A problem commonly faced by those who share their homes with both cats and dogs is the tendency for a dog to view a cat's droppings as a gastronomic treat. The reason an otherwise normal dog will take this view of his housemate's waste is unclear. Some experts theorize the higher fat and protein content in the cat's food makes the waste attractive. Whatever the cause, from the viewpoint of the third species in the house -- the fastidious human -- the habit is beyond disgusting. Depending on your situation, dogproofing your cat's litter box might be easy, or it might require some thought and ingenuity.
Move the litter box. Depending on the setup of your house and the sizes of your dog and cat, the simplest solution may be the best. Move the box to an area your dog cannot access, such as on top of the clothes dryer or on an unused counter. Unless your cat is elderly or overweight, she should be able to reach it without much trouble.
Block the dog's access. Baby gates deny entry to many dogs as well as children. Place a baby gate in the doorway of the room the litter box is in, and make sure your cat can jump over it. If your cat has trouble clearing it, raise the gate higher in the doorway, opening a few inches between the bottom of the gate and the floor, or cut a hole in the baby gate that the cat can get through but the dog cannot. For large dog breeds that can push right through a baby gate, move the litter box into a room with a door and use a chain-latch security lock to allow the cat access to do her business while keeping the dog out. A closet might work nicely. Or place the litter box in the garage or basement, and install a pet door small enough that only your cat can get through to the litter box.
Get an automatic litter box. Some high-tech litter boxes will actually clean themselves for you, and the process removes the reason for the dog's visit. Replace your cat's current litter box with an automatic litter box that will sift and scoop the litter shortly after the cat has relieved herself. The waste is stored in an enclosed area for easy removal.
Buy or build a litter box enclosure. The most common form of litter box is a shallow tray that allows the cat -- and the dog -- easy entry. Most pet retail stores carry dogproof litter boxes that offer an enclosed litter area and an entry hole on the side or top to allow your cat in and keep the dog out. Build one yourself by taking a deep plastic bin large enough to fit over your current litter box and cutting a hole into the top or side, just big enough to allow your cat in. Depending on the size of your dog, this may keep him out.
Teach your cat to use the toilet. Believe it or not, you can do this. Various training methods and products can be found online, including Litter Kwitter, which uses plastic discs that hold small amounts of litter and offer progressively larger openings to acclimate your cat to going to the bathroom on the toilet. In time, she'll simply jump up and relieve herself, eliminating the need for a litter box.
If you allow your cats access to the outdoors, their feces may contain parasites and eggs that can infest your dog. Scoop and clean litter boxes frequently to prevent the spread of these nasty invaders among your pets.
Ingested cat litter can collect in your dog's intestines and cause a serious blockage that can put his health at serious risk. Keep your dog out of your cat's litter boxes to eliminate this potentially serious health hazard.
A clean litter box offers no enticement for your dog to visit. Use scoopable litter, and remove waste as often as necessary to keep your dog from trying an unsanitary snack.
Items You Will Need
- Baby gate
- Scoopable litter
- Chain-latch security lock
- New litter box (optional)