litter box routine
Cats are naturally very clean creatures, and they prefer a clean toileting area without waste (clumps), fragrances, or odors from cleaning agents. The boxes should be sufficient in number, large enough for them to move around within, have good visibility for the cat, and are in cat-friendly locations. They should also be cleaned, with fresh litter added on a regular basis.
Scoop daily – Boxes should be scooped daily at a minimum. It’s better to scoop twice per day, as cats work to avoid solid matter in their litter boxes and prefer a pristine environment. Some cats prefer to urinate in one box and defecate in a separate one.
Cat-approved litter – Most cats prefer a soft clumping litter with a sand-like texture. You may need to try a few different types at one time to find out which litter your cat prefers. Whichever litter you decide to try, opt for an unscented, low dust litter.
Number of boxes – There should be the same number of litter boxes as there are cats in the home, plus at one additional box. You are welcome to add even more boxes, but most cats will be just fine with this “n + 1” model.
Appropriately sized boxes – The best boxes are at least 1 ½ times the length of your cat from nose to base of the tail. The average cat will be about 20 inches long. Thus, the ideal litter box should be about 30 inches in length. Storage tubs work great for this.
Good visibility – Boxes should ideally be uncovered to allow for good visibility for the cat while s/he is using it. Cats need to be able to survey their environment and watch for perceived threats while they are inside of the box. If they think they may be ambushed by another cat or have their space invaded by a dog or child, they need to have an easy exit and be able to escape quickly.
Cat-friendly locations – The best locations for litter boxes are in low traffic areas that are quiet and calm. There should be multiple entry/exit areas, so avoid corners and dead ends. Avoid spots with loud or unpredictable noises, such as near a washer/dryer. Make sure boxes are nowhere near food or water sources, as cats instinctually would never eliminate near either of these, to avoid contamination.
Scrub regularly – Boxes should be cleaned out and scrubbed monthly. Use either boiling water or hot water with an unscented dish soap. If you have a cat with a history of not using the litter box, then the cleanings should happen weekly. Add 2-3 inches of fresh litter into each clean box.