Litter Box Choices
There are many choices in litter boxes and litter. Every cat is different and some cats can be pretty picky, so experiment to see what works best.
Cover vs. No Cover
Many humans like the idea of a covered litter box because it hides and confines the mess. Some cats may feel trapped inside a covered litter box, especially if they can hear other animals or people approaching. On the other hand, your cat might feel a litter safer and appreciate the privacy of the cover. Some do not like the cover because they prefer having more lighting. Whether you should use a cover on your litter box or not, depends on your cat and the situation.
If you decide to use a covered litter box, it is important to stay on top of cleanup duties. Clean out covered litter boxes more often and more thoroughly. Unpleasant odors tend to stay trapped inside, making an unpleasant experience for your cat.
Size and Height
Litter boxes come in all sizes, but you usually can't go wrong with a box with a large area. Cats usually like enough space to move around, circle and dig in. If you're limited on space for a litter box just keep in mind the general rule of thumb is to provide a litter box at least one and a half times the length of your cats body.
Remember to take into account any limitations your cat may have in getting over the side walls of a litter box. For kittens and senior cats, consider offering a litter pan with shorter sides.
Self-Cleaning Litter Boxes
On the plus side, even when you are not at home, your cat will always have a clean litter box. The downfalls are that certain cats just don't trust the sound and movements it creates and will not use it and some people review that the self-cleaning boxes get easily clogged.
If your cat is disdainful of the self-cleaning box, but is also super picky about having a clean litter box, you can always try having two litter boxes side by side. This way even after one has been used, there is still a fresh box available for your cat until you get there to clean them up.
Plastic liners can make changing out all the litter a lot easier, but many cats have an aversion to the sound it can make or the feel of the plastic underneath.
Things to take into account are odor control, ease of cleaning, dust control and most importantly, how the litter appeals to your feline's sensibilities. Be on the alert for any allergies your cat might have to the materials or irritants to your cat respiratory tract (this is especially important for asthmatic cats).
Clay vs. Clumping
Clay litter does absorb a lot of moisture, but does not stop of the moisture from spreading (in other words, it does not clump as easily). Clumping litter has the major benefit of being so easy to scoop out urine and feces clumps without having to change the whole litter box. This means less cleanup time and less litter waste. Clay litter can also be very dusty, an irritant to avoid with cats who have breathing problems, like allergies or asthma.
This includes litters made from recycled materials or byproducts from other industries, like newspapers, pine sawdust or walnut husks. Some of these materials may be better for the environment and many have very low dust amounts, but the biggest factor is how these materials feel to your cat's feet. The larger size pellets many of these materials come in are disliked by some cats.
Fragrances and Odor-Control Additives
Scented litters may be preferred by cat owners for odor control, but for some cats it can be a turn off. You may want to avoid citrus or floral scents and fragrances that are too strong.
To control odor, some litters have activated carbon or sodium bicarbonate additives.
Size of the Grain
Smaller sized grains make it a little easier to scoop poop from the litter box since it falls through your pooper scooper. Larger pellets sometimes have less dust, an irritant to avoid. Many cats prefer the feel of fine-grained litter on their feet, but it's all about individual preference.
Choose a location for the litter box away from traffic and noise that is easily accessible for your cat. Also, try to keep the litter box in an area separate from where you feed your cat.
Making Your Choice
To encourage the best litter box etiquette from your cats, try to choose the litter box options that your cat likes the most and not necessarily what you prefer. If you are looking for a place to start, many cats seem to like smaller-grained litter in uncovered boxes.
Our feline friends can be finicky, so stay patient and explore your options. We're always here to help if you run into any problems. If your cat is having accidents outside of the box, give us a call – the issue could be medically related. We can also talk you through different steps to take if the issue is more behavioral.
Remember to use A Cat's Place as a resource for any questions or problems you might have relating to the litter box. You can give us a call at (203)855-1146, contact us online, or check out some more information.
Litter Box Etiquette - coming soon
Outside the Box - coming soon