I have have two cats in my household (along with my puppy Bandit). As the owner of a inhome pet care business, we do quite a lot of cat visits and litterbox scooping is part of our jobs. But I have noticed that cats can be finicky about their bathroom habits, so unless you want to be dealing with a regular mess at home, keeping your cat's litter box up to his or her standards is very important.
Most people tend to place the litter box in an out-of-the-way spot to minimize odor and prevent cat litter from being tracked throughout the house.
- Keep the litter box in a spot that gives your cat some privacy but is also convenient. If the box is too hard to get to, especially for a kitten or an elderly cat, he just may not use it.
- Avoid placing litter boxes next to noisy or heat-radiating appliances, like the furnace or the washing machine. Noises can make a cat nervous, while heat from a dryer or furnace can magnify the litter box smell, which could make him stay away from the litter box (and make you want to change houses).
- Put the box far away from his food and water bowls. Cats don't like that smell too near their food. Would you?
- Place at least one litter box on each level of your house. That way your cat has options if access to his primary box is blocked (the basement door is closed or your dinner party has him holed up in the bedroom.) If you have more than one cat, provide litter boxes in several locations so that one cat can't ambush another cat using the litter box.
- If you keep the litter box in a closet or a bathroom, be sure the door is wedged open from both sides to prevent your cat from being trapped inside or locked out. Depending on the location, you might consider cutting a hole in a closet door and adding a pet door
Research has shown that most cats prefer fine-grained litters, presumably because they have a softer feel. The new scoopable (clumping) litters usually have finer grains than the typical clay litter and are very popular because they keep down the odor. But high-quality, dust-free clay litters are fairly small-grained and may be perfectly acceptable to your cat.
There are several different types of cat litter on the market. The most popular ones are traditional clay litter, scooping/clumping litter, crystal-based/silica gel litter and plant-derived/bio-degradable litter.
If your cat has previously been an outdoor cat and prefers dirt, you can keep him out of your houseplants by placing medium-sized rocks on top of the soil in the pots. You can also mix some soil with your regular litter to lure him in. A cat who rejects all types of commercial litters may be quite happy with sand. Once you find a litter your cat likes, stick with it. Switching litters constantly could result in your cat not using the litter box.
HOW MANY BOXES:
The general rule of paw is one litter box for each cat in the home, plus one more. That way none of them will ever be prevented from eliminating in the litter box because it's already occupied.
It's not possible to designate a personal litter box for each cat in your household, as cats may use any litter box that's available. That means a cat may occasionally refuse to use a litter box after another cat has been in it. In this case, you'll need to keep all of the litter boxes extremely clean, and you might even need to add additional boxes. However, it's best not to place all the boxes in one location because your cats will think of them as one big box and ambushing another cat will still be possible.
KEEP IT CLEAN:
To meet the needs of the most discriminating cat, you should scoop feces out of the litter box daily. How often you actually replace the litter depends on the number of cats you have, the number of litter boxes and the type of litter you use.
Twice a week is a general guideline for replacing clay litter, but depending on your circumstances, you may need to replace it every other day or only once a week.
If you clean the litter box daily, you might only need to change clumping litter every two to three weeks. If you notice an odor or if much of the litter is wet or clumped, it's time for a change.
Scrub the box every time you change the litter. Use mild dish detergent to clean it, as products with ammonia or citrus oils can turn a cat off, and some cleaning products are toxic to cats.
HOW MUCH LITTER IN THE BOX:
Some people think that the more litter they put in the box, the less often they'll have to clean it, but that's a mistake. Most cats won't use litter that's more than about two inches deep. In fact, some long-haired cats actually prefer less litter and a smooth, slick surface, such as the bottom of the box. Adding extra litter isn't a a substitute for scooping and scrubbing (sorry!).
Happy cats = happy humans !