Cat Litter Boxes and Best Cat Litter Options
For most cats, little to no actual cat litter training is necessary. Making the litter box attractive to your cat is the best way to get your cat to use the box regularly.
When setting up a litter box for your cat, consider:
• the type of cat litter used
• the size of the cat litter pan
• the frequency of cleaning of the cat litter box
• the location of the cat litter box
• whether the cat litter box is covered or lined
What Type of Cat Litter is Best?
With so many different types of premium cat litter available, choosing can be a daunting task.
Dr. Jacqueline C. Neilson, DVM, DACVB, a veterinary behavioral expert has researched cat litter box preferences extensively. In the March 2009 edition of Veterinary Medicine, she discusses her findings. According to Dr. Neilson,
• Most Cats preferred cedar scented litters over floral and citrus scented cat litters
• Pet Cats preferred litters which contained activated charcoal for odor control over litters containing sodium bicarbonate
• Some Cats preferred Fresh Step Scoopable cat litter over Arm & Hammer Super Scoop cat litter
• Cats preferred larger cat litter boxes over smaller litter boxes
Based on these findings, most cats prefer large cat litter boxes filled with cedar scented cat litter (or unscented cat litter) containing activated charcoal for odor control. Fresh Step Scoopable was mentioned specifically as a preferred litter for most cats in Dr. Neilson’s review.
Cleaning the Cat Litter Box
Keeping the cat litter box clean is essential. Heavily soiled litter boxes smell bad and may create a litter box aversion for your cat. Just as most people find a filthy public restroom distasteful to use, your cat will find using a dirty cat litter box unattractive.
Scoopable cat litters make cleaning easier for most owners, making it more likely that the cat litter box will be cleaned regularly as needed.
Solid waste should be removed from litter boxes at least once daily. Scoopable cat litter makes it possible to remove urine waste as well.
Cat litter should be replaced at least once per month if you are using the scoopable litter. Non-scoopable litter needs to be replaced weekly.
Automated cat litter boxes are another option which can make cleaning the box easier for the cat owner. Some cats do like the crystal cat litter these boxes contain and some cats do not. Make sure the sound of the automated cleaning function working does not scare your cat away from the litter box. The crystal cat litter in the automated cat litter box should be replaced monthly.
Location of Cat Litter Boxes
Cat litter boxes should be placed in quiet areas of the home where your cat is not likely to be disturbed while using the box.
If you have more than one cat, you should locate two or more litter boxes in different areas of the house.
If your cat is allowed on more than one floor in the house, a cat litter box on each floor is advisable.
Using Cat Litter Covers and Cat Litter Liners
Cat litter box covers are often favored by owners and some cats like them. However, cat litter covers can keep odors confined beneath the cover and make the box less attractive to your cat due to bad smells. This is particularly true if the box has not been cleaned in the recent past.
Cat litter box liners are convenient for cat owners when changing the litter in the box. Some cats, however, do not like the feel of the liner under their feet and may avoid the litter box because of liner.
Finding Out What Works Best for Your Cat
Ultimately, cats do not read cat litter reviews or behavioral study conclusions and may have preferences of their own. So to find out what your cat likes, we can use the information presented here as a starting point and giving your cat options
Supply your cat with two or more litter boxes and see which one he prefers based on which box he uses more frequently. Then, you should try different litters with different scents, different size boxes, and even various locations within the room. Try covering one litter box and leaving one box uncovered. Use a liner in one box and no liner in a second box.
With a little testing, you can determine your cat’s litter box preferences. Doing so will ensure that your cat always uses the box faithfully.