If you wonder how often you should clean your cat’s litter box, just ask yourself “would I want to use a toilet that is rarely flushed”? The answer is probably “Certainly not”!
Don’t forget that cats are very clean animals and their sense of smell is twice as well developed than that of a humans’, hence the importance of keeping their litter box clean.
Why it's Important
A dirty litter box is one of the most common causes of defecation problems in cats. Keeping the box clean provides your cat with a reliably clean place to use and can prevent house soiling problems.
Moreover, clean litter boxes help to keep your cat from refraining from urination. Intentional urinary retention is quite a common behaviour for cats which have not been given a clean place to defecate in. Poor litter tray hygieneincreases the risk of you cat developing urinary tract infections.
The litter box should be cleaned daily - by removing all solid waste and by replacing any urine saturated litter. – It should also be completely changed on a weekly basis.If you cannot clean the box this often, prepare another one. The litter tray should also be disinfected regularly to remove odours by using hot water and a detergent.
Be aware that some disinfectantswhich go cloudy in water are toxic to cats. You can simply use bleach, which won’t harm your cat as long as you carefully rinse the tray before your cat uses it.
What to Buy
When choosing a litter box and litter to buy for your cat you should consider the following:
- • Open or closed litter box? Many cats adapt easily to a covered tray, but others may feel oppressed or vulnerable in it due to only having one exit point in case a perceived threat appears.
- • Self-cleaning litter box: This is an automated system with a timed sensor that is activated several minutes after the cat leaves the box. This type of litter box tends to make sudden movements or noises that can be disturbing for your cat, and may even deter it from using the box however.
- • Flushable cat litter: This is a type of cat litter that can be flushed down the toilet. Before you do this however, be aware of your local waste management regulations which can be different from country to country.
What to do
- • Box location is important: Place thecat litter box in a quiet area that is easily accessible. Avoid placing the box in a busy spot (e.g. corridor), near your cat’s food and water bowls (...cats, just like humans, do not like to eat their food next to their toilet!), next to a source of noise (e.g. washing machine), near windows (your cat may feel threatened by anythingthe outside) or close to where it sleeps. Some cats refuse to use the box if it is close to any of these areas.
- • Number of boxes: if you have a multi-cat household make sure each cat has her own litter box.A basic rule of thumb is that the number of litter boxes in a multiple cat home should be equal to the number of cats plus one.
- • Depth of the litter in the tray: cats seem to prefer a depth of approximately 3cm in their litter box
- • Type of litter: Cats, by instinct – and probably due to their ancestral living environment of, the desert - show a preference for fine, sand-like litters. Scented litters or deodorizers with an overpowering odour can be unpleasant for cats, increasing the risk the cat might refuse to use the litter box.
If you are concerned about litter box odour you can feed your cat PRO PLAN® HOUSECAT (dry diet) or HOUSECAT NUTRISAVOUR (wet diet), formulated with a source of prebiotic proven to reduce the key components of litter box odour by 20%.