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How To Look After A Litter Box To Function At Its Best

Being hit with ‘parfum de la litter’ when you open the front door is not a good thing. Keeping a litter box in tip top shape is about doing small things often to keep the box clean. It is then easy to maintain the level of cleanliness.

This article will explain how to look after a litter box properly.

In addition to good hygiene for your cat, having a clean litter box will prevent odors in your home and also encourage the cat to actually use the box.

How Big Should The Litter Box Be?

The size of the litter box does impact on how easy it is to keep the box and the surrounding area clean. The correct size will mean that less litter will be scattered outside the box.

Ideally the box should be approximately one and a half times longer than your cat. That measurement is taken from the nose to the base of the tail. It is an approximate measurement and a useful guide when purchasing a new litter box. That may seem like a long measurement but if you have the space definitely consider this when purchasing.

A cat needs space to turn around without feeling cramped. Bear in mind also that if you have a kitten now, you may need to get a bigger box as kitty grows.

looking after a litter box
We are all different sizes. Is my litter box the right size for me?

How Often Should The Litter Box Be Scooped?

Keep the cat litter box box clean by scooping at least once a day. Some people do scoop the litter box more often and this may be necessary if more than one cat is using the box or if you have multiple cats and boxes.

The weather also plays a part here, on hot humid days the smell may be more acute. You will be reminded by the odor that you that you need to scoop.

If you are using a standard cat litter box, scoop the clumped faeces and urine once a day and then disposing of the matter, in the trash preferably. Use a good quality scoop, you want to make this job as easy as possible so you need the best equipment.

If you are using a standard sized litter box that means scooping the clumped faeces and urine once a day and dispose of the matter, in the trash preferably. Use a good quality cat litter scoop. To make this job as easy as possible, you need the best equipment.

Once cats stop using the litter box it can be very difficult to coax them back to the box. This is a very good reason to keep the box clean.

how to look after a litter box
Scoop the solids regularly and it will be a quick job. Use the best scoop for the type of litter used.

Can Cat Litter Be Flushed Down The Toilet?

This can be a somewhat controversial topic. There are some litters that are marketed as flushable. Be cautious! Clay litters are definitely not suitable for flushing as they contain bentonite clay which will go rock hard in water, so definitely not good for the plumbing system.

Don’t leave the litter box in the shower stall while you are at work, even though it may seem like a good idea. Many a plumber has picked up extra work from unblocking drains clogged with litter debris.

It should be noted that even products marketed as flushable can clog the plumbing if more than 1 or 2 clumps are flushed at a time.

If there was a fail-safe method it would be excellent but for now using cat litter bags and then disposing of them in an outside garbage bin is the best option. This will then go to landfill which is designed to safely handle these products.

Dirty diapers fall into the same category. Also, check the regulations where you live. The State of California does not allow cat litter to be flushed.

Can I Compost Cat Waste?

Cat waste cannot be composted safely and this applies to all pet waste. Home composting systems rarely reach temperatures high enough needed to get rid of dangerous pathogens.

It is not worth risking the health of others by adding cat feces to the compost pile.

The bacteria can live on in the soil for a number of years even if the waste appeared composted before using in the garden.

Love composting but not cat litter

What Is The Danger In Cleaning The Cat Litter Box To Pregnant Women?

There is a small risk of exposure to Toxoplasmosis from the cat litter.

This article explains the precautions to take if you are pregnant and have a cat.

It is mainly common-sense but there’s some good points to note.

How To Dispose Of Cat Litter?

Cat litter bags are biodegradable and do break down over time. Check the information from the manufacturer as this will vary from product to product. The bags are usually in boxes which look similar to a box of tissues which makes it very easy to pick up a bag before scooping the litter.

You may be using cat litter liners in the litter box. They are useful when it is time to dispose of all the cat litter and start afresh.

If you are not using cat litter liners in the litter box, pour the soiled litter into a plastic bag, tie at the top and dispose of in the trash.

Some litter is very heavy and two plastic bags may be needed. I hesitate to write the word plastic these days. Biodegradable bags are the best choice if you have that option.

Do I Need A Cat Litter Scoop?

Yes, you will need a cat litter scoop to scoop the litter box. They all do the same job however the design features and sizes vary. Cat litter scoops are usually plastic or stainless steel.

Stainless steel will be longer lasting but may cost more initially, so the choice of materials may affect the cost of the scoop. This article reviews different types of cat litter scoops including cat litter scoops with short handles and long handles. A long handled litter scoop will be useful for people with mobility problems. The litter box can still be scooped without having to bend to over to reach the box.

You may try several before you find one that works for your purposes.

They are relatively inexpensive items so don’t put up with one that isn’t doing the job properly.

Kitty Litter is going everywhere
This box is too small for me!

What Do You Use To Clean The Litter Box?

Use an unscented soap product to clean the cat litter box. If the soap/cleaner you use to clean the box is perfumed make sure the box is rinsed thoroughly so that there is no residual smell for the cat. A cat’s sense of smell is far more acute than ours.

