Unless you want to be clearing up puddles of urine or piles of poop from around your home, litter boxes, sometimes referred to as sandboxes, are an inevitable part of owning an indoor cat.
If you have an outdoor cat, she may decide to do some of her business outdoors but will still benefit from the presence of a litter box. However, if you have kittens or an indoor cat, you will almost certainly need a litter box, so your furbaby has a designated space to relieve herself.
Modern litter for litter boxes is a lot more effective at removing odors than it used to be. Nevertheless, unless you scoop up the mess multiple times each day (which is impossible to do with urine!), then some smell will almost certainly start to invade the area around the box. This isn’t a problem for your felines, as cats are attracted to soiling in locations where they smell urine or feces.
This makes litter box training a relatively simple and straightforward process for most felines. However, cats are notoriously fussy creatures and if their litter box is too smelly, or too clean (yes, in your cat’s eyes it really can be too clean as eliminating the odor entirely will also eliminate the olfactory trigger to soil there again), then she simply will refuse to use it!
To ensure that you don’t find toilet mess around your home, here are some simple tips for making your cat’s litter box an appealing place for her to deposit her pee and poop.
Location is an important part of keeping your cat happy to use the litter box. Make sure that it is easy to find and in a quiet location, preferably away from the door. Your cat may feel vulnerable when using it, so having a good line of sight around her is essential to ensure she feels as safe as possible. Once in place, avoid moving the box unless you absolutely must.
Although you don’t want to take out shares in a litter box manufacturer, you should really have one box on each level of your house. That way your kitty doesn’t have to go too far to do her business. If you have more than one cat, you should have one more than you actually need. For example, for two cats you should have three litter boxes.
There are many different types of kitty litter. However, we recommend that you choose soft, fine, unscented grain. This is soft and easy for your cat to dig into, won’t cling to her fur and shouldn’t deter her from using it. It can be tempting to buy scented litter, but this often smells unpleasant to cats and may stop her coming anywhere near the box.
Probably the most unpleasant part of kitty ownership, emptying the litter box regularly is important. You should scoop feces or clumps of litter (which form when coated with urine) at least once a day to prevent the odors from becoming too pungent.
You should also ensure that you thoroughly clean her litter box once a week. Throw away the old litter ensuring that the entire box is empty, the scrub it clean using warm water and dish detergent. While it can be tempting to use harsher cleaning products, many of these are toxic to your pet and their scent can deter her from using the box again. Make sure you wear gloves, and ideally a mask. There is a small risk of contracting toxoplasmosis from kitty feces, and this will help minimize your exposure.
For more advise on litter box use and maintenance, speak to our veterinarian.