There is nothing a cat dislikes more, than a dirty litter box. Cats like to stay clean. If their litter box is not kept clean, they may try to avoid it completely. It is important to clean the litter box as often as necessary, usually at least once a day. To cut down on dust, use a low dust cat litter. You may want to try several different brands over time to see which is best for you.
What is Cat Litter Boxes
Cats can be fussy about the cleanliness of their litter box. Many people scoop solid matter out on a daily basis. If a cat is displeased with the litter box for any reason, ranging from cleanliness to the type of litter used, it may well select another spot in your house more to its liking!
Litter boxes are shallow plastic pans. Some cats have a tendency to scatter litter outside the box when they bury their stool. This can be solved by getting a cover for the cat box, commonly available at pet stores or at shop online stores. Another way to minimize litter tracking is to put a rug, especially a soft rubber one, just outside the litter box.
For easier litter-changing, some owners will use litter box liners. Some cats rip these while burying their feces or cleaning there paws on the edge of the litter box; if the problem persists, just don’t use liners.
To contain litter tracked outside the box, it is often worthwhile to put the litter pan in a larger shallow cardboard box that will collect most of the litter stuck to the cat’s paw pads when it jumps out. Keep the area around the litter box as clean and free from spilled litter as you can. This helps the cat distinguish from outside and inside the litter box. Guess what can happen if this distinction is not clear!
If you have multiple cats you may have to put out several litter boxes. If you have a young cat and a large house, you will either need to place several litter boxes down so that there will be one near enough at any point or you will have to confine the young cat to an area of the house within easy reach of the litter box.
Disinfect the litter box and top (if any) on a regular basis to prevent illness and disease. Bleach is a good disinfectant around cats, although you should be sure to rinse thoroughly and air out all the fumes. Do NOT use pine-oil based cleaners as these are toxic to cats.
They also have electronic litter boxes that automatically scoop the urine and feces into a collection tray, which you dispose of once it’s full. You have to use a premium clumping litter with these. But you do not have to clean it very often, just replace litter as needed.
Toilets and Litter Boxes
It is possible to train a cat to use the toilet rather than a litter box. The cat must be well trained to the litter box first. Move the litter box into the bathroom next to the toilet. Little by little (2 inches every two days) raise the litter box until the bottom of the litter box is at the level of the toilet (seat down, lid raised). Then slowly move the litter box over to the top of the toilet. This accustoms the cat to jumping UP to the toilet to eliminate. When the cat is comfortable with this, cover the toilet (under the seat) with strong plastic wrap like Saran wrap and fill the middle with litter. Decrease the amount of litter until the cat is peeing into the plastic and then make a hole in the middle of the plastic so the cat gets used to the sound of urine and stool hitting the water. Sooner or later you eliminate the plastic. They also sell toilet seat litter trays that work the same way, that are easily removable so that humans can easily share the toilet.
Placement of Litter Box
Beyond making the litter box easily accessible to your cat, there is some consideration in placement. Utility closets that the cat can always access are useful. Laundry rooms work well, bathrooms less well (especially in guest bathrooms). One suggestion was to build a chest with an entrance at one end big enough to contain the cat box. The chest can be displayed like furniture and yet be discreet. If you can’t build a chest yourself, it should be relatively easy to saw an opening in the side of a pre-made chest. You can also purchase these online and perhaps at pet stores.
There are various kinds of litter available:
- Clumping. Urine forms hard clumps to be scooped away regularly. Instead of completely changing the litter, you only replace what is scooped out. There is also less odor since the source of odor is removed. The softer texture and smaller granules is easier on paws, and it is less expensive because less is used and discarded.
- Antibacterial. Stops the growth of odor causing bacteria present in cat feces.Charcoal:
Absorbs odors and locks them in to virtually eliminate odors. It is similar to how charcoal works in aquarium filters.
- Scented. Fragrance is used to cover up odors and make the living area more pleasant.Unscented:
Some additives in unscented litter, like charcoal, are added to unscented litters to virtually eliminate odors without the fragrance.
- No-Track/Lo-Track. Keeps cats from tracking litter all over the house.
- Flushable. Can be flushed down a toilet and is biodegradable.
- Paper. Paper litter looks and feels like regular clay litters, but is made with recycled paper, and is dust-free.
How Much Litter Should Be Used?
You should use enough litter in the pan to allow your cat to sufficiently cover any waste it leaves. Cats don’t like to feel the bottom of a litter pan when they’re burying their waste. Give your cat at least a 2-inch base of litter.
How Often Litter Should Be Changed?
Waste should be discarded from a litter box on a daily basis. This will keep odors and bacterial growth to a minimum. Most cats will not use a dirty litter box, and may resort to eliminating elsewhere. Use of the litter box will be encouraged if it is kept clean and free from waste.
There is also litter that is intended for multiple cat households. They come in both traditional clay and clumping forms.
Another way to control strong ammonia smells is to mix baking soda in with the litter.
When disposing of litter, it is best to wrap it up in two bags and tie securely, for the benefit of the garbage collectors. For disposal of solid matter, it is best to put it in the trash in a bag as well. Some people flush solid matter, but be aware that septic tanks will not do well with clay litter pieces (even the small amount clinging to scooped items). Clumping litter is supposed to be flushable, except with septic tanks.
Do not use kitty litter as a fertilizer in your garden. It is not a type of manure, since cats are not vegetarians and it should not be used as such. It can be incredibly stinky, can attract neighborhood cats, and there’s a chance that it would be unhealthy for your plants and for you (if you eat fruits/vegetables which were fertilized by it). Keep in mind that when an outdoor cat ‘uses’ your garden, it usually varies its poop-place and so there’s not a concentration of feces, whereas if you dump litter, it’s usually concentrated in a single spot.