5 SIMPLE LITTER BOX TIPS


Clean Your Litter Box Every Day

It can be time-consuming but cleaning your cat’s litter box regularly is a sure way to prevent odors and keep waste from building up. It also enables you to keep an eye on your pet’s health. Often times, irregular bathroom habits can be the first sign of illness. At least once weekly empty all the litter, clean the litter box itself, and refill with fresh litter. [1]


Location

It is ideal to have one or more boxes on each level of the home. Your cat naturally prefers to use a substance that can bury waste products, so kitty litter is automatically ideal for her. But if it’s not readily available, she may not take the time to go to a specific spot in the basement when she’s been sleeping on your guest bed on the second floor. Also, as cats get older and develop mobility issues, going up and down 3 flights of stairs may be too painful even if she never “limps” or cries in pain. [2]


Litter Box Size

In general, bigger is better and many litter boxes are too small. Litter boxes should be 1 ½ times the length of your cat from the nose to the base of the tail. The litter box needs to be large enough to allow your cat to enter, turn around, scratch, and eliminate. Suitable alternatives to a store bought litter box can include concrete mixing trays or storage containers. For older cats that need a low entry, you can cut down the side, but please remember to check for any sharp edges. Many cats do not like box liners or covers, but a shy cat may prefer a covered box. [3]


Wash Thoroughly

If you’re scooping at least once per day, then it will be far easier to clean the boxes when the time comes. Once per month, empty the litter from your cat’s boxes and scrub them thoroughly (it might go without saying, but be sure to wear gloves to protect yourself from any urine and fecal pathogens that can also infect humans).


Simply use soap and water to clean the boxes. The smell of bleach and other chemicals from harsh cleaners can cause your cat to avoid their box even after it’s clean. To finish up, dry the boxes and add fresh litter. [4]


Keep Food, Water and Litter Separated

Wild cats separate their bathroom sites from their eating and drinking sites to prevent bacteria from getting into their food and water. In fact, they prefer to drink away from their food, to make sure bacteria from their meal (like a dead bird) doesn’t mix with their water. So, separate your cat’s food, water and litter box locations to help prevent behavioral issues. However, if your kitty does go outside the box, one solution is to put their water and food bowls on top of the inappropriate spot. Making this location a spot to eat and drink can stop your cat from associating the spot with the bathroom — and therefore, stop them from returning there to pee. [5]


[1] Asher, Mark. "Owner-Friendly Tips For Setting Up, Cleaning, And Introducing Your Cat’s Litter Box." Pets Best, 4 October 2021, https://www.petsbest.com/blog/cat-litter-box-tips-tricks/


[2] Rubenstein, Dr. Dale. "Five Litter Box Tips from the Cat’s Point of View." A Cat Clinic, 4 October 2021, https://www.acatclinic.us/five-litter-box-tips/


[3] Rodan, Dr. Ilona. "Everything You Should Know About Litter Boxes." Cat Friendly Homes, 4 October 2021, https://catfriendly.com/everything-you-should-know-about-litter-boxes/


[4] Nicholas, Jason. "7 Ways to Reduce Litter Box Smell (and Messes)." Preventative Pet, 4 October 2021, https://www.preventivevet.com/cats/7-ways-to-reduce-litter-box-smell-and-messes


[5] Arm and Hammer Editorial Staff. "5 Litter Box Tips for Cat Behavioral Issues and Litter Problems." Arm and Hammer, 4 October 2021, https://www.armandhammer.com/articles/tips-getting-cat-use-litter-box