We have two male Bengal cats, one of the cats we've had for 5 years (Esxi) and we got our second cat about a year and a half ago (Echo). We have a problem with Echo since the start, he doesn't seem to want to cover his feces and when he pees, he does so over the edge of the litterbox. When he is done (peeing or defecating), he scratches the edged of the box (like he is trying to cover it) and runs away. Sometimes it can seem like he just doesn't want to touch anything close to the area he placed it.

The litter boxes we use now are in the bathroom and we have installed a cat door they use to enter/exit the bathroom, both our cats also sleep in the bathroom (since they came they have always slept on the carpets there) so we got them a bed each under the sink which they use every night and day when they sleep.

We feed them using a smart-feeder. They get their meals at regular intervals, every six hours - we use some of the most expensive, nutrient rich dry food on the market (they won't eat anything else, we have tried most products) and we give them the portions they should have. They get clean water every day and have two "zones" where they can drink, both are fountain-style running water. None of them have any health issues (Esxi has had some problems with his teeth which we have sorted with the vet a long time ago.

We have tried everything we know to try, and also help him cover it:

  • After he is done, we show him how to cover his "work" for months.
  • We have tried several boxes (at one point we've had three boxes) we now have two.
  • We have tried different types of sand, a combination with peewee and only peewee.
  • We have tried to place the food in the vicinity in case that will make him more careful.
  • We have moved the boxes around in the house.
  • We have tried larger boxes.
  • We have tried to separate the cats.

Echo will anyway use the same box as Esxi, no matter which box that is. He has never defecated outside the box, but won't clean it.

At this point we are feeling a bit helpless, Esxi doesn't seem to care, and he will cover the feces before he does his work. But this does not always help. Echo won't seem to get it whatever we do.

What can we do here to help him understand that he needs to pee inside the box and not over the edge onto the floor, and how can we make him cover his own feces? Other questions here has been answered with suggestions we already have tried.

1 Answer 1


Burying (or not burying) waste is an instinctual behavior. You might be able to create an environment that facilitates the behavior you're looking for, but you're not going to teach a cat to do it the way you want. It may be that no reasonable accommodation will make your cat actually bury his waste properly.

First off, check for medical issues.

You mentioned the cat runs from the box, which sometimes cats will do if eliminating is painful, or the box has associations with pain. Examine the quality of its stool (ideally when fresh), to see if it looks too wet or too dry, which are indications of diarrhea or constipation. I would also bring it up on the next vet visit. But, on the other hand, sometimes cats run from the litterbox for no apparent reason too.

Watch your cat when he goes.

With any luck, you might notice something about the way the cat uses the box that helps you identify the root cause of the problem. Look for how easy is it for the cat to move and turn around while in the box, and also if there's any hesitation while using it, which could be an indication of dislike or pain. For the peeing problem, it may even be that the cat tends to stand while peeing, which some cats do for some reason. At any rate, based on your observations, try applying the following suggestions accordingly.

  • A bigger box. Sometimes cats want a much bigger box, and honestly, there isn't all that much size variation in litterboxes, so you might try improvising one. Many people that go this route use a large Tupperware container with an entrance hole cut out.
  • Different litter. Some cats have sensitive paws, and so it hurts to step on larger granules. Therefore rather than trying litters randomly, I would try the finest gained litter you can find. If you suspect the litter is the problem, I recommend experimenting with no peewee at all as the granules appear quite big.
  • Make sure you aren't using too little or too much litter. Two to three inches is recommended, though some cats might want more or less.
  • Clean the box much more frequently.

The problem of peeing outside the box can probably be fixed by switching to a litterbox with very high sides or a lid, though ideally, if there's some sort of root cause that's making him not like the box, leading to his peeing over the side, that should be addressed as well.

  • Upvote! We've tried bigger box, and the litter dosn't seem to be the problem but we will try your suggestion there too. We clean the box two or three times a day (removing stools) and rinse and wash the box every weekend. The peewee is quite good at retaining pee, and there is no apparent smell from the box during the week. We will pay more attention to the "mounds" Esxi makes after he does his stuff, as this can be a root cause for Echo's "stand and pee" behaviour. As you say, we are not looking to change his behavior for our sake, but feel that he could be a bit more respecting of his "bro".
    – Ole Aldric
    Feb 20, 2021 at 18:39

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