I love my cats, I do. I accept that their version of love means stepping on my head in the middle of the night, walking on my keyboard during the day and being totally opposed to cuddles except when it is inconvenient for me.
On thing I will not accept is a gross litter box.
I’ve talked a bit before about our kitty Sophie, who had some pretty scary health stuff that ended up being related to her diet. Her change in food resulted in a turn-for-the-worse in terms of litte rbox smell. With 3 cats we have 4 litter boxes and trust me, the smell adds up.
It isn’t just the smell though, the litter! Ugh, I hate those tiny little rocks collecting on my socks, on my rugs and sometimes in my bedsheets. Seriously, it is the worst. So over the years I’ve developed quite a few tips and tricks. It all ads up to these 5 steps to living with a litter box.
5 Steps to Living with a Litter box
- The box.
Be sure to get a large, lidded litter box. I like the kind with the charcoal air filters on the top. I change the filters every 4 weeks, and I do think that it helps keep the smell down. The enclosed space is a plus too, although opening it up to clean is sometimes a pain. I got mine at Target, but this type seems pretty common at most big box stores.
- The tool.
Scooping litter isn’t fun. It is doubly bad if you’re trying to use a flimsy plastic scoop that bends instead of actually scooping. I can’t believe how many years I spent suffering with dollar store litter scoopers, now that I have a sturdy metal one for each box – I’ll never go back! It can be cleaned, it doesn’t bend, and it’ll last for a long time.
- The disposal.
Cleaning a box is gross. Hauling used cat litter through your home each day is grosser. I keep a dedicated garbage can for each cat box. This way I can scoop it every day (or every couple of days) and only empty the garbage on garbage day. That means less cat poo hanging out in my kitchen garbage, and less hauling altogether. Bonus if you can get a small wastebasket with a lid, for scent reasons.
- The litter outside the box.
As mentioned above I despise cat litter all over the place. So, I use a high quality litter catching mat in front of all of my litter boxes. I also keep a small dollar store brush and dustpan near each box to clean up after I scoop. This does cut down on the tracking, but sometimes I still find it in the weirdest places.
- The clean up.
Accidents happen. Sometimes my long-hair kitty Aris tracks a bit of waste out of the box on her fur. I’ll find it next the box and clean it up, but with a toddler around I like to be sanitary about things. I use a disinfecting cleaner and some paper towels that I keep near every box. I remove the waste, spray the area, wait 5 minutes for it to disinfect and then wipe. All in all it is fast, clean and efficient.
- The Autopilot.
Alright, so all of these are really great tips that I used to use regularly on all of my cat boxes. But about 2 months ago ScoopFree sent me a automatic cat litter box to try. It was sort of my last-ditch effort to keep Aris one of my older cats, who in her advanced age has decided that she will not use any litter box that has any trace of use. As you can imagine, I cannot be there to scoop every use of each of the boxes, so she ended up going outside of the box.
I’ll refrain from going into the detail about how massively annoyed and grossed out I was about this. What I will say, is that after hundreds of dollars in damage to clothes, rugs and furniture, the ScoopFree Ultra Self Cleaning Litter Box was my last hope before rehoming Aris.
The box is a good size for my large cats, and comes in purple or grey. I opted for grey, installed the special crystal litter and the litter trapping mat (yay!), then waited. For about 2 weeks Aris kept up her shenanigans. Then one day I came home to find Aris finishing up in the new box. After 5 minutes (a wait time I set on the machine) the box scooped itself and my litter box woes are a thing of the past. She took to the box and hasn’t looked back.
The litter seems to trap almost all smell, and solid waste is shuffled into a closed box so it’s scent-free as well. All three cats use the ScoopFree box now, and I’ve already decided to purchase another. In my opinion it is 100% worth it to ditch all of the tools and steps I used to need to feel clean. Bonus is that Aris will have more than one box to use and it will always be clean.
Whether you have one cat or three, these five steps to living with a litter box will hopefully help your pet and owner relationships. By having everything you need at hand, a great box (plain or automatic) and the right tools, keeping a cat should be no problem. For those of us who need even more, the ScoopFree Ultra Self Cleaning Litter Box is a great automated option.
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11 thoughts on “5 Steps to Living with a Litter box”
“The enclosed space is a plus too, although opening it up to clean is sometimes a pain.”
Imagine beeing your cat that has to walk in to that odore everytime it has to pee or poop. Do not complain if your cat one day refuse to walk in and instead pee or poop somewhere else. I do not reccomend keeping the door on litterboxes.
Hi Sofia! I appreciate your concern for the mental state of my cats. Thankfully, our vet and our kitties are all on board with our boxes. The key is to clean the box often. We clean the box every day and change the litter completely every 1-2 weeks. I hope that helps!
I absolutely hate kitty litter on the floor. I read another post about different types of mats on the floor in front of the boxes. The best one that I found to use was made out of recycled rubber that has carpet attached on the top. The mat is in little rectangles that are hinged. The premise is the cat walks on the mat and the litter Falls between the holes of the mat. It really does work. The trick is to find a mat that is not hard on the cat’s paws. That is why I chose this particular type of mat. It’s a bit on the spending side but it is worth it. It stopped 99% of the tracked cat litter. Too bad I can’t post a picture of it.
Alice – thanks for the tip! I have to say I STILL have issues with my long haired cat tracking litter. It just sticks so well in her fluffy paws.
Another solution for cats who demand a perfectly clean box is to have multiple litter boxes in different locations throughout your home. And older cats, who might have some mobility issues, really appreciate a roomy box with very low sides. The storage boxes designed to slide under beds make great litter boxes!
A little tip for those who decide to stay with the old fashioned cat box. For collecting your cat remains, use a stainless steel container rather than a plastic one. It keep the odor down; plastic holds odor even after you wash and clean the container.
Great ideas if they work for your cat. My cats refuse to go in a covered litter box nor a box that is used more than once. I use Garfield Tiny Grain Litter which flushes down the toilet. The Auto litter boxes will not work with this type. I also have had to solve the problem of 1 time use by my cats. That means 2 cats equals 9 litter boxes which I have to clean 2X/day. The sand litter is white & easy to vacuum. It clumps hard (easy to scoop) but disintegrates in water.
That’s a great tip Bonnie! Unfortunately, there are some states and municipalities that prohibit flushing cat litter, so everyone should check their local ordinances before doing so. There are a number of items that are “dissolvable” that are still not good for city sewer systems.
Really good read! As a cat owner myself, I truly understand the struggle and war we have with litter. You vacuum and clean and then 5 minutes later, BAM, a whole mess everywhere! But I love my cats so it’s something I’m willing to live with. Great tips! Thanks for the enjoyable read!
Cat looks so cute on the pad.
Great tips. Litter boxes have come a LONG way. Now it’s easier and more manageable. But to find a litter box with automatic, “scooped itself” features along with the time and effort saving features is simply amazing. Thanks for the post!