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How often do I really need to clean my cat's litter box?

pic: @sparkthecat

The key to a happy, healthy cat is a clean litter box.

Dirty boxes can harbor bacteria that cause feline illnesses. 

A hygienic, fresh-smelling box is also critical for your own satisfaction as a cat's housemate.

Feline stools can be eye watering for guests and family members alike. 

So make sure your box gets clean, stays clean, and employs an effective odor-control mechanism.

Look below for our cleaning tips for your cat box:

 

Prevent litter box problems.

Messy cat toilets and too few litter boxes can drive your pet to search for another, more welcoming spot in which to do business. This might be your bedspread, the corner of your closet, or the showermat in your bathroom. 

Wherever your cat chooses, you probably won't like it.

Prevent litter box problems by having one litter box per cat plus one extra. Algebraically, we express this as follows:

# of household + 1 extra box = Total Number of Litter Boxes You Need

 

What kind of litter box should you choose?

Choose the litter box your cat will actually use. 

If your cat likes doing business out in the open, select a Tray

Need more space? Try our Modkat XL

We never recommend self-cleaning litter boxes. These robotic devices can frighten cats and other pets.

When it comes to the stuff you put in the box…

Give your cat the pick of the litter by selecting a high-grade, clumping option. We recommend you take a look at planet-friendly litter choices such as grass seed, walnut shells, or wood pellets. 

Finally, make sure your cat can easily access his box by putting it in a quiet but accessible location like the living room. Laundry rooms, basements, and bathrooms are rarely good choices.

 

How often do cats use the litter box?

Cats pee 2-4 times each day. 

Don't worry if she regularly goes more or less often. Factors such as fluid intake, age, and home temperature can affect a cat's urination schedule.

If you notice any sudden changes in how often your cat pees, however, it could signal a problem. Ask your vet to rule out kidney or bladder trouble

Cats take care of heavy duty business about once a day. Again, don't worry if your cat is a more frequent producer.

Diet, medications, exercise habits, and overall health may affect a cat's defecation schedule. And kittens tend to do business more often than adult cats. 

Do keep an eye on the goodies in the tray, however. Your cat's litter box can provide the first insight into health problems. If you see diarrhea, bloody stool, or no stool for a day or two, check with your vet. These symptoms should never be treated at home. 

Using the litter box 3-5 times daily is normal, so it takes regular work to keep things ship shape.

 

How often should you scoop a litter box?

For best odor control, you should scoop the box twice a day. 

If you're busy or you just forget, you can probably go with a daily single scoop. You don't want clumps and lumps to sit undisturbed for longer than a day though. Consider how disgusting it would be for your household to live with a toilet that went unflushed for several days. 

When scooping litter, drop the clumps in a sealed bag, and toss the whole thing in an outside trash can. You never want to dump a clump down the toilet or mix it in with your compost. Both elimination methods can have serious health and environmental impacts.

Be sure to clean your litter sifting tool with a paste of baking soda and water when you scour the box. 

 

How often should you change the litter in a litter box?

Most people replace their cat litter every week. Your schedule may vary according to your cat's needs. When refilling the box, the rule of thumb is to add 3-4 inches of fresh cat litter. You can also add baking soda or refresh your cat odor filter when you refill the box.

Remember that pregnant women should never change litter boxes due to the slight risk of contracting toxoplasmosis. Also, keep in mind that cat litter — even unused cat litter — should never be flushed down the toilet. We want to protect our water supply and the animals who live in or near our water resources.

 

How often should you wash a litter box?

Most cat parents wash the box every week. You don't need any special chemicals. Simple dish soap or vinegar and warm water will get the mess out. Don't use bleach, though, since it can interact with the ammonia in cat urine.

Regular washing will prevent the plastic material of your litter box from absorbing cat odors. That means you won't have to replace a litter box nearly as early if you clean it often. 

 

Why does my cat freak out when I clean the litter box?

A dominant pet may want to re-mark their territory after you've washed away all the smells. These cats may take a leak in the box just minutes after you've freshened it up. Other cats may stare at you wide-eyed, probably wondering why you're sifting through their nuggets.

Most cats, however, don't get upset by observing a simple cleaning routine. In fact, they're more likely to get turned off by noxious litter box odor than by watching you scrub their toilet.

So keep your cats' toileting quarters in good shape. You should have a happy, healthy kitty who's ready to snuggle, watch birds, or play with cat toys - the fun part of cat parenthood. 
 
Shop the Modkat litter boxes and accessories to freshen up your cat litter area today!