If possible leave the box outdoors to air and dry. Make sure the box is absolutely dry before adding the new litter.

You can also buy a cat litter deodorizer however be wary or any fragrances that may end up annoying you and the cat. A masking odor can become cloying.

How To Clean A Litter Box

  1. Firstly, dispose of the litter in the normal way.

  2. Wearing rubber gloves if desired, thoroughly wash the cat litter box in hot water with an unscented soap or liquid detergent. Avoid using any chemical products that may contain bleach. Bleach has a powerful odor.
    Don’t forget to wash around the edges or the lip of the box and on the side of the box. Ideally wash the box in the laundry area or outside if that is an option.

  3. Make sure that the box is rinsed thoroughly as any residual perfume from the detergent may be a game changer for kitty. Cats are sensitive to changes in fragrance and perfume.

  4. Leave to air dry or use an old towel to help the drying process along.

  5. Ensure the box is totally dry before adding the fresh litter.
how to look after a litter box
I’ll just wait a bit longer before I check the litter box for cleanliness. Time for a nap!

Where Should The Litter Box Be Located?

The cat litter box should preferably be located, away from food and away from water. If space is limited just bear this in mind and do the best you can.

Outside cats will always prefer to go to someone else’s yard to poop because their primal instincts are to deter predators. No matter how much we adapt to modern life, those instincts are still there.

Keeping this ancestral behavior in mind, your cat needs to be able to escape from the litter box, if he senses a threat or danger. Don’t poke the box into a confined space.

Of course you may not have huge open expanses but consider that wherever the box is placed, your cat needs to know that he can zip out at a moment’s notice.

If you are short of space consider a partition or screen to segregate a living area from a litter box area. Both can coexist, it just takes a little creative thinking.

Cat litter box furniture is amazing these days. The litter box can be totally disguised and actually look great in your home.

As cats are basically scaredy cats, try not to place the box where there might be unexpected loud noises, for example a thoroughfare.

If possible, locate the box where these is some ventilation.

An open window and fresh air will work wonders for keeping down any odor.

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Should I Use A Litter Box Liner?

Liners make it easy to dispose of the litter when the box is being washed. Some liners have elastic at the top to keep the litter bag in place. Sometimes kitty scratching about in the litter can pull the bag back into the box.

If there is not enough litter in the box and the cat is scratching at plastic – this is not good.

Cat feces can get stuck to the plastic and make scooping difficult. If you do use a liner and many people do just make sure the litter is topped up to avoid the cat scratching the plastic problem.

In fact, after scooping it will almost always be necessary to top up the litter.

How Much Litter Should I Use?

Be generous, too shallow and litter will fly everywhere as the cat may get quite frantic trying to bury her business.

The litter should be about 3 inches deep (around 7 cm)

Use unscented litter where possible. The scent is really for humans and quite honestly if the box is scooped daily there should not be a pong problem. Everyone’s pong o meter is different but regular scooping is definitely the key to success.

Recently there have been variants on scented litter that are not as overpowering plus many litters now are odor controlling even without an added fragrance.

In Conclusion…

Although there may seem like a lot of dos and dont’s when it comes to looking after a litter box, it does become second nature.

How to clean a litter box is quite straightforward but does require a routine to keep it in tip top shape. Try nominating a day of the week for a good clean of the box. It will make it easier to remember when the box was last cleaned.

Decide on a cleaning schedule that suits you. Many people clean the litter box on the weekend as this is convenient however midweek would be fine if the weekend is too busy.

The main thing is to plan a schedule and stick to it. An ad hoc approach is more likely to lead to problems as it becomes difficult to remember when the litter box was last cleaned.

A dirty litter box will put kitty off and may result in litter box refusal. It is worth spending the time to keep the litter box smelling fresh as a daisy.

how to look after a litter box
I can’t think of a thing to add. Rebecca has nailed it!

More Litter Box Help

Is Cat Litter Going Everywhere? This is a common problem. Read this article for solutions to the litter spread.

What Is The Best Vacuum For Cat Litter? This article will help you choose the best vacuum for cat litter.

Is Your Cat Pooping Anywhere And Everywhere? Read why cats poop in random places and how you can put a stop to this problem behavior.

Have You Tried Cat Litter Liners With Elastic? Elastic cat litter liners can save a lot of time keeping the litter box clean.

And Now For The Big Question… Where Is Kitty?

Cats have a habit of disappearing. I can't count the number of times that we asked these questions. Where is the cat? Has anyone see the cat recently? What is he doing? Do you think the cat is stuck somewhere? Maybe the cat is at someone else's house? Is he living a dual life? Is he going to come back?

It is really easy now to keep tabs on kitty. Take a look at Tabcats. There's no escaping now kitty.

Tabcat Pet Tracker

A great gift for a friend who loves black cats, or for yourself is a black cat coffee mug. Look at these beauties!