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How Often Should You Change Cat Litter?

How Often Should You Change Cat Litter?

4 min read

Cats are quite finicky creatures, and it is well known that they like their creature comforts and cleanliness, especially when it comes to their litter tray. We can’t really blame them though, wouldn’t you much rather a clean loo, after all?

Cleaning your cat’s litter tray is incredibly important for their well-being and can even help to prevent toileting problems. So, how often should you change cat litter? Once a day? Once a week? Keep reading to find out all you need to know.

How often should you clean your cat’s litter tray?

Cat poo (faeces) should be removed from the litter box regularly. Ideally take poops out as soon as they happen (once your cat has moved well away from the litter tray so they don’t feel you are swooping down on them!) but if you can’t, aim for twice a day (morning and evening). Urine should be cleaned out at least once a day too.

This is easier with clumping litter and can be tricky with certain non-clumping litter types, meaning that you may have to change the whole cat litter much more frequently. It is imperative to maintain good litter tray hygiene as if it becomes dirty, your cat will likely refuse to go in it and will find somewhere else in your house to go instead.

How often should you change cat litter?

When it comes to the matter of changing the litter in your cat’s tray, it will depend on how many cats you have, the number of litter trays and the type of litter you are using.

Non-clumping cat litter

Non-clumping cat litter needs to be changed more regularly than clumping types. If just one cat is using the tray, aim for a full change at least twice a week, but if multiple cats are going to the toilet in there, the whole lot will need changing a few times a week and possibly even daily.

Bear in mind that cats do not like sharing litter trays, and if you have multiple felines, you should provide one tray per cat plus at least one extra one.

Although many non-clumping litters are quite good at absorbing urine, once they are saturated, urine will pool in the bottom of the tray.  If this is the type you prefer to use, the whole tray will need cleaning before this point. Smell tends to be a good indicator of when it needs to be changed too.

Clumping cat litter

Clumping cat litter can be changed less frequently than non-clumping. As the litter absorbs urine, it forms a solid clump that can be easily removed. If you take poops and pees out of the tray each day and only one cat is using it, clumping litter may only need to be completely changed every week, but if more than one cat is using the tray, aim for more frequently. If you spot a lot of the litter becoming clumped or wet, this is a sign that it is time to change the whole lot and give the tray a thorough clean.

Cleaning your cat’s litter tray

Each time you change your cat’s litter, you should make sure you give the box a good scrub. Here is a simple guide to cleaning your cat’s litter tray:

  1. Throw out all the existing cat litter.
  2. Wash the tray in your garden with a hose or in your sink with mild soap or detergent – always avoid products with citrus or ammonia as these scents may put your cat off using the tray. If you are unsure about what cat-friendly cleaning solution to use, consult your vet or talk to one the vet nurses in your practice.
  3. Allow the tray to dry completely – this step is very important as if you put litter into a damp tray it can get stuck to the bottom. You may want to use paper towels to speed up the process.
  4. Add fresh litter – you should add enough so that your cat can comfortably dig around in it. Aim for around two to three inches for non-clumping and three to four inches deep for clumping.

That’s it! You should aim to completely wash out your litter tray whenever you change the litter.

How do you dispose of cat litter?

Cat litter can be easily thrown away in your normal household waste. There are some litters available which are biodegradable and can be put into communal bio waste, but you should never put cat litter in your own compost bin as it will not reach the temperatures necessary for killing the bacteria and parasites in the faeces.

Never flush cat litter down the toilet as household plumbing is not designed for cat litter!

How can you stop the litter tray from smelling?

It’s simple: keep it clean. If it’s starting to smell, you’re not cleaning it often enough and it may need to be changed.

Now you know how often to change cat litter. Got a new kitten and looking for more tips and advice? Read our guide to litter training cats and kittens, next.

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