I am the proud Dad to Chloe the cat. She really appreciates that I know how to clean a litter box
A cat can make a great addition to home and can really become part of the family. They can be fun, playful and affectionate, a real treat to have around the home. When it comes to a cat's hygiene, they take it very seriously, but they can't clean a litter box by themselves. They can, however, be seen daily giving themselves a thorough bath as they use their tongue that mother nature designed as the perfect cleaning utensil for their fur.
When bringing a cat into your home to live as a welcomed family member, it does, unfortunately, come with certain duties to be diligently taken care of.To clean a litter box is one of the duties that many humans do not do very well or clean regularly enough. When a pet's owner is not attentive enough, that is when you will have odor issues. No one likes a funky smelling litter box, nevermind having your home smelling like you have 30 cats when you only have one. Your feline housemate does not come with a manual or have instructions on how to keep the litter box in pristine condition. There are no 10 commandments of litter box maintenance, but there are some things you can do to keep your neighbors calling animal control on you due to the tainted bouquet creeping through your neighborhood. Your pet will also be much more appreciative and may stop pooping in the soil of your houseplants if the litter box is more pleasing to their sensitive noses.
To keep your litter box in a more day-to-day pristine status, there are some things you can do to make this happen. It's more than just grabbing a cardboard box, tossing litter in and hoping the cat will learn how to operate a shovel and handle it themselves.
There are cleaning schedules, litter box styles, types of litter and cleaning techniques to consider depending on if you have one cat or multiple. This guide will give you some general guidelines and you will have to adjust accordingly.
Types of Litter Boxes
As for the type of litter box you choose, depends mostly on your cat's preference, their size, how many cats will be using it and how messy are their litter box habits.
If you have multiple cats, the recommended setup is to have one box per feline and one extra. For example, if you have 4 cats, you should have a total of 5 litter boxes. It is always a good idea to spread the litter boxes all over your house, in different rooms or on different floors. This gives your little kitties options.
Always keep litter boxes easily accessible. If you have them in an area that has a door, always keep the door open. Cats do like some privacy, so keep the box in an area that does not see a lot of human or other pet foot traffic.
Placement of the box:
- Do NOT put the litter box near a furnace, water heater, washer, and dryer or any other appliances- The heat may increase the odor and cats prefer quiet areas
- Do NOT place litter box near the cat's food or water bowls, cats do not like this
- Do NOT close off litter box making it unaccessible
- DO place litter box in a secluded area
- DO place boxes in different areas around the house
- DO remember to make the boxes easily accessible for you too, you need to get to it daily
Type of Litter
The type of litter you use is not as important to your cat as it is to you. Cats will generally use anything you put in the box, it is designed mostly for humans comfort, but do not be surprised if your cat does have a favorite one. Your cat does, however, it to be as clean as possible, more on that later and they will let you know.
There are many choices when it comes to types of cat litter.
- Clumping and non-clumping clay
- Silica gel crystals
- Recycled paper
- Walnut shells
- Scented or unscented
There are a lot of great cat litter's on the market and all the choices can be quite a bit overwhelming. When it comes to taking care of a part your family, their health is of uttermost importance. To keep your feline friend healthy it is suggested not to skimp on food and litter, but when it comes to the litter, it does not mean you have go broke picking a good and healthy litter.
Here is a list of some of the better options out there:
- World's Best Cat Litter- Tops most 'Best of' lists
- Precious Cat Ultra Premium Clumping Cat Litter
- Arm & Hammer Clump $ Seal Litter
- Dr. Elsey's Cat Attract Cat Litter- Best budget choice
- Feline Pine Cat Litter- A great budget choice
- Cat's Pride Fresh and Light Ultimate Care Premium Unscented Hypoallergenic Multi-Cat Scoop Later- A bit pricey, but easily the best multi-cat litter
Scooping and Washing
- Scoop two times per day
- A slotted scoop works best
- When scooping, do not be too rough, the clumps might break apart
- Leftover plastic grocery bags work well for disposal
- Add litter if running low in between cleanings
Box deep cleaning every 1 to 2 weeks(The calendar or task app on your phone works well as a reminder):
- Use rubber gloves and mask
- Empty litter box completely and dispose of litter responsibly
- Wash the litter box with mild dish soap(NO harsh chemicals) and scrubbing brush and then repeat and then rinse thoroughly
- Using your bathtub, sink or outside with the hose works well
- After cleaning dry thoroughly
- Pour in clean cat litter, and it's ready for your kitties
Some tips to help your litter box fresh and odorless in between washing:
- Scoop twice per day and more if needed
- Use litter box liners
- Sprinkle baking soda in the bottom below the litter
- Use scented cat litter(Some cats will NOT like scented litter, this is hit or miss)
- Add fresh litter periodically
- Keep litter box in a well-ventilated location
If Your Cat is Not Using the Litter Box
If your cat is not using the litter box it can just be a hint that it needs to be scooped or cleaned.
If that was not the issue and you can see no other reason and you see him or her doing its business in other locations like a house plant or in the corner of a room. This is usually a clue that something more is going on with your cat and must be dealt with immediately. This could be a sign of a urinary tract infection or UTI. When a cat has a UTI, they feel pain when they urinate. So when the infection first starts and your cat feels uncomfortable going pee in the litter box, it will associate the litter box with pain will cause him or her to go other places.
When we share our home, our lives and our love with a furry little mouse chasers, we take a huge responsibility. They count on us humans for food, care, and safety. This responsibility should not be taken lightly and when taken seriously it can not only make our cat happy and healthy but over time it can keep vet bills lower. More money in our wallets will, in turn, keep us humans happy too.
Jim Laughlin (author) from Connecticut on October 22, 2013:
Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate you taking the time to read and forward my article. Have a beautiful day!
passionate77 on October 22, 2013:
oh very nice article, i got many tips, would definitely love to try them dealing with my bro's cat, he is so fond of keeping pets, would refer this post to him, thanks for sharing dear, stay blessed always!
Jim Laughlin (author) from Connecticut on May 12, 2013:
Thanks for the feedback. An unattended litter box is no fun, we keep ours right in my office and we scoop as needed.
Mary Craig from New York on May 12, 2013:
Good hub about a subject many struggle with. We had a cat for 16 years and many of my friends never knew because she kept out of sight when people came. I agree with everything you say and think lots of people will find it useful.
Voted up and useful.