The Scoop on Litter Boxes: A Complete Guide on Keeping it Clean for Kitty

While some dogs can be trained to use a box and some cats can be trained to use a toilet, by and large, our dogs do their business outside and our cats have their own little indoor outhouse: the litter box.

A cat’s natural instinct is to cover their own waste. It is believed to be an inherited survival skill to keep predators from tracking a feline’s scent out in the wild.

Whether you’re a new cat parent or troubleshooting a sticky situation, we’ll cover the basics for you!

The Essential Box: Lid or No Lid?

Item number one is gettin a litter box. On the cat supplies aisle, you have your cheap pan with no lid and then the covered unit.

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A 2012 research study determined that cats had no apparent preference for covered or uncovered, as the usage frequency of each type was evenly split. What’s most important to cats when it comes to a litter box is hygiene: is it clean enough to use? However, some cats may make it obvious that they don’t like a closed box.

Advantages for Covered Boxes

  • Humans don’t have to see the waste.
  • Odor reduction.
  • Keeps small children and other animals out of the box.
  • Prevents litter mess surrounding the box – a cat covering up waste can kick a lot of litter out of the tray (however a box with no lid and high edges would have the same benefit).

Advantages for Uncovered

  • Humans see the evidence of waste and remember to clean it out.
  • Better for skittish cats – cats don’t like sensory reduction, they want to be able to surroundings and not feel trapped.
  • Circulation for quicker dry time (compared to the lidded one).
  • Won’t be outgrown as quickly

3 Litter Box Top Sellers

Recommendations from Our Community

“I have used an automatic poop box.
It was rad. It worked well. It had blades that would swipe across and pull the poop into a container.”

Deb H. about LitterMaid Single Cat Self-Cleaning Litter Box

“Loved this Martha Stewart one for years. It’s really good for clumping litter because you just shake it out and dump.”

Quinn L. about Martha Stewart Pets® Sifting Litter Box

Fur Star Pet Care recommends top entry cat boxes.

Litter-acy: Filling You in on Product Options

When it comes to cat box compatibility, litter is probably the most important factor since the cat comes in direct contact with it.

columbus area in home cat sitter

Cat Communication

Some kinds of litter can annoy or hurt some cats. Thankfully, you can alternate between products to find the right material for your pet.

Types of Litter

  • Clay cat litter – Urine absorbed by pulverized clay.
  • Clumping litter – Made with a clay base, waste creates clumps for removal.
  • Odor control – Contains baking soda, enzymes or fragrance to eliminate odors.
  • Crystal – Super absorbent with a combination of clumping and deodorizing benefits.
  • Grain – Natural blend of pine, wheat, and corn. Neutralizes odors, plus reduced tracking.
  • Recycled paper – Absorbent, track-free, dust-free, and eco-conscious.
  • Sand – Absorbent and cats are attracted to sand.

Top Sellers

  • Purina Tidy Cats Breeze Pellets

    • Features: Separates solid & liquid waste for superior odor control,
      non-tracking, long-lasting cat litter pellets, super low dust, and easy cleanup.

Recommendations from Our Community

“I currently mix lightweight scoopable clay with regular… Lightweight is double the price and doesn’t clump as well. But easy to carry home and dispose of. Saves money and my back … They do last longer. Smell okay. Dry up pee. Get one of each. ” – Deb H.

“The wood pellets are much much cheaper and you can buy a giant bag… we have a green recycling bin for garden and food products we can toss the wood pellets in there.” Quinn L.

“I buy Naturally Fresh. It’s made out of walnut shells, which are the same color as my floor, & it’s a lot lighter than the clay stuff.” Tess C.

Owner’s Pick: Garfield brand (get the green bag!)

Scoping Out Scoops

Scoops are needed for boxes that don’t have a sifting system. The cheap plastic ones are in every store, but you can order nicer ones online.

columbus ohio cat sitter

Everything Has a Place

Top Sellers

  • Petmate Litter Scoop w/ Microban

    • Features: Made from recycled plastic, Microban anti-microbial for stain & odor resistance, extra-wide mouth, and large slits.

