Tips for Cleaning Cat Litter

Cleaning cat litter is possibly the least pleasant chore cat owners perform. Here are some tips on how you can make this job as painless as possible.

Choose Your Litter Carefully

Not all litters are created equal. Non-clumping litters are usually the cheapest, but also offer the least in terms of hygiene, odor control and general cleanliness. Silica gel litter pearls are highly absorbent and bacteria resistant; they don't track, but they don't clump, either. Clumping clay litters offer the highest levels of odor control if lumps are removed daily; however, molds and bacterias can still grow in the box.

Natural and biodegradable cat litters offer varying levels of clumping ability, absorbency, and odor control.

Keep a Strict Schedule

No matter what litter you choose, you'll need to adhere to a strict cleaning schedule to minimize odor and the growth of molds and bacteria. Non-clumping litters must be changed weekly. Clumping litters, whether made from clay or from a biodegradable ingredient such as wheat, can be changed monthly.

Have the Proper Equipment

Here are some of the things you might want to have on hand before cleaning your cat's litter box:

  • fresh litter
  • litter pan liners
  • rubber gloves
  • spray cleaner
  • paper towels
  • bleach
  • hot water and soap
  • scrub brush

Use a Cat Pan Liner

Using a litter liner can greatly decrease the hassle of litter box cleaning. While your cat might poke a few holes in the plastic litter liner, chances are there will still be a lot less mess to scrub out of the box.

Wash the Box

When replacing cat litter, it's important to wash out the box with hot water and soap. Bleach may be used, but make sure all traces of cat urine have been rinsed away, as urine contains ammonia, and you don't want to mix ammonia and bleach!

Consider a Self-Cleaning Box

A self-cleaning litter box can remove a lot of the hassle from litter box cleaning. Most models on the market, such as the Litter Maid, remove lumps and solid waste into a separate receptacle; you can then dispose of cat droppings without even having to see them! Most automatic litter boxes work fine with any commercially available clumping clay litter. They come in varying price ranges with varying features, so you might want to shop around.