Cat scratching the floor like a litter box – most common reasons

Here are some reasons why a cat might to scratch the floor as if it was a litter box.

Burying their scent

Some cats may scratch the floor in specific situations, such as after they have eaten. The cat may scratch the floor around the food bowl to bury their scent. It’s an instinctive behavior that many cats will exhibit, even though it’s not really possible to “bury” the floor like their wild counterparts would outside. Imagine the scratching as a way for the cat to hide evidence of their “kill” (aka the food). Placing a scratch mat or interlocking mat underneath the cat’s food bowl may reduce the likelihood of the cat causing further damage to the floor.

Marking their scent

Alternatively, the cat could also be marking their scent if they are scratching the floor at a random pattern but as if they were scratching or digging inside a litter box. Cats have tiny glands in their paws which give off a strong scent when the claws get extended.

Discomfort in the paws

Some cats may scratch the floor excessively due to some form of discomfort. Long claws, for example, can lead to a mix of short and long-term health problems because they make the cats move in unnatural ways. Make sure the cat’s claws are getting trimmed on a regular basis, especially if they are indoor cats and don’t have much space to wear them down naturally. How often the claws require trimming will depend on the cat’s lifestyle.

Dirty litter

Some cats may scratch the floor after they poop or pee. It’s another one of those instinctive behaviors for cats to bury their waste. The cat may decide to scratch the floor instead of the litter because the litter box is too dirty. You might also notice other signs such as poop getting stuck more often to the cat’s butt. Make sure the waste inside the litter box is getting scooped out regularly.

Disclaimer: The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a veterinarian when in doubt.


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