As most cat owners know, cats are very clean animals. That is why it is important to keep a clean litter box. A cat’s sense of smell is 14 times stronger than ours, so a stinky litter box can cause your cat to look for an alternate location to do their business.
Location is important. Litter boxes should be put in a quiet area of the house, away from noisy appliances and high traffic areas. Keep in mind that kitten and elderly cats can have a hard time climbing stairs, so if you are going to keep the litter box in the basement, make sure they can get to it easily. It is also important to keep it in an area where they don’t feel trapped by another cat using the box.
Ideally, there should be a litter box for every cat in the house, plus one. These litter boxes should be scooped out at least once or twice a day. Also, washing the box out with soap and water and a little bleach at least once a week is recommended. Plastic litter boxes should be replaced once a year as scratches that develop in the box can trap odors and bacteria.
Make sure you get a box large enough for your cat to move around in comfortably. There are many different options for the style of litter box you choose to use. There are self-cleaning ones, covered ones, or just plain uncovered rectangular boxes. There are also liners available that make clean up easier but are best when used with non-clumping litter. Self-cleaning litter boxes are a great idea but can tend to scare some cats away from using the litter box.
When filling the box with litter, start with about 2-3 inches and adjust to your cat’s needs. Some cats are deep scratchers and will dig all the way to the bottom if you don’t use enough. If you use too much, you will just end up with excess litter outside the box. Don’t forget to top up the litter from time to time.
Keeping a clean litter box is not only important for your cat but can also help decrease the risk of illness that can spread from cat to human, so make sure you wash your hands after you scoop.