Litterbox 101

Since our kitties don’t sit on the toilet and flush their dirty business away, we supply them with their kind of toilet. But make no mistake, many of the things we do to make their potty experience great for them, actually sucks for them. Here are the main highlights:

  1. Hoods. Cats like to see predators coming at them when they go, so a hood is stressful for them.
  2. Scented litter. Using scented litter makes cats avoid the litter. Get a whiff of the intensity of the perfumed odor of the litter, now multiply that by 20, and consider how long you’d want to spend surrounded by that smell. You wouldn’t. Don’t subject your cat to it.
  3. Stinky Litter. Cats are quite fastidious. They will bury poops and pees, which is the way they abate the scent. However, that doesn’t rid the box of odor, though, so clean the litter at least daily. Too much odor emanating from the box could make them go elsewhere, and that is not their fault.
  4. Pellets. Yes, I’m with you on the carbon footprint, saving the earth, hugging a tree, but a cat’s natural material of choice to eliminate on is sand, or soft dirt. Change your toilet out for a metal bucket. Hate it? There you go, give them something they want to go in.
  5. Air Fresheners. Again, cats scent sensors are 20x more than ours. Putting scenty things around is a horrible thing to do to cats. Cats identify their scent as a mark of their own territory, and other scents can confuse that and make them feel insecure.
  6. Automatic Cleaners. You can’t monitor pees and poops this way. If a problem arises, but an automatic cleaner scoops it up, you won’t see it. You won’t know that the poo is tarry or the pee is off-color or off-scent or even bloody. That’s just plain dangerous. Secondly, I wouldn’t enjoy a noisy machine next to me while I go, I would find it unnerving and seek out a peaceful spot. This also applies to putting litter boxes next to washers & dryers or in the garage. Yeah, don’t do that.
  7. Number of boxes. You need 1 litterbox per cat, plus one. 3 cats = 4 litterboxes. Put them in different spots in your house. This is for territorial reasons.
  8. Height of litterbox & litter. Height matters when it comes to the box itself, and the depth of the litter. I have 4 cats, so I have 6 litterboxes. All of them are varying heights, none of them have hoods. I use TidyCats unscented and make sure it’s at least 4″ deep. When I pour the litter in, I don’t drop it in from a height, I put the litter pale right on top of the existing litter and let it slide in. That’s less dust for me and them.
    I have a 17 year old cat that may eventually need a shorter box with shallower litter. I watch for that, and make sure all my cats are peeing freely and pooping happily in the boxes. I clean all the litters before and after work, every day.

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