This article is adapted from a more in-depth guide from our friends at cleanpetclub.com on best practices for litter box management.
Which litter box is best?
When choosing a litter box, it should be at least one and a half times the cat’s length from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail and wide enough for them to turn round comfortably. Look for low sides if your cat is frail or has mobility issues such as arthritis
Self-cleaning litter boxes may sound marvellous to a busy owner, but they can terrify a cat with the movement and noise they produce. Heavy-duty plastics without texture are easy to clean and sturdy enough to stay in good shape, or if you prefer biodegradable materials, consider eco-friendly alternatives such as Beco’s Eco cat litter tray.
Covered boxes can stop litter from being scattered far and wide but leave cats in multi-cat groups concerned they could be cornered. As to how many, there will ideally be one more litter box than you have cats; for example, a household with two cats needs three boxes.
What cat litter should you choose?
A fine sand-like, unscented litter would probably be most cats’ preference, being closest to their choice of a surface outdoors. Clumping litters make daily cleaning easy, and there are biodegradable options too. While artificial deodorizers and scented liners may be ideal for your nose, they are very definitely not pleasing to your cat. Whichever you choose, fill the box with at least 3cm of litter.
Where should you put a cat litter box?
Positioning boxes wisely and well helps your cat to feel secure and encourages successful use.
Many problems come from inappropriate locations that might be convenient for us but don’t suit the cat.
Consider your house layout carefully from a cat’s eye view.
Aim to position your boxes:
Where your cat chooses to sleep should be seen as their core territory. For their comfort, they need food and water to be placed, separately and some distance from this, with litter boxes still further away.
How do you clean a litter box?
Solid waste and urine-soaked or clumped litter should be scooped out twice a day, topping up with clean litter to previous levels. Weekly, throw out all the litter and wash the box with hot water and a mild, unscented detergent – the smell of strong detergents and bleach are a big turn-off for cats.
Why isn’t my cat using the litter box?
Finding the cause of problems in litter box use can be complicated, so do seek veterinary advice to get to the bottom of things. Observe carefully whether the cat is soiling close to but outside of the box, over the edge of the box, or some distance away, as each of these problems needs a slightly different approach.
It’s important to rule out underlying health problems, everything from emotional issues to physical bladder ailments and kidney disease. At Vet on the Net, our experienced vets are available for consultation to discuss your particular problems and help you create a plan of action.
How do I encourage my cat to use the litter box?
Here are seven vet-approved recommendations to encourage your cat to use the litter box:
* see ‘Clean soiled area thoroughly’ in the Litter box problems section of our guide.
**Feliway Optimum diffuser
A final word: managing multi-cat households
Urine marking and spraying or toileting outside the box can occur when cats sharing a home are not part of the same social setup. It’s important to pay close attention to the dynamics of a group and to do all that we can to create harmony. Head to the multi-cat households section of the cleanpetclub.com guide to learn more and seek appropriate veterinary advice.