wouldn’t go wrong with a vet visit either.

  6. One of my cats likes to pile all of the litter on one side and then perch on that side to do his business; unsurprisingly, this sometimes led to the litter box tipping over. I dealt with this by making a step that tucked under the lip of the container: not only did this stop the tip-overs, he could also perch more comfortably.

    So, if Toby’s issue is with perching, this might help; if his issue is with directionality, it might make things worse.

    Good luck!

  7. In regards to the pads of the feet possibly hurting, Dr Elsey’s makes a sensitive foot litter! I like the way it clumps but it’s about the same texture as the Arm & Hammer Clump and Seal we already use. Got an older girl who occasionally poops outside the box, and thought maybe that would help. Still working on it. The vet has mentioned that if it hurts to poop, the cat may think it’s the box itself hurting and avoid it…so our next step is a ‘work-up’ if she continues ( we haven’t ruled out the washer noise, or my mom’s dog visiting from time to time…)