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How Do I Keep My Dog Out of the Litter Box?

Veto (cat) & Cuddles (dog)
Veto (cat) & Cuddles (dog)

Q: Dear Nora,
Thanks for your advice about avoiding covered litter boxes. I’d like to provide an uncovered box for my cat, but my dog loves to snack on cat poo. Any ideas? 

A: Even though it may seem counter-intuitive, it’s even more important to have uncovered boxes if your kitty is co-habitating with other animals. Not being able to escape the litter box is a legit concern if she sees the pup sniffing around. And, trust me, your cat eventually will find other (safer) places to do her business– maybe in the middle of the kitchen floor or in your new boots.

Instead, put the litter box in a room that doesn’t need to be accessible to the dog (laundry room, spare bedroom, bathroom, whatever) and install a hinged baby gate in the doorway. If your dog is big, you can install the gate 6 or so inches from the ground so your cat will easily be able to slip underneath. If not, install the gate closer to the ground and put something (a box, stool, piece of furniture) on each side, so your kitty can easily jump over the gate. The hinge will allow you to get into the room easily to clean the box daily, or you may be able to just step over the gate.


  1. Rachel | | Reply

    We do this! I’ve seen people who have constructed cool cabinets that house their litter boxes for small apartments. Those cabinets (often repurposed Ikea furniture) allow the cat to have easy access to the litter box, keep the dog out (because no one wants to be licked by poopbreath) and save space. That said, nothing works better than a baby gate, because our dog was not dissuaded by anything. I think he thought the cat litter was basically granola. Dogs are gross.

  2. Nora | | Reply

    Ooh, yes, I’ve heard about these cabinets made into places to hide a litter box. While I think that’s clever and will make a home look nice, it doesn’t really take into account my need to feel safe in the box and to know that there are no critters waiting to pounce on me when I exit.

    If my mom hid my litter box in a cabinet I’d for sure poop behind the couch.

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