By taking a proactive approach, you can ward off any potential litter box problems. It’s better to set your kitty up for success now rather than trying to fix problems later. Here are several things you can do to keep you and your cat happy with the litter box set-up.
- Choose the right box – Fit the box to your cat. A large cat may not like a small box or a covered box because she won’t be able to maneuver inside it well. Also, cats need multiple ways to escape the litter box, and a covered box prevents an easy escape. Finally, be sure to take into consideration your cat’s mobility. An older cat with arthritis or hip problems may have trouble squatting, so a box with high sides may be just the solution.
- Choose the right litter – Though you may like a scented litter, your cat has a sensitive nose, and she may find that floral scent very unpleasant. You don’t want her to reject the box and ‘go’ somewhere else, so unscented litter is often the best choice. A layer of baking soda at the bottom of the box is all that’s needed to fend off odors.
- Use the correct amount of litter – Two to three inches of litter will allow kitty to dig and scratch but not toss a lot of litter outside the box. If your cat is a big digger, you may need up to four inches of litter. But beware – if you aren’t using clumping litter, the box could end up being very heavy, and difficult to pick up for cleaning.
- Stick to one litter – Once you find a litter your cat likes, stick with it. If kitty suddenly finds a new litter in her box, it could throw off her routine and she may decide not to use it.
- One plus one – It doesn’t sound like the most attractive feature in the home, but multiple cats require multiple litter boxes. There should be at least one litter box for each cat plus one extra, with each box located in different areas of your home.
- Location, location, location – Place the boxes in areas where your cat spends a lot of time. Don’t hide them in the noisy laundry room or in a corner of the garage. And if you have more than one cat, don’t place the boxes next to each other. Your cats need to feel safe to use the box without interruption. Finally, don’t place the box near the food and water bowls. Would you want to eat dinner in your bathroom?
- Show new cats where it is – When you bring a new kitty home, show her where the boxes are located. You may want to keep her confined to a specific area until she gets the lay of the land and knows where the boxes are.
- Keep it clean – Clean the litter boxes regularly. Cats are fastidious and if her box isn’t clean enough, she may choose to do her business elsewhere. Scoop at least once a day. It’s also a good idea to regularly dump the litter and scrub the empty box with unscented soap and water, then air dry.
- Sudden problems? See your vet – If your cat suddenly stops using the box, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to be sure there are no health issues causing the problems.