Is unauthorized “snacking” a problem?
Sure, you may expect your cat and dog to fight like cats and dogs, but you probably weren’t expecting this little twist: as you round the corner to grab a midnight snack, you catch Fido making a midnight snack out of your cat’s litter box (yes, your dog is feasting on cat poop!).
As disgusting as this may sound, take comfort in the fact that you are not alone, and that your dog’s penchant for eating cat poop is probably not a sign of illness; rather it is simply a matter of taste. Put plainly, many dogs consider your cat’s litter box, and specifically the cat poop it contains, to be an all-you-can-eat buffet. That said, your best bet is to hide the buffet! In fact, dogs eating cat feces is a very common (albeit unpleasant) dog behavior. Instead of trying to train your dog to resist temptation, which can prove nearly impossible, why not simply remove the temptation? This will keep everyone happy—you, your cat, and your dog.
- Baby gates aren’t just for babies anymore – Gates can also effectively sequester the cat box from your dog without limiting your cat’s access. Although cats can generally jump higher than dogs, you may want to test both pets’ jumping abilities to be sure this solution will work for you before spending money on a baby gate. Keep in mind your cat’s age, too. Jumping may become more challenging as your cat ages, so be certain that your cat can easily clear a gate.
- Cats are smaller than most dogs – Another way to keep your dog away from the litter box is to strategically place it in a space in your home that the dog can’t access. This could be a small opening in a closet or a little pet door in a wall that only your cat can fit through. One way to create a small opening is to screw a latch and hook system into a closet door so the door can only be opened wide enough for your cat to squeeze through. Be sure to test the openings on both the dog and cat before buying the hardware and making adjustments to the door.
- Place the litter box up high – If you have an old spare table or book case you can place out of the way and you don’t mind the litter box being there, then that could be a nice and easy solution. Your cat won’t mind (and may even prefer) the location, while for the dog, it will be out of sight, out of mind, and most importantly—out of reach!
- Got a spare bathtub? – Another option is to place your cat’s litter box in a spare bathroom bathtub. This will only work if you have a small dog that can’t jump into the tub. Your cat should still be able to access it easily but your dog could find this too challenging depending on its size and jumping ability.
- Consider a “system” – Finally, if all else fails you can investigate purchasing a “litter containment system.” This is your most expensive option, but also a much better one than living with an excrement eater! A litter containment system is a wooden box that houses the litter box and provides access to the cat only.
So don’t fret if Fido is feasting on the cat box—simply move the food source and breathe easy again.