Litter Box Tantrums

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Jul 26, 2017
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So Miss Nibbles is now getting into wanting to dig out all her litter in her box and throw is all over her cage! I had to tie down her litter box so she wouldn't tip it over, but she now digs it out! Its not like its dirty for long times. I clean it out and change it twice a day as she poops and pees in it all the time! I rarely see poop pellets anywhere else in her kennel/cage anymore.

Any suggestions to get her to stop this or is this just an instinct thing for them to just dig!?
she may simply be bored or be a rabbit who really likes to dig. Can you give her other options? OR put a grating over her litter so she can't dig it out?
It is instinct and can also be from boredom like ladysown mentioned, but it's not something that I wanted happening either, so I constructed a screen to cover the litter to prevent future digging. Some people use hard metal screens, but I wanted to use something soft on my rabbits feet, so I made soft screens using pet window screen and plastic edging. Has worked out great for my rabbits. I put hay in a hay rack over the litter box, so each day I sweep out the old peed on hay and poop right off the top of the screen, and put fresh hay in their hay rack. It's nice because it keeps the hay and poop separated from the litter. If you are interested in trying to make one I wrote out all the instructions in this old thread.

I also provide a dig box so they can let out their digging instincts. I use cardboard boxes with entry and exit holes cut in, and with layers of newspaper in the bottom. I also rip up a few sheets of newspaper, crumple up the pieces, and put them in the box to get the buns started on their ripping and digging. They will start ripping up the sheets of newspaper lining the bottom on their own, and get a good pile going that they can then start digging through. You do have to keep an eye on it as they tend to pee in there as well, so I have to change everything out on occasion. Though if you have a rabbit that likes to actually ingest newspaper, then this probably wouldn't be a good idea.
Sounds like boredom to me too. Can you construct a multilevel cage so she has more room? Then add more toys? Is she on a schedule so she knows what time play time is ( when she's allowed out of her cage?)
My buck does digs his litterbox in phases -- he'll do it for a week, then stop. It's not the whole box, though.

I tried the screen, but neither will use the litterbox if the screen's in it. It's rather humorous: he'll hop in, get a very startled look in his eyes, then bounce out and sit nearby looking perplexed.

A suitably large and/or high-sides litterbox might help if you don't have one of those (which is probably what Blue Eyes was inquiring about).
Aki does it... mainly when I just cleaned up everything. Seriously, she almost never digs into the litterbox except when I swept everything up and emptied the box to put fresh litter in it. So it's not linked to the box being dirty... I use small wood pellets and it flows EVERYWHERE. She loves to dig the bottom of cardboard boxes and cisal mats too. Them being a lot less messy, I make sure she always has a supply of those things and I often can hear her digging like a maniac during the day XD. For a female rabbit it's normal to dig and to do that thing which looks like ironing with her front paws - they are 'traditionnally' in charge of building the burrow, so like cutting everything which resembles a root (electrical cords, threads...) which comes with the 'maintenance' aspect of the burrow, it's deeply rooted in their instinctive behavior. Of course, some rabbits are more in touch with their wild side than others. Aki has all of the textbook behaviors of her ancestors, but she was born in a real burrow in a garden which housed a big community of barely domesticated rabbits so it's not very surprising...
A suitably large and/or high-sides litterbox might help if you don't have one of those (which is probably what Blue Eyes was inquiring about).

I have one of those corner style litter boxes from the Pet Store.

I have a multi level kennel for her. Her toys are both on top and bottom.

Yes she knows the times that she gets out of her cage to run and play. Tonight while I was watching tv (her kennel is in the living room), she tried to dig out her litter, then chew on the cords that are keeping the top level secure, and then anything else she can figure out to destroy LOL... sigh..... I have to get the top of the litter box back.. the plastic part to see if she won't dig. I will look for more digging toy ideas for her to help with possible boredom.

Thanks for all your suggestions! Truly appreciate them!

I agree. The corner litter boxes are just too small and seem to frustrate some rabbits. They like to have plenty of space to potty (and even lounge) in their box.

Wal-mart storage containers can make cheap litter boxes. Lower sided ones that are about 16" x 23" are a good size. Having a larger box also means they last longer (don't need to be cleaned out as often).

For persistent diggers, one can also try a higher sides storage box with an opening cut out.


For a female rabbit it's normal to dig and to do that thing which looks like ironing with her front paws

For what it's worth, our male rabbit does the "pushing" thing too! It is quite amusing to see ... we figured that he was just very creative and having fun. ;)

We just filled up a small digging box with landscaping sand - he LOVES it! Clearly he was missing this in his life ...

I will post some pictures of our bun in his soon-to-be-replaced-for-a-larger-model digging box.

If you are having issues with your rabbit digging in the litter box, I would encourage you to make a digging box for her or him, they will love it! And as Ladysown and JBun and others said, it may satiate that craving that rabbits instinctually have to dig.

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