Recommendations from Our Community

Tess C. uses Booda Scoop & Hide Caddy!

Need a little help? Sometimes we just can’t get to it. For example, pregnant women are advised not to come into contact with litter.

Our Columbus Ohio area in home pet care service can pitch in with scooping duties. Call or text us at: (614) 439-1621.

What about Liners?

Thinking about using some liners? Here are some best selling suggestions.

Litter Genie Disposal System

For those who have spent some time with babies, remember those Diaper Genies? Well there’s a version for cat litter! Oh, joy!

It’s a condensed waste collection system, so fewer trips to the bin.

Read More: Questions to Ask Your Vet

Creatures of Habit: Tips to Maintain Your Cat Litter Situation

Back from the store. Now, what do we do with all this?

Where to Place the Box?

Place the boxes away from high-traffic or noisy areas, but place them where the cat can find it easily. Keep food and water dishes away. We wouldn’t put a toilet in our kitchen, right?

Some owners recommend having more than one litter box, especially if you have more than one cat in the household.

This increases accessibility, especially if you have a large or two-story home.

How to Prevent Litter Mess Around the Box?

  • Use a litter trapper mat or a bath mat.
  • Use dust-free litter or one of the non-tracking options mentioned above.
  • Trim cat’s nails.
  • Use a box with high walls or top entry.
  • Keep litter bags out of reach or in plastic containers (cats may claw them open}.

If all else fails, keep a hand vac right next to the box for quick clean up.

How Often to Scoop or Clean?

Some say you should scoop twice a day, but a minimum of once a day is probably enough to keep things hygienic for your cat.

Of course, this depends on how many cats are using the box and how much a single cat will produce.

If you aren’t using disposable trays or liners, wash the box a few times per month.

Clean the outside of the box and the area as needed.

How Often Do I Change the Litter?

It is recommended to change out the litter twice per week.

Can I Flush Cat Litter Down the Toilet?

This is probably not a good idea. Use waste bags or the Litter Genie mentioned above.

What Should I Do For Multiple Cats?

It is recommended to have at least one litter box per cat. Place the boxes in separate but easy-to-access areas of the home.

If the cats seem to be sharing a box, try a multi-cat litter.

columbus ohio cat sitters

Best Friends

Is It Okay to Use Fragrance Deodorizers?

It’s an achievement to have a home that doesn’t smell like a cat lives there. For that purpose, there are a variety of deodorizing products on the market and some include fragrance products.

This could be disruptive in litter box use if the cat is put off by the smell. Like if you start using a fragrance product and your cat starts to refuse to use the box, he probably doesn’t like the smell. Using a fragrance neutral product like baking soda is a potential alternative.

Staying on top of waste removal and cleaning is the best way to fight odors.

Do I Need to Train My Kitten to Use the Litter Box?

Depending on how long a kitten has spent with her mother, she may already be trained to some extent. Kittens learn how to use a litter box from their mother’s habits.

Place a litter box (preferably with no lid) in a room that has no rugs or carpets. After feeding, put the kitten in the room. Having the cat litter as a the only appropriate surface for their excremental instincts, they will likely use the litterbox. Optional: reward them with treats if they successfully use the box.

If the cat or kitten is having issues finding or not using the litter box, try using cat litter with attractant.

Watch for Adverse Reactions to Litter

Refusal to use the litter box can be a telltale sign that your cat is uncomfortable with or allergic to something about the litter box. It’s likely to be the litter itself or something mixed with the litter.

  • Check the paw and pads on the cat. Is there bleeding or sores?

  • Is your cat having allergy symptoms?

  • Know the signs of a UTI  or constipation.

Products galore and a community of cat lovers are here to support your cat litter box success. Ask your local pet store for recommendations or consult the internet community to troubleshoot any issues.

Your Columbus Ohio area in home cat sitters are no stranger to daily scooping duty. Your cats won’t be the only ones getting attention, we’ll also check on the litter box.

If you just need a quick cleaning, we charge $15. Call or text us at: (614) 439-1621.

 

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