LITTER BOX LOGISTICS: TAKE IT ONE BOX AT A TIME
If your cat’s elimination area (aka litter box) is poorly maintained or doesn’t meet your kitty’s needs, the risk of house soiling goes up considerably. That’s especially true if you have more than one cat in the house. As your cat’s human companion, it’s your responsibility to make sure their living area (and yours) stays clean and sanitary. Proper waste management is an important part of the equation.
There are several things to consider when creating cat-friendly elimination areas:
- The quantity, type, and size of their litter boxes
- Location, location, location
- Litter box hygiene
- Type of substrate (litter material)
These are the basic criteria in any good waste management strategy. Each of them deserves your attention to prevent litter box problems.
HAS YOUR CAT STOPPED USING THE BOX?
Is your cat going places besides the litter box? Clean the soiled area with an ammonia-free detergent and spray an enzymatic odour eliminator like KOE® to neutralize lingering odours. If your cat keeps going back to the same spot even after you clean, your best bet is to close off the area for a time.
If your adult cat starts house soiling, have them checked by the vet to rule out an underlying medical issue. If the vet can’t find anything, they’ll tell you what to try next.
TEACHING YOUR CAT TO USE THE LITTER BOX:
FIND THE RIGHT LITTER
Contrary to popular belief, using a litter box doesn’t come naturally to cats. Their only innate behaviour is digging to cover their waste. Kittens learn to use the litter box from their mothers or when provided with a box at a young age. That’s when they develop a preference for certain substrates (litter material).
To figure out what type of litter to use when you get a new kitten or cat:
- Set out 3 litter boxes, each containing a different substrate
- Note which one they use most
- Start using that substrate in all your boxes
- Use a good amount of litter—enough for your cat to bury their waste, or about 3 to 4 inches
Tip: Cats generally prefer very fine, clumping, unscented litter.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT BOX
To feel comfortable enough to relieve themselves, your cat needs something a little roomy. Choose a box that’s the right size:
- Length: 2 x the length of your cat
- Width: 1.5 x the length of your cat
If your cat scratches the rim or the outside of the litter box after they go, the box is probably too small. In fact, did you know that most commercial litter boxes are too small?
Our advice? Use large storage bins instead. They’re wide and long enough and are also deeper than a regular box. You can use:
- An underbed storage bin with high sides
- A big storage bin that you cut a door in so your cat can come and go without having to jump or overexert themselves
MAKE SURE YOU USE ENOUGH BOXES
How many litter boxes do you need? A general rule of thumb is that you should have one litter box for every cat in your house +1.
Why? Because that way your cat(s) can:
- Use one box for poop and one for pee, if that’s what they prefer (which is often the case with cats)
- Get to an elimination area quickly when it’s urgent so they don’t:
- Have an accident on the living room rug
- Develop a preference for a new substrate (e.g., that same living room rug!)
- Have stress-free access to a litter box in a multi-cat household
- Some cats show passive aggressive behaviour toward their fellow felines and keep them from accessing certain areas of the house
CHOOSE THE RIGHT LOCATION
Litter boxes should be placed in low-traffic areas. Cats prefer peace and quiet when they do their business.
Don’t place multiple boxes in the same room: They should be in different areas of the house and on different floors. And, no matter how many cats you have in your home, you should have at least one litter box on every floor.
KEEP IT CLEAN
A clean litter box is important to your cat: They may have an aversion to doing their business in a soiled substrate and decide to go outside the box. That’s why it’s so important to clean the litter box on a regular basis:
- Once or twice a day, scoop out any clumps
- Every 2 to 3 weeks:
- Throw away all the litter
- Clean the boxes with warm water and mild soap
- Spray them with an enzymatic odour eliminator like KOE®
- Add fresh litter
- At least once a year, throw away and replace all litter boxes
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Watch our webinar Chat : Conseils pour bien vivre ensemble (in French) for even more tips on meeting your cat’s needs and living in purrfect harmony