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Matthew Sisk: Kitten may play in litter box for now
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Leia returns for her four-week check-in while I’m away on vacation.

When I return from my sojourn, her chart is on my desk. Turns out the owners just wanted to make sure I saw she’s still growing. But also that she likes the litter box.

This is important, as Leia’s household is populated by only one cat. Sometimes that translates to difficulty in litter-box training. Luckily for the family, Leia, like many kittens, is a natural. No potty role model needed.

However, Leia is a multitasker. She likes the litter box for using the bathroom. She also likes it for sleeping and hanging out and partying from time to time. That means litter gets slung hither and thither. It’s messy.

Since Leia was doing well, she did not receive an exam at check-in. Instead, she was weighed and dewormed.

But the owners wanted to pick my brain regarding how concerned the litter-tossing should make them. When I call them, they report the mess as very small. They’re just worried as she grows, her messes will as well.

Logically, this is a risk. However, most kittens are relatively small compared to a full-sized litter box. Thus, it’s possible to have one corner be for potting, one corner for sleeping and two more corners for entertaining.

As the kitten grows, however, it becomes increasingly difficult to subdivide the litter box. Eventually, the litter box becomes only a bathroom. Some cats still like to doze in them for some reason, but generally, the messy play behavior fades with age.

Leia’s family breathes a sigh of relief, and thanks me for the information.

By the way, they forgot to tell us at the check-in that the day after her second deworming, she passed several “spaghetti” worms. She acts fine, but it was striking.

Those worms are likely roundworms, and Leia likely got them from her home environment somehow. They can be passed through milk from a mother, but Leia never nursed. Thus, future deworming will be essential.

Matthew Sisk is a practicing veterinarian from Habersham County. Have questions about your pet? He can be reached at

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