Cat Litter Box Cleaning and Maintenance

Cats are often very picky about the cat litter box so proper cleaning and maintenance are important. If you don't properly maintain your cat's litter box, he may begin to relieve himself elsewhere.

Proper Location for Cat Litter Box

Location of the litter boxes can be very important to your cat. Find a place that is easy to access but quiet, safe from loud noises that might scare your cat. For example, if your cat is frightened by the dryer, that's not a good location for the litter box. If the litter box is too far away or requires work to get there, the cat may find another place to go. Finally, don't place it too close to food and water dishes.

There should also be enough litter boxes for the number of cats living in the home. There should be at least one litter box per cat, which will reduce waste buildup or territorial problems that may prevent cats from utilizing the box.

Litter boxes should be large enough for your cat to turn around fully. Some cats don't like covered boxes because they feel too confining. If your cat seems nervous, take the top off the litter box. If your cat likes to dig, add an additional inch or two of litter for burying.

Choosing Cat Litter Box Litter

There are many varieties of cat litter available, but the kind you choose will ultimately depend on your cat. Cats are often deterred by scented litter, which can be very aversive. There are also different consistencies of the litter, some of which your cat may find aversive.

Biodegradable cat litters include plant products, wood chips and paper. While these are better for the environment, they need to be changed more often or they will begin to smell. Silica pellets are the newest biodegradable option, consisting of pellets that don't require scooping because they absorb liquid. When pellets turn yellow, they need to be replaced.

Traditional litter consists of clumping and non-clumping clay. Non-clumping is easier to use because it makes urine clumps easy to use. It also requires fewer litter box cleanings.

Proper Cleaning of the Litter Box

Your cat's litter box needs to be cleaned daily to remove solids and urine clumps. Depending on the number of cats using one litter box, it may need to be cleaned twice per day to maintain proper cleanliness.

In addition, litter boxes need to be completely cleaned at least once per month. At this time, litter needs to be completely replaced. If you use a non-clumping or biodegradable litter, you will need to do this more frequently. Clean the litter box thoroughly with soap and water. The entire box will need to be replaced when the smell can no longer be removed.

If your cat suddenly stops using the litter box, this may indicate that it's time to clean or replace the litter box. If that doesn't help, try changing the location or litter. Your cat may have been frightened while using the box and needs a change to feel comfortable using it again.

Providing your cat with a safe, clean place to eliminate is one of the most important responsibilities you have to your cat. Try to find a reasonable cleaning schedule and stick to it.