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How to Prevent a Dog From Getting to the Cat Litter

September 18, 2010
Siamese mix kitten

How do you keep the dog out of the cat litter?

We know how much dogs love kitty *snacks* (cat poo).

Creep Access to Prevent Your Dog From Eating Cat Poo

For medium to large dogs, the solution is a creep access.  You basically place the cat pan somewhere like a ventilated closet, laundry room, lanai, small room, and set the door open just far enough for the cat’s head to pass through, but too small for the dog.  A chain across the opening that you can remove when you wish to enter the room will suffice.  Or a cat door in the bottom of a door or wall that is just bg enough for the cat to get its head through, but too small for the dog, will work, too.

Creep Access comes from Creep feeding.  On farms, like sheep farms, the ewes like the extra nutritious lamb food and they will greedily et up all the expensive special food that is intended for their babies.  To prevent this gluttony, pens are built around the lamb food with narrow openings for the lambs to slip in the pen and eat, leaving their greedy moms behind.  The lambs can come and go as they please.  This system is called Creep Feeding and inspired Doc Truli to try Creep Access for the cat litter pan.

Special Challenge: Keeping a Tiny Dog Out of the Cat Litter Pan (and Poo)

The challenge comes when your dog is the same size, or smaller than the cat.  Like a stinkin’ greedy, sneaky, adorable Chihuahua.  Your little jacket-wearing, stroller riding, arm hitching darlin’ loves cat poo as much as the neighbor’s gawky Labradoodle.  You are in trouble, my friend.

Doc Truli established a creep situation in an unused closet, with a chain across the opening at human eye level.  The pit bull could not access the pan and seemed bored after a few attempts to test the door.  The Chihuahua, however, relished the sanctity and privacy of the dark, quiet litter pan.

Because of a messy grey-long haired diva-cat named Mitsy, the cat litter was contained in an 8-inch deep litter pan with the enclosed, ventilated hood on the top.  The opening was a good 6-7 inches off of the ground.  Chiwa stood about 12 inches at the shoulder.

Many a day, Doc Truli returned home, only to see a tiny black and white tail sticking out of the cat litter closet.

“Wa! No, yucky,” said Doc Truli.

Chihuahua’s response?  The tail started bobbing up and down ferociously.  When Doc opened the closet door all the way, Wa was wedged with her belly see-sawing over the brim of the pan, her hind feet kicking in the air in order to push her nose deeper into the cat litter.  The more Doc chided, the faster she kicked, until she was lifted out of the pan and carried to the bathroom sink for a much-needed bath!  Ewww!

Litter Box Table to Restrict Dogs’ Access to the Cat Litter Pan

The solution Doc later discovered was a specially-made table.  The special table enclosed the cat pan.  Now, if you do a Google search for litter box furniture, most of the furniture is nice, but the cat access hole is on the front or back or side of the box, making dog ingress just as likely as cat egress.  You need the hole to be up off the floor, where the dogs will have a tough time getting to the litter.  (If your dog does jump up, and then down into the pan, he or she will probably get stuck.  How embarrassing!)

The table Doc Truli used was even better than a potty-hole on top of a table.  It had sides that went up about 2/3 of the way to the table-top, then the table had about 8-12 inches of space underneath the smooth, flat tabletop.  The open space allows cat access, prevents dog access, and provides the best air ventilation Doc Truli has seen in cat litter box furniture.

Cats can jump up and glide through that space.  A dog, however, is rarely even remotely as agile as a cat.  So that table stopped Chiwa short in her dirty-habit tracks!  As Mitsy got older and arthritic, we switched back to a pan that was easier to get in and out of, with a low lip so she did not have to climb over to get to her relief.  WaWa left that pan alone.  Maybe she sensed mommy could only handle one problem at a time!

National chain pet stores now sell a Rubbermaid brand (or knock-off) plastic bin with a cover with a hole in the top for the cat to jump on and then go down into the pan.  This bin has poor air circulation and quality for the cat.  A bigger enclosure, with an opening at jumping-height for a cat, but not a small dog, would work.  An internet search in 2010 (the table was a 1990 model) revealed no tables like the one that cured Chihuahua of her poop-snacking habit.  You could make one, or commission one from a handy craftsman or neighbor; it is easy with the right tools and experience!

Cat Litter Box Furniture Resources that Might Work for You

Doc Truli does not endorse or have any agreements with these cat pan businesses.  They offer litter box furniture that could possibly keep dogs out of the pan!

This first furniture would work.  Doc Likes the 2-story furniture with an access shelf.  Dogs will not get in that one!

Cat Litter Box Furniture with Jump-Shelf Access or Access Door 1/2 Way Up the Side

Cat Pan Furniture with Hole in TableTop

Cat Pan Furniture with High Door and Play or Book Shelves

Dog Play Website has a list of more ideas for obstructing dog access to the cat pan.

(Again, these links are provided to speed your research.  Doc Truli looked at the pretty pictures and thought you might agree.  Otherwise, VirtuaVet.com and Doc Truli have no affiliation with these websites whatsoever!)

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 17, 2012 10:47 am

    I live alone and after catching pommeranian getting into cat box, put the box in tub with rug under and showed kitty where o go. She can jump into bathtub bu dog cannot. Keep litterer box changed daily.

  2. October 1, 2010 3:14 pm

    Good post! And thanks for the links to the sites (and pretty pictures). I am glad I don’t have dogs and have to deal with this issue, though, as most behaviorists say cats prefer litterboxes that are not enclosed or with ‘hoods’ and all mine are open. I have one couple who have 2 cats from me as well as a dog and they actually installed ‘Invisible Fence’ inside their home and the room that the cats boxes are in is ‘electrified’ so the dog who wears the tag on his collar won’t go in there. Great idea, isn’t it!

    • October 3, 2010 1:54 am

      Fabulous idea! Thanks for the tip. And it’s true, cats prefer a large,open litter space, but with some privacy from noise and invaders like children.

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