Perhaps your cat likes to make a mess? One of the most unpleasant of doing this is by scratching the walls of their litter box after pooping. Although this can seem unhygienic, it is often part of their normal behavior. It’s only when done excessively can it be a symptom of a larger issue for your pet. If this is a health issue, you’ll need to identify the cause. Equally, it might be a practical problem that needs fixing.
If your cat is scratching the walls excessively, this guide will help you figure out what could be causing them to do this.
Why Would Your Cat Scratch Walls Or Kick Litter Out?
For starters, you need to understand the reasons why a cat could kick litter out of its box. Understanding a cat's behavior is generally a pre-adoption requirement. Being prepared for the pet’s arrival means you can know things to expect and things to avoid. And equally, each cat is an individual. They might display certain behavior which is only specific to themselves. Undoubtedly, getting to know your cat's personality is a rewarding aspect of cat ownership.
Cats will scratch walls kick out litter from their box because they’re trying to bury their feces and/or urine. Whenever a cat utilizes its litter box it typically follows a specific routine. They primarily inspect their litter for cleanliness, they might dig to make a divot, they defecate or urinate, and then scratch at that litter to hide its expulsion. But how forcefully this happens will rely on the individual cat. While some scoop slightly over the top, others might be slightly more energetic.
It’s worth noting that this behavior is normal. Besides, wild felines and lots of other animals carry it out as well. There are two primary reasons why cats bury their stool:
- They’re extremely clean animals
- They’re looking to prevent the attention of predators or dangerous cats
This is an innate behavior, but not every cat buries its feces. Some cats might go into their litter box and perform their business above the litter. But if your pet usually does so and suddenly stops, it might be a sign of a pathological issue. You’ll need to consult the vet to establish whether this is indeed the case.
Why Is Your Cat Scratching The Walls Excessively?
Although kicking out sand off the box or scratching the walls is normal behavior, it shouldn’t be excessive. The primary reason a cat could scratch the walls excessively might be because of a physical health issue or might be a behavioral problem.
First, a cat might be scratching the walls too much because they’re using it too much. Gastrointestinal problems in cats are quite common. They might consume something which doesn’t fit in well with them which could result in temporary diarrhea. Furthermore, they might possess a parasitical infestation which mostly has more prolonged symptoms.
Bacterial and viral infections can also cause digestion complications. As a symptom of the underlying condition, the cat may need to go frequently and may excessively scratch accordingly. But, that’s not the only issue.
If you have a stressed cat, it may manifest itself in different behaviors. They could scratch (you or your furniture), develop stereotypies, or have sleeping difficulties. They’re behavioral ‘tics’ that could manifest themselves in many ways. And one possible reason is the excessive scratching of walls.
You must establish the cause of your cat's stress. You need to examine their other behaviors/ symptoms. Consult the vet to determine whether there’s a medical reason why they’re upset. If they find nothing, you’ll have to see an animal behaviorist who can identify the exact cause.
How Can You Prevent Your Cat From Scratching the Walls After Pooping?
Hygiene is often the biggest issue for excessive scratching of walls. As aforementioned, cats are particularly clean creatures. There’s very little they dislike more than dirt. They even spend a lot of time preening and licking themselves. Given the standards they maintain for their bodies, they’ll expect the same standards with their litter box.
Wild cats have numerous options of areas to bury their waste. Even big cats, e.g., Bengal tigers, urinate on mounds and spread the sand. They usually do this to announce their presence and scare away rivals.
When it comes to domestic cats, they don’t have as many options. Others might go outside if they got access to the outdoors. And if their indoor litter box isn’t clean enough, they might feel as though they don't have sufficient space to perform their business. It may cause them to scratch the walls. This isn't a behavioral issue with the cat, but rather a result of your poor guardianship.
Therefore, you must keep your pet’s litter box to the highest cleanliness standards. If you add the amount of time you usually spend cleaning up their litter box, you may find they’ll scratch less.
The Litter Box Matters!
In most cases, the issue of a cat scratching excessively is its actual litter box. The litter box should generally be 1.5 times the cat’s size. Many litter boxes available are not well-sized, specifically for larger cat breeds. It’s not surprising cats scratching the walls is such a common issue.
Your cat needs to be able to turn around 180º within their litter box. Cats will often kick their litter backward outside of their box. If it’s a very small box, it will be hard for the cat to do this correctly. The box's height also matters. Even if their box is sufficiently big, the cat may kick litter out when the top is too low or the sides are too narrow.
If you think the best solution is to replace the litter box, it’s worth noting that you need to do this slowly. Put the new litter box close to the old one. Ensure that you only remove the old one once your pet has become used to the new one. Otherwise, it can cause stress.
Another factor is the number of cats you have. The right number of litter boxes in a household is one for each pet and an additional one to share.