Your cat may be scratching the wall after using the litter box because of natural instincts to cover their mess or mark their territory. Cats will often scratch surfaces after using the litter box to loosen the litter stuck between their toes. If the behaviour seems more destructive, they may be trying to let you know they’re not happy with their litter or litter box.
If your cat scratches several walls around the house, it may be for different reasons, which you can read bout here.
1. NATURAL INSTINCTS
Cats have natural instincts to scratch, and to cover their waste. They do this in the wild so their scent doesn’t attract their predators. Although they may be digging in their litter box and covering their waste with litter, their instincts may still kick in once they step out of the litter box and they may have the urge to “cover” some more. If you notice your cat scratches the floor around their litter box, as well as the wall, this is most likely the reason for their behaviour.
2. MARKING THEIR TERRITORY
Cats use scratching as a way to mark their territory, both visually and through scent. If you have multiple cats, one cat may scratch the wall in an attempt to leave more of their scent in the area. The scratch marks on the wall may also be used to visually tell the other cats to stay away.
3. CLEANING THEIR PAWS
In the wild, cats scratch objects such as trees to sharpen their claws, as well as to keep their claws clean and free of infection (source). If the litter box is too small, there’s not enough litter in the box, it’s not cleaned often enough, or it’s a clumping litter, your cat may be stepping in their own mess, getting it stuck to their paws, and then are using the wall to try and clean off their claws (here’s how you can help them clean litter off their paws).
4. SHOWING DISCONTENT
Your cat may be scratching the walls out of rebellion and to let you know they’re not happy with something that’s going on in or around their litter box. Cats are finicky and they also like to be clean, so it’s easy for their litter box to become a subject of discontent.
They may not like the litter you’re using, how much litter you’re pouring in the box, the size of their litter box, the litter box location…the list goes on. For more reasons your cat may be expressing odd behaviour in and around their litter box, check out this article.
It’s also important to keep their litter box clean; scooping at least once per day and changing the litter frequently (how frequent depends on the type of litter you use).
If you have more than one cat in the home, it will also be important to have more than one litter box (if possible) or to increase your scooping and changing of litter. Your cat may not like that they have to share their potty space with another cat, which could be why they scratch the wall next to it.
HOW DO I STOP MY CAT FROM SCRATCHING THE WALLS OUTSIDE THEIR LITTER BOX?
Determine the most likely reason your cat is scratching the walls after going to the washroom to find an appropriate solution.
1. KEEP THEIR LITTER BOX CLEAN
If your cat’s natural instincts are kicking in and they’re scratching more than they need to after using the litter box, it may be because they feel their scent isn’t covered. They may feel this way if their litter box is dirty and is emitting a strong odor.
Litter boxes should be scooped at least once per day, maybe more depending on how many cats are using the box and how frequently your cat uses it.
2. GET A SECOND LITTER BOX OR CLEAN THE AREA
If you believe your cat is scratching the walls in an attempt to leave their scent and mark their territory because of other cats in the house, it may help to give your cat their own litter box so they don’t have to share the same one with every cat.
If you’ve moved into an older house, it’s likely there are several unfamiliar scents, some of which may be from pets that lived in the house prior to you moving in. In which case, it may help to clean the area really well, in hopes your cat doesn’t smell anything they feel they need to cover up with their scent.
Don’t use strong-smelling cleaners or bleach. Instead, use an enzyme cleaner such as these ones:
3. TRY A NEW LITTER
If you notice your cat often has cat litter stuck between their toes and believe they may be scratching the wall in an attempt to get the litter off, try switching the type of litter you use to see if it helps the situation.
Clumping litters make it easy for humans to clean, but aren’t always the best option for cats. Try a natural cat litter, such as a paper cat litter. Make sure you introduce a new litter slowly by mixing a little bit into their normal cat litter and slowly increasing the ratio of new litter to old litter.
4. TRY TO IMPROVE THEIR LITTER BOX SITUATION
It may be hard to determine which aspect of the litter box your cat doesn’t like, but try playing around with a larger litter box, a new litter box location, scooping more frequently, etc. You may find one factor that changes their scratching behaviour.
I hope this article has helped you understand why your cat is scratching the wall after using the litter box 🙂
You may also be interested in reading about why cats often scratch smooth surfaces such as windows.