Just Pee in the Box Already! Cat Litter Box 101
I hate porta potties, and public restrooms in general. They smell bad, you never know if they are going to be sanitary, and the lines are long. Now imagine that your cat’s litter box is a porta potty. If your cat is peeing inappropriately in the house, chances are these are the same reasons that your cat doesn’t want to use the box. So, if you feel like you’ve tried everything to fix your cat’s potty problem, and have already talked to your vet to make sure it’s not a medical issue, then please keep reading. I’m going to teach you how to keep your boxes clean enough that even the pickiest of cats will be happy to use them.
FYI: Just like every human has different standards of cleanliness, so do cats. Some cats are fine dodging messes to get to the bathroom, others would rather find somewhere else to go.
To start off with, make sure you have enough litter boxes. The rule is to have one litter box per cat, and then add one. So, for a one cat household, you need two boxes. For a two cat household, you need three boxes. Less is not more with litter boxes. If your cat has been urinating inappropriately for a while, I’d double the amount of required boxes to start off with. This will set your cat up for success. After a while, you can remove one box per week as long as there have been no accidents. If you remove a box and find a kitty accident, put that box back for a week, and then the following week try removing a different box.
Next, make sure the litter boxes are large enough. Fat cats (or should I say big-boned?), larger breeds, and many senior cats will need a larger box than the standard size. Cats can accidentally knock over smaller boxes, or not have enough room to cover their poop. Covering poop is like the cat version of wiping your butt. It’s essential to almost everyone, except for a few that refuse to comply with that aspect of hygiene.
Now, if you have lids on your cat boxes, take them off. It traps the nasty smells in and your cat does not want to be surrounded by the smell of poop when trying to potty.
Does your cat have somewhere that he/she just keeps going? Put a box there. It’s better to have your cat pee in a box next to the couch, then keep peeing on the couch. Over the course of a month or two, you can inch this box to somewhere you prefer it to be kept.
Make sure all boxes are easy to access, safe from dogs and children, and have multiple access points. Cats don’t feel comfortable being trapped "on the can" if they are interrupted when trying to go.
PRO TIP: Buy a good quality litter mat for each box. This will prevent litter from going everywhere on the floor.
Daily: Everyday, even on holidays and weekends, scoop all poop and pee out of the box. Some cats are okay if you do this once per day, but others will require that you scoop the box twice per day. Clean the area around the litter box. Some cats will get confused if there is any stray litter next to the box and think that they can do their business on the stray litter, instead of in the litter box.
Monthly: Throw away all litter in the box. Scrub the box with either an unscented enzyme cleaner, or with just unscented soap and water. Dry completely, and refill with approximately 3 inches deep of your cat’s clean, preferred litter. Add more clean litter as needed throughout the month to keep the level at about 3 inches.
FYI: Thinking about buying an electronic, automatic cleaning box? Most cats can’t stand these, but some will still use them. Depending on your cat, this could be a waste of money.
That’s it! Cats just want somewhere safe, clean, and comfortable to go potty.
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With puppy and kitty love,
Lily the Dog Mama