For the most part, cats are quite fussy and finicky about their hygiene. If their litter box is full and super dirty, they aren't going to go in there.
A dirty litter box isn't just bad for your cats, it can also be hazardous to you or whoever is cleaning it. Whilst it depends on the number of cats you have, the number of litter boxes and the type of litter you use, experts often recommend that litter boxes be cleaned as often as cats use them.
Cat litter comes in either clumping or non-clumping. Clumping litter is designed so that urine and feces clump together in lumps and can be removed easily. The soiled litter should be scooped at least twice a day. Non-clumping litter absorbs relatively large volumes of urine, which means the entire contents of the litter box should be replaced at regular intervals.
If the litter box starts to smell, you may need to change the type of litter you use or clean the litter box, at which point you should wash it with hot water and mild detergent. It's better to get into the habit of cleaning the litter box regularly. Read on for tips that can help keep your cats' litter box tidy, fresh, and welcoming.
Select a sturdy litter box
Invest in a sturdy litter box with nice straight corners that will be easy for you to get your scooper into. Also, choosing the litter that your cats prefer makes it less likely that litter box avoidance issues and inappropriate elimination will become a problem.
Place a mat under the litter box
Find a good mat on which to place the litter box can decrease your cleaning time and help dislodge any litter that might be tracked when your cats step out of the litter box.
Have the right tools on hand
It's imperative to remember that the urine and feces in your cats' litter box can be harmful to the person cleaning it. Make sure to grab a pair of rubber gloves and a mask.
Clean the litter box
Sift and scoop. Scoop out any solids. Ensure that you get all the way to the bottom of the litter box, removing any trace of waste. Also, be sure to have a garbage receptacle ready and within reach to receive the used litter.
Wipe and wash. Use a wipe to clean off anything stuck to the sides or bottom. Make sure to use a type that is non-toxic to cats. It's essential that you ask your vet for advice before using any product.
Replenish and rake. Add enough fresh new litter to the litter box to make up for what you removed when you cleaned it. Most vets recommend a depth of 3-4cm of litter, but your cats may have a different preference, so it's best to keep an eye out to make sure your cats are happy. Smooth out the new litter so it's nice and inviting to your cats.
Sprinkle and stir. Sprinkle a little baking soda into the litter if you wish. Stir it in to help mix in and cut down on bad odours.
Featured image by Salina Tran