Taming the Litter Box
Throughout my various adventures in cat sitting, I have seen cat parents make numerous and wildly various attempts at taming the mighty litter. Litter lockers, heavily perfumed litter and litter products (such as baking soda or litter powder), litter liners, lids for the litter boxes, fancy scoops, placing the litter box in closets, nooks or basements, placing rugs under or around the box- the efforts are endless.
Cat litter boxes suck. But our fur kids don’t have the option of or skills to use the human toilet and flush. Plus, cats can sometimes use their bathroom habits to communicate with their humans (mainly defecating in strategically chosen places or urinating just outside of the box to express their dissatisfaction with something.
So, what is the solution?
I have found that closed litter boxes (those with a lid), work best to reduce tracking and prevent kitty from gleefully kicking all of the litter outside of the box. They also hep reduce the smell. If the litter box is enclosed, nothing is exposed and it contains the smell. Using a litter liner will also help reduce the build up and residue of kitty waste. It also makes for an easier clean when it comes time to replace the litter.
Litter needs to be replaced.
Eventually, and occasionally, washing the litter box completely and replacing old litter with fresh litter is a must. I know it’s tedious but I’ve witnessed some pretty pungent and overpowering litter box situations while cat sitting. The ammonia levels can almost seem toxic if the litter box isn’t kept on top of.
Clean the litter box daily. DAILY. You wouldn’t want to keep using a bathroom that had waste in it, would you? It’s also better for your cat’s health to have a clean environment to do their business in. Your kitty has to breathe in the dust and fumes from it’s litter box. Help them stay healthy. This is one of the main reasons I am not a fan of perfumed/scented litter products. Not only do they have extra chemicals added to them- the smell is often nauseating and does nothing to fix the issue but rather exacerbates the problem. Not only is your cat subjected to unnatural and overpowering chemicals every time it uses the litter (when kitty digs and kicks around in there, the perfume and dust are released), it definitely can’t be healthy for you, the human who has to clean the litter every day, either. We contend with enough chemicals and toxins on a daily basis, making them a part of your cat’s litter box and routine should be avoided!
So, closing off the litter box with a lid, using a liner, cleaning the litter daily, replacing the litter completely on a semi-regular basis and avoiding heavily perfumed litter and litter products are all measures that can be taken to maintain a clean and healthy litter box environment.
I don’t recommend using non-clumping litter, mainly because after all of these years of cat sitting and cat care- I still don’t understand the point of it. It doesn’t clump. It’s not easy to dispose of the urine and it needs to be filled/replaced more often than it’s clumping counterpart.
What brand does the cat sitter use for her cats? I did love ‘The World’s Best Litter’ when I had less kitties but dark floors and more cats were not conducive to its use. It’s also a pricy brand when you have more litter boxes to fill. I have found Odor Busters to be the cleanest, least dust-generating and most economical choice. I also have two large litter boxes with lids that I place in cat designed furniture (they look like night stands that the litter boxes live inside but there is access for cleaning them and a spot for the cats to enter and exit freely). No heavy perfume smells and much less tracking. My kitties don’t sneeze or have reactions from their boxes and I’ve heard more than once that my condo doesn’t smell like I have cats. That’s a profound statement for the mom of four felines. Controlling cat hair though… that’s another matter all together…..and one I have yet to master.