Do you have the best litter box for your feline companions but are still dealing with litter box mishaps? It may not entirely their fault! Are you maintaining it correctly and to the best interest of your pet? Sometimes, a little maintenance is the answer to your litter box woes!
Step-By-Step Breakdown of Maintaining Your Cat Litter Box
1. Importance of Cleaning a Litter Box
Cats have a sense of smell that is 14 times stronger than a human’s and they are known to dislike dirty, smelly litter boxes. You may think that you have the world’s best litter box for your kitty and it smells ok to you, but she may not agree – what smells reasonable to you might actually stink terribly for her, and she may then go looking for alternatives that may include your basket of folded laundry!
With a bit of maintenance though, a simple, plain option may fare better than the more expensive, self-cleaning litter boxes. A few things to keep in mind and voila! You have the best litter box for your pets!
Your choice of supplies should be guided by your pets! The same items may not always work for everyone, and if your cats do not like their litter box and associated items, they will make it clear to you! However, proper cleaning and maintenance will make sure that these problems are kept to a minimum.
Common items that you would need:
- The cat’s litter box
- A pail
- Cat litter
- Litter scoop
- Cleaning solution
- Paper towels/rags
3. Placing the Litter Box
Try and pick a spot that is comfortable for your pet and set up for maximum privacy. Unless your cat has shown a preference for a covered litter box, the best cat litter box to begin with is a plain, rectangular box that is of adequate size. Your cat should be able to move freely and comfortably inside it, without needing to hang out of it.
If you are in a smaller space, a corner of the bathroom, a balcony, a bedroom or any space that can be screened off with a curtain or a door that can provide some privacy should be enough. Do make sure the litter box is accessible and can be reached quickly and easily to encourage building the habit.
4. Let Your Cats Get Used to Their Litter Box
In general, cats own their space and are known to get excited and involved when cleaning time comes around! They will often gather around and watch you while you clean up. They are also known to be excited to use a clean litter box for the first time! Let them have their time and explore, and own their area before building it into a habit so they don’t miss the litter box when they are supposed to actually use it!
Now comes the less fun parts of owning a pet and cleaning up after it! With quality litter – urine clumps will become solid chunks which will allow your scoop sieve to retain only the clumps and throw back unused litter. Feces will also get completely coated with litter and hence will not stick to the scoop.
Scoops come in various sizes and shapes, make sure you get one with openings small enough to only let out the clean litter back into the litter box.
Litter boxes must be ideally cleaned at least twice a day, more if required. Fresh litter should be replaced in the box after scooping to keep it smelling fresh and clean.
Traditionally, dumping was done into a plastic trash or grocery bag and tied securely, and once finished, thrown out with the day’s trash.
These days you can find more accessories for pets that will make dumping and final disposal of much less trouble to you. Contraptions much like diaper pails for children are now available, which make the task lest cumbersome while also confining odors. However, if you don’t have the budget or the space, stick to the traditional ways of dumping which are just as effective.
7. Emptying and Cleaning Litter Box
At regular intervals, the litter box will need to be emptied out completely and cleaned out with a proper cleaning solution. If you are using clumping litter, regular cleaning up and scooping can delay this chore for up to a few weeks, but with non-clumping litter, the dirty litter will keep collecting at the bottom of the box and will need to emptied out sooner as the odor will become extremely strong and if you don’t like it, neither will your pets! With non-clumping litter you may even have to dump and wash the litter box every three to four days.
Dump the litter into a bag for discarding in the trash. Do not ever empty the entire contents into a toilet! Wash the litter box thoroughly with detergent and water, rinse out well and use a cleaning solution for an extra clean box and smell. It would be great if you can dry the box out in the sun for an hour, rinse again, and dry completely before replacing the litter.
Some Extras to Keep in Mind
Lining the cat litter box is an option that makes your cleaning job easier and less messy. However this is completely optional.
If you more than one pet consider having more than one litter box as well. If two are to share one box, make sure clean-up is even more frequent and diligent and the cat litter box is well-sized to accommodate both pets.
You may even want to place multiple litter boxes in different places, especially in a bigger space to ensure that your pet has a clean place at all times, available at more than one location.