Kitten Meows When Digging In The Litter Box

kitten meow when digging in litter box

My cat has always been on the quiet side, more of an introvert than an extrovert. He doesn’t join in the fun when there are guests over and slinks off to find a quiet corner of the house.

The only times when I hear that cute meow or irritating yowl are when he wants to eat and when it’s litter box time. He pretty much announces to the entire house when he wants to take a pee or poo. And this has been going on ever since he was a kitten.

Does your kitten tend to meow a lot when digging in its litter box? A kitten that meows when using the litter box could mean that it is having problems peeing or pooing. There could be underlying health problems that can make cats meow in pain when using the litter box. In some cases, it could just be your cat being noisy.

In this article, I will be sharing the common possible reasons that are causing your kitten to be vocal when using the litter box. My cat has pretty much been through all of it as a kitten and an adult. Some issues definitely require medical attention.

Your Cat Is Constipated

There are days when our bowels seem to be sleeping and the same thing can happen to my cat. He can go without popping for a few days and on the third day out comes a hot steaming pile of glorious poo.

When it comes to kittens, cat owners have to be more mindful of their litter box habits. If your kitten has not been defecated in the last few days, your cat could be constipated.

However, don’t start freaking out when you don’t see poo in your kitten’s litter tray every day. Your cat’s body has its own natural rhythm too. Some cats go every day, some cats poo once every few days.

The problem arises when your kitten is no longer regular with its bowel movements. A severe case of constipation in cats might require an enema to help regulate its bowels.

Other symptoms to look out for will be vomiting, lack of appetite and lethargy.

There are a couple of factors that can cause constipation in kittens:

Too Little Water

Our cats aren’t the biggest drinkers of water in the animal kingdom. Having originated as desert cats, they have a low thirst level.

So how do cats hydrate themselves?

By the food which they catch and eat. However, that is something that our indoor cats no longer have to do.

What food are you currently feeding your kitten? If it is dry food, you need to stop and transition your cat to wet food for better hydration.

Dry food is really bad for cats of all ages and can lead to many health issues as they get older.

Make sure to also provide a clean and fresh drinking bowl for your cat.

An Intestinal Obstruction

The energy level of a kitten can rival that of a nuclear power plant. It is endless and available in an instant.

I remembered when my cat was a kitten, everything and anything was a mystery to him. He would get trapped in the weirdest of places and start chewing on inedible objects.

If your kitten has swallowed a foreign object like a piece of string, dental floss or any small item, it can get entangled in its digestive system and cause a blockage. Once there’s a blockage, it can obstruct the movement of your kitten’s stool.

Your Kitten Has Worms

parasitic worms in cats

Kittens are very prone to having intestinal parasites when they are young. They can get it from their mothers or other cats.

These parasites will start to congregate inside your kitten’s intestinal tract and reproduce. These worms are able to reproduce in the hundreds and thousands over time.

A large enough parasitic infestation in your kitten’s intestines can definitely lead to a blockage and cause your cat to be constipated.

Feline Urinary Tract Disease

kitten using the litter box

When your cat meows loudly, strains to pee and starts going in and out of the litter box many times, it looks like a possible urinary tract problem.

The first time my cat got this issue, I kinda knew that something was off. He would keep going in and out of his litter box while trying to pee. He kept meowing and digging aggressively too.

There were other symptoms that I noticed as well:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Hiding
  • Little to no pee in the litter box
  • Traces of blood in the urine

Feline urinary tract disease can be a tricky one to diagnose as they are a number of factors that can cause it in your kitten:

  • Weak bladder muscles
  • Bacterial infection/Urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Trauma to the spinal cord or urinary tract
  • Bladder stones
  • Excessive stress
  • Congenital abnormalities

The above factors can cause your cat’s bladder or urethra to become inflamed or obstructed which makes peeing painful. A urinary tract disease needs to be medically treated immediately as this condition can be life-threatening if left untreated.

A male cat is more prone to getting a urinary tract disease as they have a narrower urethra as compared to female cats.

Can A Cat Get UTI From A Dirty Litter Box?

Yes it is possible for your cat to get a UTI from using a dirty litter box. When your cat squats to pee, the bacteria present in the poo can travel up the cat’s urethra and cause an infection.

Your cat’s litter box doesn’t have to be sparkling clean every minute of the day but I make sure to empty out the waste at least once a day.

I will then do a complete change of the entire cat litter once a week.

Your Cat Is Feeling Stressed

Cats are creatures of habit and routine. They like everything to be in the same place as yesterday and surrounded by familiar odors.

Being more sensitive than say, dogs, a sudden change in your kitten’s environment can certainly throw it off balance.

