* Adapted from Blackwell’s Five-Minute Veterinary Consult Clinical Companion: Canine and Feline Behavior, co-authored by Dr. Debra Horwitz and Dr. Jacqui Neilson.
Litter Box Tips
One thing that endears cats to their families is their use of an indoor toileting area. With a little help we can provide just what our cats need.
- Provide one litter box for each cat in the house, plus one additional box.
- Boxes should be in different locations around the house to allow easy access for all cats in the home. In multi-level houses with multiple cats, litter boxes should be offered on each floor level.
- Boxes should be easily accessible, especially for young kittens, physically disabled cats and elderly cats and this might include different sizes and heights to accommodate their needs.
- Avoid placing boxes in high traffic zones or very remote locations.
- Boxes should be large enough for the cat to comfortably move around in the box. The box should be at least 1.5 times the length of the cat.
- To always provide a clean surface, boxes should be replaced annually.
- Do not bother a cat when it is in the litter box as this may create an aversion to the litter box.
- Most cats prefer unscented, clumping (fine, sand-like clay) litter
- Offer enough litter so that the cat can dig/cover adequately (at least an inch in depth).
- Plastic litter liners may be easy for us, but could be aversive to some cats
- Most cats prefer a very clean litter box
- Boxes should be scooped clean of waste material at least once daily
- Boxes should be completely changed and the box washed on a regular basis usually every 7-10 days but will vary with usage and each cat’s personal preferences
- Old litter should be dumped, the box washed with liquid soap/water, rinsed thoroughly with water and filled with new litter.
- If after cleaning odor or staining remains behind, it is time for a new box.