Jackson Galaxy and Litter Scratching

Jackson Galaxy and Litter ScratchingThe star of My Cat From Hell, Jackson Galaxy, has agreed to talk with us about some of the questions Happy Litter Box readers have sent in.

Lots of you have been sending questions about your cats scratching around the litter box – some cats have been scratching the walls, some the air and one reader in particular wrote this:

My Simone scratch, scratch, scratch, scratches to high heaven after using the litterbox…scratching the litter, the side of the box, the wall, the privacy screen. Not sure if she’s trying to clean out her claws, or what. It’s a real trial at 5 a.m. to be patient and hope she finishes soon. I definitely don’t want to get on her case about it, lest she associate the box with “getting in trouble.” Any ideas about why, and/or how to alleviate this?

We talked with Jackson about the scratching issue. He says you need to act like a super sleuth detective to try and pinpoint the cause of the scratching.

Jackson reinforced that we need to act as cat detectives and answer some questions to determine the causes of the excessive scratching. Is it a behavior issue or a product issue?

Here are some questions to ask yourself: Did Simone always do this? Did you do something new (remember, it could seem insignificant to you but could be very significant to Simone) When did it get bad? Did you change anything – location of the box, the litter, the box itself?

Start thinking through any and all causes and combinations of causes and begin ruling things out.

Also, Jackson said there is a false understanding that cats know what to do with litter; that it’s not necessarily instinct. Some cats don’t even like litter. Keep that in mind, too, as you are trying to suss out a possible reason for your cat’s odd litter box behavior.

We often catch one of our cats pawing at the air after he pees and asked Jackson about this. He said there is really no unifying reason for “air scratching” and again, paying close attention to the box, products and surroundings might help pinpoint the issue at hand. The air scratching doesn’t bother us; we just thought it was a little odd.

The theme with Jackson, as you can see, is that every situation is different. We hope these posts help you think through possibilities and narrow down the causes of your cat’s baffling behavior!



  1. We have a perplexing problem with one of our four cats. We will never consider re-homing him, but we are tired, tired, tired of washing bedding that he has peed on. We are a blended cat family and our ‘problem child’, 3 yr old Louis, was an ‘only cat’ prior to being combined with Bootstrap (9 yr old male), and 8 yr old twin sisters, Ash and Latte. We think is rebelling to his second class citizenship in the pack. He and Bootstrap are buddies in every sense. They romp and play together, Louis grooms Boot, and they sometimes nap together. The girls don’t want anything to do with him. Latte avoids him and hissed when he tries to engage her in any way. Ash HATES him and actively harasses him. He’s a pretty chill cat and always assumes the submissive stance when she attacks and rarely even hisses back at her when she attacks. The odd thing is, Louis eats first and is never challenged on this by Ash, so he’s the Alpha at the food bowls. We have four exactly similar litter boxes and keep them very clean (scoop at least once a day using deodorant, and change the litter entirely after the second scooping. I believe Louis doesn’t just doesn’t want to pee in the same box as the girls who hate him. We can’t figure out how to get him to go in tthe boxes.

  2. I have an almost 1 year old sphynx cat, he has been scratching the wall of his litter box since the first day we got him his closed litter box when he was about 2 months old.. we used to think he was just digging but caught him scratching the walls of the litter box, he does this almost every time he uses the litter box and it can last up to 15 minutes at a time.. it has been doing it less in time but still does it..
    also I need to mention that he does not scratch any furniture in the house, he does paw and hang on things or scratch the carpet for a few seconds when stretching but it is never scratching in order to sharpen his nails..
    so I do not believe this is a really “bad” behavior he just prefers sharpening his nails in the litter box for some reason.. we do interfere when he does it to much but we do not need to yell or tell him anything we just open the door and he walks out I think as long as he doesn’t think he is doing a bad thing but know when to stop or to step out we he is asked it is fine

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