It’s not something you may think too much about as you welcome a new cat into your home, but it’s something that’s very important to your feline friend: A well-maintained litterbox is essential to their wellbeing.
Ultimately, your cat always desires a safe place to do their business and as a pet parent, it’s your responsibility to ensure you create this space to keep them healthy and happy.
In this blog, you will discover 99.9% of everything you need to know about setting up your cat’s litter box.
What is a Cat Litter Box?
A litter box, sometimes also called a sand tray or cat pan is the place where your pet will use the restroom. The litter is the material that goes inside the tray to control odors, absorb the urine and even clump their feces.
You don’t have to stress out too much about getting your cat to use the box as with minimal training, they’ll instinctively use it.
If you’re curious about where the idea of a cat litter came from, here’s a quick history lesson for you:
Back in the late 1940s, Edward Lowe developed what he called "kitty litter." A neighbor needed sand for her "litter box." Lowe gave her tiny chunks of clay that he was using to absorb oil and grease. It worked so well that the word eventually spread throughout the world.
Why It's Essential For Every Cat
A litter box is essential for every cat but it’s important to note that not all set-ups are equal. If you get it wrong, you may find them using your floor as their new bathroom.
Additionally, you must make it a priority to keep it clean. Cats are clean freaks and a dirty litter box will deter them from using it; they are very particular about where they use the restroom.
Here are a few reasons why the type of cat litter and set-up is essential to their happiness.
The texture of the material used in the box matters! If they don't like it, it will be rejected. They enjoy digging their little paws in the litter and so, they become stressed when it is too rough to the touch. If they’re not fond of the texture, they'll relieve themselves somewhere else.
Believe it or not, your furry friend actually doesn’t like it when there is too much waste in their box. The smell is often a bother for them.
Do your best to place it somewhere where the smell is contained but also, ensure you use litters that mask odors as much as possible. Both you and your pet will be much more comfortable.
Cats are interesting animals, and they often have distinct personalities that also impact their acceptance of a litter box set-up. If you’ve got a new kitty in your household, expect a bit of a trial and error before you get it right.
Nevertheless, one rule you must never forget is to always keep the litter box clean!
How To Choose The Best Tray For Your Cat + The Right Litter
Now you know; cats are extremely choosy when it comes to their bathroom experience. They are even particular about their actual type of litter tray. Usually, the best choice is a large, plastic box. Ensure it is long and wide enough for your cat's comfort.
Some pet parents prefer to go with covered ones because of the odor control power that comes with them. However, the only caveat is that it must be scooped out at least once daily. Trapped odors will definitely irritate any sweet feline.
Type Of Cat Litter
When you’re heading to the grocery or pet store, be prepared to see a variety of litter materials. However, keep in mind that the cat litter you choose will be solely based on the preferences of your cat and your home.
Here are some of your choices:
Clay cat litter is great at absorbing liquid. The only problem is that it becomes solid quickly and will pose a challenge to absorbing your cat's urine after a couple of bathroom breaks. Because this type of litter hardens, it's also not the easiest kind to scoop and clean.
Additionally, if you aren't on top of cleaning your feline’s box, the odor will be an issue. If you choose to go with this clay, it’s mandatory that you empty the entire box each week.
Crystallized cat litters are formed from silica gel. These are great for absorbing urine and perfect for controlling smells. If your cat doesn’t like the texture of clay, then this can be a worthy alternative. The benefit is that this type of litter tends to produce less dust than others.
Some people fear their sweet feline may ingest the crystals. However, this would only be an issue if your kitty decided to eat large amounts of it. Don't worry, they're pretty particular with their food, so this shouldn't be a problem.
Bio-degradable cat litters are the perfect choice for a pet owner who is more ecologically-friendly. The ones that fall within this category are made from plant materials like soybeans, wheat, corn, and pine. They may also be made from recycled paper.
This type of litter won't pile up in your trash can or pollute landfills.
How Much Litter To Use
The amount of litter you put in the litter box is usually left up to your cat. Depending on their digging habits and your scooping routine, you’ll eventually figure out the adequate amount for them.
Most cats do well with one or two inches of litter. However, if you don't intend to change the litter as often, go with two to three inches of litter.
Another question, some pet parents have is how often you should change the litter. Similar to the type of litter material, it’s all based on your cat’s preferences. However, the general rule is every 2 to 3 days.
If your cat refuses to use the litter when one piece of feces is in it, this may be a good indicator that you ought to scoop and clean daily.
Where to Put Your Cat’s Litter Boxes
Yes! We said boxes as in plural.
It's recommended that you have two boxes for even one cat. Your finicky feline loves to have options when it comes to their potty breaks. However, where you place them is important.
Take into consideration the following:
Ease of access - Position the litter boxes where your pet can get to them easily. They don't want to maneuver through a lot of things to get to their bathroom.
Isolate - Don’t line up your boxes in one room either. Place them in separate areas.
Good circulation – Ensure you put them in an aerated room with lots of good circulation. This will aid with controlling the stench of feces and urine.
Basic Cat Litter Maintenance Routine
Keeping your litter box clean isn't difficult if you follow a basic routine.
If you’re a new pet parent, you should get the following items together:
- Garbage Bag - Litter - Scrubber - Vinegar - Water - Paper Towels
Instructions for good care
1. Scoop or dump your old kitty litter into the garbage bag. You don't want to put this bag in your regular indoor trash and so, you should set it aside to take it out later.
2. Wash out the box with soap and warm water. When finished, use a paper towel or rag to wipe it out.
3. Never pour cat litter down a drain or else you’ll end up with clogged pipes.
4. Do your best to sanitize the box often with vinegar and warm water.
5. After you're done, dry out the litter box and pour in your fresh litter.
It cannot be stressed enough, how important it is to keep your cat’s litter box clean. Poor maintenance can lead to your pet experiencing a number of health problems, for example, urinary tract infections, and other kidney issues.
It's not difficult to set up the perfect restroom for your feline friend. Once you have the litter in place, it's time to introduce your cat to its box. This might not be a glamorous part of owning a cat, but it's essential to their well-being.
Stay on top of cleaning it and you’ll be sure to keep them purring with pleasure. They'll reward you with lots of snuggles and wet kisses.
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