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Is It Normal For My CH Cat To Lay While Using The Litter Box?

December 13, 2013

It’s one of those questions you’ll likely never think to ask until it happens to you: Is it normal for CH cats to use the litter box while laying on their side?

Jodi reached out to the CH cat Facebook community a while back to find out:

Photo courtesy Shana L. McDanold.

“I am a new owner of a mild CH cat. He seems to want to lay over in the litter box when he poops. Is this common? I have been helping stay upright, and he does stay upright on occasion without my help. He is 9-weeks-old.”

While the experiences vary, the answer was clear: Yes, some CH cats do lay on their side while in the litter box. No matter the reason for their cats’ behavior, everyone who responded shared one of two things: that their cat improved over time to the point where he/she no longer lays in the box, or that they found a way to make using the litter box easier for their CH cat.

Here’s a look at some of their advice. Have something more to add? Please share in the comments!

Roxann: You may have to continue to help for a while, in terms of helping him stand upright when he uses the litter box. My Ozzy learned quickly to lean on the side of the box (I have tall ones). Nine-weeks-old is still pretty young. His legs need to get stronger and he needs to learn to balance better.

Saskia: Mine couldn’t stay up in the box until she was about 4-months-old. As she moved around the house she got stronger and eventually stopped falling over in the box. They get better! The kitten period can be tricky for CH kitties.

Rebecca: My 9-week-old CH does the same. I was just letting her go potty on her side. I am often amazed that she isn’t covered with pee or poop after going. Today I was so proud she pooped leaning against the box. I lifted her before she tried to cover it because for my CH kitties that is where it all goes downhill.

Emily: My mild CH kitty had the same problem. I used to have to give her baths pretty frequently because she would fall over in the litter box all the time. Whenever I would hear her scratching around in the box, I would run in to hold her up while she went to the bathroom. As she got older (she’s a year and a half now), she built up more strength to hold herself up better, and she also figured out that she could lean against the wall. We have two boxes – one with low sides in a corner (so she has the option of two walls to lean against), and the other box is made out of one of those big Rubbermaid storage bins. We cut a square hole out of the side for the cats to get in and out. That one has high walls on all four sides for her to lean against. She hardly ever falls over these days.

Looking for more litter box advice? Here you go!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Monika permalink
    December 15, 2013 8:41 am

    Molly is now 7 months old and still will not go near a litter box even though we have done everything suggested. She still insists on crawling under the couch and using pee pads. However now that she has grown it is becoming more difficult for her to get under the furniture. Unfortunetly I am not home much anymore to work with her as my father passed away and I have had to live with my mother (who has dementia) in another county and she will not let me bring Molly with me. My husband does what he can but she is my “baby” and responds better to me than him. We’ve tried 3 different kinds of litter but she hates the feel of it on her feet.

  2. April 23, 2015 2:43 pm

    We recently adopted a CH kitty and she originally leaned in her box. Now she lays in it, making a mess of herself and the room her box is in every time. We’re totally stumped as to why and how to keep her from laying down – she’s certainly strong enough to squat or lean – wondering if we can possibly train her by holding her? We taught her how to eat without pecking, but cats are so fickle about their litter box experiences Im nervous about scaring her away from the box. Any thoughts?

    • amy brown permalink
      February 7, 2017 8:09 pm

      How did you train her to not peck while eating? Please share!

  3. amy brown permalink
    February 7, 2017 8:08 pm

    I am in desperate advice on litter box issues with my CH kitten named Jelly (she IS as sweet as jelly btw! ). Jelly is about 7 months old, and has NEVER actually used a litter box. I have tried, each time she reacted as if I were putting her into a box of slow painful kitty torture, its really the fastest she’s EVER moved (and it wasn’t pretty!)! Jelly’s pretty good with going on her beloved newspaper’s. ..but that ALWAYS results in a mess multiple times a day. She’s a mess, covered in potty, and the newspapers make a mess & ruin my floors (I’ve even tried puppy training pads underneath) . I have scene the litter box tips on this site…but any advice on how to make her USE it, not be scared, etc. And is it possible to train her at this age? Please help! Any advice is welcome & much appreciated.

  4. Martin Parker permalink
    June 17, 2022 12:16 pm

    Thanks for the information our six year old Zoe cat just did the laying on her side I was worried. Thanks never saw the other five doing it.

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