Hello furr-riends and welcome back once again! You’ll litter-ally never guess what today’s topic is…
*waits for eyerolls*
Okay okay, it’s litter! Something that is often overlooked, the kind of litter used and how well it’s maintained are super important for your cat’s health. Even where you place the litterbox can determine how effective it is, or whether your cat will even use it. Here are some tips and tricks when it comes to choosing the litterbox, litter, placement and more.
Choosing a litterbox is the first step. Covered vs uncovered boxes are typically just a preference, but when choosing a covered litterbox keep in mind how much space your cat will have inside. Also keep in mind that covered litterboxes are often overlooked and forgotten about, especially depending on where you place them. You’ll want to place the box in a quiet and convenient area, away from their food and water bowls. If placing it in a closet, be sure they can’t get locked in or trapped. With multiple cats, the general rule of thumb is one litterbox per cat plus one more. Be sure to spread out the litterboxes so the cats don’t find themselves getting into each other’s way.
Whatever box you choose, be prepared for the fact that you may need to try different ones until you find the right one for you and your cat(s)! Self-cleaning boxes and scented litters or air fresheners may seem appealing, but your cat may think otherwise. If odor is a concern, try putting a thin layer of baking soda on the bottom of the box. If they’re just not being drawn to the box for whatever reason, perhaps even messing with the house plants, try putting dirt from the house plants or even sand in the box with their litter. In the wild, cats naturally excrete in soft or sandy soil for easy burial. Tapping into those natural instincts can help draw them to the box.
The next step is choosing the litter, and there are a handful of options. From clay litter to clumping litter to several natural litters made from materials like paper, wheat and corn; choosing the perfect litter can seem daunting. The best thing to do is weigh the pros and cons and match what matters the most to you. Natural litters are biodegradable and more environmentally friendly, but can be more expensive, harder to find, and your cat may not always like them. Clay litter has great absorption, odor control, and tends to be less expensive. However certain brands may be too dusty and can lead to respiratory issues if inhaled. Clumping litter is virtually dust-free and great for multi-cat households, but can be pricier. Do your research, read reviews, ask fellow cat owners! As for us? Here are some brands we recommend and use ourselves:
This is a non-clumping litter that is lightweight and actually detects health issues! The litter changes color when signs of abnormalities are present in your cat’s urine, making it more than just your average litter. One bag lasts one month per cat, and you only need to scoop the solid excrement, as the litter absorbs and evaporates moisture. It’s also delivered straight to your door, leaving behind the days of lugging huge bags of litter home!
This is a clumping clay litter, made from all natural and non-toxic materials. It is 99.99% dust-free, an excellent odor eliminator, and long-lasting. I personally use this litter in a tiny studio, keep it in my tiny KITCHEN (gasp), and never smell a thing. I highly, highly recommend this brand.
No matter what brand of litter or box you choose, it is extremely important that you clean and maintain it all properly. You should scoop the litter daily, yes DAILY. Think about your toilet- would you want it left unflushed? Neither does your cat! If left too long, your cat will eventually eliminate outside of the litterbox, or even hold it, leading to UTI’s, bladder inflammation, or kidney blockages. Plus, overexposure to ammonia can lead to serious health issues for yourself. Keeping the litter clean will avoid these problems, plus help you keep a close eye on their bathroom behaviors. It’s hard to notice that your cat isn’t using the restroom often enough if you’re not managing the box.
Regular cleanings of the entire box can also help eliminate odors and bacteria. Use hot water and soap to ensure the germs are killed. Weekly cleanings are recommended, but even monthly can make a huge difference. It’s also a good idea to replace your litterbox yearly, as scratches on the box can hold and retain bacteria. Taking proper care of the litter and litterbox will ensure both you and your cats maintain happy and healthy lives!