What might not seem like a big change to you, can be a life-changing event for your little kitty. There are a few things in general that can really stress out a cat.

  • Moving to a new house
  • Having a new pet at home
  • Presence of a new family member
  • Presence of other cats in the neighborhood

This isn’t an exhaustive list but a cat owner can expect to see changes in the cat if one or more of the above scenarios were to happen.

Besides having your kitten meow when using the litter box, there can be other behavioral issues as well:

I remembered when I first brought my cat home from the shelter, the poor thing was so scared. All the unfamiliar sights and smells would have caused a sensory overload.

I had to confine him to a room in a big play den for a few days just to allow him to settle down.

Your Cat Hates His Toilet

The fussiest person that I’ve ever met has to be my cat. I’ve lost count of the number of things that he has been fussy about.

There’s a spare cabinet in my home with all the things I’ve bought for my cat but hardly used due to his disinterest.

Over the years, I’ve learned that when it comes to litter boxes and cat litter, it has to be spot on.

If your cat doesn’t like his litter box or the type of litter that you bought, it won’t be a happy camper when it’s bathroom time. It can seem that your cat is having a health issue when it’s just due to personal preference.

Types Of Litter Box

Let’s start with the main event, the litter box. Take a look at a pet store and you’ll be overwhelmed by the many different types of litter boxes available these days.

Here are the ones that are more commonly used:

  • Open litter box
  • Covered litter box
  • Self-cleaning litter boxes
  • Sifting litter boxes
  • Top entry litter boxes

I’ve tried most of them and some litter boxes are made more for the convenience of cat owners than for the cats.

It is hard to say which type your cat would like unless you test it out. Suffice to say, I’ve wasted a fair bit of money trying to get the ‘perfect’ litter box for my cat. Based on my experience, the open litter box works best for most cats, young and old.

Type Of Cat Litter

Cat litter can come in many different types of materials like walnut, paper, corn, silica gel, clay and pine wood. You can then categorize them into clumping and non-clumping litter.

Some clumping litter comes with a lot of fine dust that can affect cats with allergies and asthma. There are also cats that do not like non-clumping litter because these materials tend to be harder on their paws.

How Do I Know If My Cat Doesn’t Like The Litter?

kitten having diarrhea

If your cat doesn’t like the cat litter you bought, it won’t be too keen to use the litter box when it needs to go.

It s hard to say no when nature calls so your cat wouldn’t have the best toilet etiquette. It might pee or poo right at the edge to avoid as much contact as possible with the cat litter. Some cats will just do their business and not bother to dig and bury their waste. And the worst case scenario would be treating another part of your house as its temporary toilet.

Similar to litter boxes, it pays to test out a few different types to see what your cat likes or doesn’t like.

Your Cat Wants Company

It might be hard to believe it but there are actually kittens that want their owners around when they use the toilet.

Some cats might have a stickier bond with their family due to being orphaned or weaned off too early from their mothers.

This strange behavior also applies to cats who are known as ‘affectionate eaters’. They like their owners to watch them eat or at least be close by.

My cat doesn’t take it too kindly if he notices me trying to be a voyeur. He will make sure to make his displeasure known by giving me a stern meow.

You Have A Vocal Cat

There are some cats that are just very vocal in nature. You know, just like that one friend we all have that just can’t shut up.

Many cat owners have mentioned that their cats love to meow or yowl before, during and after using the litter box.

My cat does the same thing, especially after doing his business.

He will walk to where I am and let out a really long and demanding meow which translates to “You can clean it now. I’m done.”

As long as your cat is peeing and pooing normally and they do not seem to be having any difficulties, consider it an endearing trait of your cat.

What Should I Do If My Kitten Meows When Digging In The Litter Box?

If you notice your little feline friend showing such behavior, don’t panic. Take a day or two to further observe your cat’s behavior.

A few things to look out for:

  • Does your cat look in pain when using the litter box?
  • Any blood in the pee or poo?
  • Is it eliminating outside of the litter box?
  • Is your cat’s poo very soft or hard?
  • Is your cat still eating normally?

Most of the time, my cat’s toilet issue will resolve itself after a day or two. But if it doesn’t seem to get better or if there’s blood, I will take my cat to the vet for a proper check-up.

Depending on the problem, it would be helpful to take a urine or stool sample for the vet to run a test on.

To collect a urine sample from your cat, try to clear some of the cat litter so that it pees on the box. Take a small syringe to suck up as much urine as possible and store it in a clean bottle.

For a stool sample, it works the same work without the need for a syringe.

Please do not wait too long to see the vet if your cat is really in pain when using the litter box. Many of the symptoms can get a lot worse if left untreated.

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