01 of 09
The Importance of Litter Box Maintenance
Poor litter box maintenance is often the cause of litter box mishaps. Cats hate dirty litter boxes and may be driven to search for substitutes, whether that's a corner of the carpet or a basket of clean laundry in the closet. Your cat's sense of smell is 14 times stronger than yours, so a litter box that smells reasonably clean to you may outright stink to your cat.
While automated litter boxes are gaining popularity, their prices are prohibitive to many cat owners. Most cats tend to prefer the standard litter boxes.Continue to 2 of 9 below.
02 of 09
Preparing to Clean Your Litter Box
The rule of thumb is that a household should provide one litter box for each cat resident plus one extra. Any variance should be on the plus side, i.e., we have seven boxes for four cats.
If you have more than three litter boxes, you'll probably find yourself running out of logical places for them. A "Litter Station" with two or three boxes side-by-side will accommodate more than one cat at a time (as long as they cats tolerate it), and will also make scooping and clean up a bit more convenient.Continue to 3 of 9 below.
03 of 09
What You Need
Deciding which litter box products and cleaning to use is a very personal choice, and the "one size fits all" rule rarely applies. The important factor always is to let your cat(s) be the guide. If they are not happy with your litter boxes and accessory products, they'll let you know in no uncertain terms.Continue to 4 of 9 below.
04 of 09
Select and Place the Box
The box should be placed for maximum privacy, away from noisy appliances, and with an easy escape route in case you have a cat who likes to bully other cats. Being trapped in the litter box will surely lead to litter box avoidance by the victimized cat.
Unless your cat has a preference for covered boxes or the box is in an area where you'd like to keep it inconspicuous, such as the kitchen, the best box to start with is a plain rectangular box.
Make sure the box is large enough that your cat can move around in it comfortably, with no overhang.Continue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09
Line the Litter Box or Not
The use of litter box liners is a personal preference. They are convenient for tidy disposal of used litter when it is time to empty and wash the box. Liners are a definite advantage when using non-scooping litter because they contain the excess urine that seems to pool, which is the reason most non-scooping litter must be changed frequently.Continue to 6 of 9 below.
06 of 09
Pour In the Cat Litter
Most cat litter manufacturers recommend using 2 to 3 inches of litter. You may want to use 3 to 4 inches of litter if your cats are deep scratchers that dig all the way to the bottom of the litter box if you use less. Start with two inches and experiment until you find the ideal depth for your cat.
The World's Best Cat Litter is a good choice. It is a clumping litter, so you don't need a pan liner. After filling the litter box, give the litter a final leveling off so the cats have a nice, smooth surface to dig in.Continue to 7 of 9 below.
07 of 09
Time to Scoop
With clumping litter, scooping is easy because urine clumps into fairly solid chunks which can be scooped out while sifting the clean litter back into the box. Poop gets coated with the litter so that it doesn't stick to the scoop.
The litter box should be scooped a minimum of twice daily, more often if needed. You may need to add fresh litter after scooping to replace the amount that was lost.Continue to 8 of 9 below.
08 of 09
Litter Locker: Dump the Scoopings
With the Litter Genie, scooping as well as disposal of litter is much easier. You just insert the roll of plastic bagging material inside the Genie, tie a knot at the end of it, secure it to a wheel, and turn a handle a half turn. Then open the top and drop in all the scoopings. Turn the handle again, and the waste is safely hidden at the bottom of the Litter Locker. On garbage day, just remove the bag and contents and discard in the garbage can. It's a pretty neat litter box accessory, and it really does keep all the odors confined inside.Continue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09
Empty and Wash the Litter Box
Regular scooping and replacing will keep the litter box smelling fresh and clean for a while if you are using clumping litter. Eventually, the ecology of the box will break down and you'll need to empty and clean it thoroughly. Depending on the type of litter you use, this may be as often as every week or as long as every four or five weeks.
Non-clumping litter will have to be emptied and washed much more often, primarily because the urine will collect at the bottom of the box, and the odor will become very strong very quickly.
Empty the used litter into a sturdy plastic bag and tie securely before discarding it in the trash. Note that although some natural litters are flushable, the entire contents of a litter box should never be dumped into the toilet.
Next, wash the box thoroughly with detergent and hot water. Rinse completely, then spray inside and out with a mild bleach solution, about 1 cup bleach to 1 gallon of water. If it's sunny, let the box dry outside for an hour. Rinse again thoroughly, then dry with paper towels.
If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know the pet's health history, and can make the best recommendations for your pet.