You’re Setting Up Your Litter Box All Wrong!
How to Choose a Litter Box for Your Cat
Cats can be finicky creatures, especially when it comes to their litter boxes. The main item of concern when picking out a litter box is the size of the box, both the surface area and the height of the sides. However, equally important is where you place the box in your house and how many boxes you have. Also, if you want to avoid bathroom problems, you probably want to skip things like liners and covers to keep your kitty happy.
Fitting the Litter Box to the Cat
Look at the size of your cat.For a small cat, a smaller litter box will probably work just fine. However, a large cat will likely want a larger box. Make sure it's big enough for the cat to fit its whole body in and turn around in. Otherwise, it might unintentionally go the bathroom over the edge.
- Of course, every cat is different, and you may need to try a couple of different boxes before finding one that's right for your cat. Some large cats prefer smaller boxes, while some small cats may want a large box.
Pick a litter box of the right height.When choosing a litter box, check out the sides of the box. Most cats are okay with semi-high sides, but an older cat or a disabled cat may have trouble getting in a box with high sides. For those cats, pick a shorter one.
- Kittens also need boxes that are shorter.
Consider the inside surface.Some cats may decide that they want to go on soft surfaces (like blankets and rugs), while other cats may go outside of the litter box on tile. If you notice your cat using the bathroom where it's not supposed to, consider changing up the inside of the litter box.
- For instance, if your cat wants a soft surface, try picking a softer, finer litter.
- If your cat is going on tiles, try placing tiles in the bottom of the cat's box. Cover it with a little bit of litter.
Placing the Litter Box
Pick an active area of the house.Obviously, you probably don't want the litter box in the middle of the kitchen. Your cat, on the other hand, doesn't want to be shunted off to a scary corner. Try to pick someplace relatively active that you can still live with.
- Avoid places that have loud noises, such as near the washing machine, as the noise can be scary.
- Bathrooms and hallways are good options.
Place them away from the food and water bowls.Cats are clean creatures, and they aren't big fans of eating and drinking where they go to the bathroom. Instincts may also tell them not to use the bathroom near the food. Therefore, it's best to avoid placing the litter box next to their food and water bowls.
Think about your cat's needs.If you have an elderly cat, don't put the litter box in the far corner of the basement. The cat may have trouble navigating down there, and in fact, the cat may have trouble making it to go to the bathroom.
- If you have multiple floors, you should have a box on each floor.
Try different locations.If your cat doesn't seem to want to use the litter box, move it to another location. It may just be that the cat doesn't like where it is for whatever reason. For instance, many cats don't like having three walls around the litter box, as they can't easily escape if something blocks the one open side.
- If your cat is going outside of the litter box, try moving the box to where the cat is going.
Buy one more box than you have cats.Having just one box for multiple cats isn't going to work. The best choice is to have a box for each cat, plus an extra box. That means if you have two cats, you need three boxes. If you have one cat, you need two boxes.
- Try buying different types so each cat kind find one it likes.
Fill the box with the right amount of litter.Most cats don't like the litter to be too deep. A layer that's a couple of inches deep is fine for most cats. Nonetheless, cats will often show individual preferences, so you may need to add more or less litter.
Skip liners.While liners can make it easier for you to change the litter, cats aren't always a fan. Many don't like the way they feel underfoot. Others may not like the noise. Either way, having a liner in place can make your cat not want to use the litter box, which is never a good thing.
- Even if your cat doesn't mind the liner, it will often shred the liner while burying its waste in the litter, so liners are usually not helpful.
Avoid covers.Another item that can cause issues for some cats is a cover. Some cats may have an issue being enclosed with the smell. Others may be more cautious, and they want to see if a predator is approaching. Try to skip the covers to make your cat more receptive to using the litter box.
- In addition, some large cats may find it hard to maneuver in a box with a cover.
Try different litters.Cats also have preferences for certain types of litter. Many cats like clumping litter, for instance, because it is very fine and doesn't hurt their paws. Some clay litters are also very fine. However, every cat is different, so try out litters until you find one your cat likes.
Keep the box clean.Cats are very clean, and they don't like going in a box that's filled with urine and feces. Scoop out the box once a day to keep the box clean enough for your cat. After all, you wouldn't want to walk in an area that was covered in urine and feces, either.
Reconsider self-cleaning boxes.While self-cleaning boxes are just fine for some cats, other cats may have an issue with them. If the box is cleaning when they go to use it, they may decide they don't want to use the box anymore because it scares them.
QuestionWhat size should a cat litter box be?
Veterinarian, Royal College of Veterinary SurgeonsVeterinarian, Royal College of Veterinary SurgeonsExpert AnswerThe short answer is the biggest box that you can fit in the space available. While no tray can be too big, a tray can be too small. The minimum size should be half-as-long as the length of the cat's body.Thanks!
QuestionWhat is the best type of cat litter?
Veterinarian, Royal College of Veterinary SurgeonsVeterinarian, Royal College of Veterinary SurgeonsExpert AnswerThe best type of cat litter is the one your cat is used to! Many cats have a strict preference for the substrate they toilet on, and changing this will upset them and could lead to inappropriate toileting. In practical terms, avoid clumping litters with kittens, as these can cause a health problem if swallowed. Ideally, look for a cat litter that is dust-free and odor absorbent.Thanks!
QuestionWhat is the best cat litter to use for kittens?
Veterinarian, Royal College of Veterinary SurgeonsVeterinarian, Royal College of Veterinary SurgeonsExpert AnswerChoose non-clumping cat litter for kittens, since swallowing clumping cat litter can lead to a blockage in the intestine. Also, look for unfragranced and dust-free litter, as the kitten's delicate respiratory tract is easily irritated.Thanks!
QuestionHow does a cat know how to use a litter box?
Veterinarian, Royal College of Veterinary SurgeonsVeterinarian, Royal College of Veterinary SurgeonsExpert AnswerCats are instinctively clean creatures that like to have a dedicated area in which to toilet. They like the feel and texture of litter in a box, which encourages them to use it. Kittens often copy their mother, when they see her using a tray.Thanks!
Video: How to Choose a cat Litter box
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