Our kitties are amazing creatures. They deserve the best and the best litter box is one way to show your kitty how much you care. The litter box is a very important tool in cat maintenance. The litter box is an indicator of your cats health and when maintained properly everybody is happy.
Before we begin our investigation of litter box and litter options I would like to review my opinion on litter box etiquette. I believe that the open litter box is the best way to keep track of your cats health. I have eight cats and eight litter boxes. They are cleaned several times a day or when somebody sees something that needs cleaning. Open litter boxes allow a cat owner to observe their cats using the box and this can allow you to detect problems before they get serious.
Litter Box Problems
There are several litter box problems that cat owner’s encounter. To begin with it must be established if there is a medical problem, a behavior problem or an owner’s problem.
Peeing Outside The Box
This issue has the three problems we discussed. First it could be a medical problem. A urinary tract infection will cause your cat to pee where they sit. It is a good idea to watch your kitty pee and notice if there is any struggling or crying. This will require a vet visit and is curable, but it must be caught early to prevent organ damage. Later as I discuss different types of litter I will give a short discussion on diagnostic cat litter.
A behavioral problem can be caused by a dirty litter box, a new kitty or a kitty that needs spaying or neutering as an intact cat tends to do its natural marking. A litter box must be cleaned regularly. This means frequent scooping along with regular washing and sterilizing of the litter box.
Cat Declawing is an unnecessary procedure that is nothing more than animal cruelty. It is of no benefit to the cat and causes behavioral issues. Tender paws are unable to dig in the litter and the kitty will look for softer places to pee. Please follow this link for more information on declawing.
This odd paragraph is probably causing readers to ask why is this important. The importance of your kitties fecal quality is an indicator of your cats health. A good resource for this is to refer to the Purinal Fecal Chart and you can use this to describe to your vet what your cat is doing. Anything from worms to a poor diet will give your kitty diarrhea. A cat with a proper stool is a happy cat.
Living with multiple cats makes watching each cat difficult, however it is worth the effort to monitor your cats. I would like to note that the open litter box is the best way to keep track of your cat’s health.
The Litter Box Options
Picking a litter box for your kitty is not hard. I am going to provide some Amazon options for you to help make your choice. Don’t forget to purchase a scoop for sifting the good litter from the dirty litter.
Decisions that need to be made will be based on the size, age and physical condition of your cat. Litter box training will be easy. I have provided litter boxes for cats ranging from just weaned kittens to seniors. All I had to do was set up a box and the adults immediately used it. For the kittens I set them in the box once and training was over.
Big cats need big boxes. If you have large cats like Maine Coons a large box is mandatory. My big cats weigh 16 pounds and when they get in the box if their head is touching the front of the box their must be enough room so that their bum is well inside the box. I have used large stacking plastic containers for litter boxes and this works great as it reduces the litter that gets kicked out. These containers are better for the big cats, but they must be agile enough to jump over the side.
Older cats with mobility issues need a box with lower sides. Their may come a time when you have to lift your cat into the box, however until that time they will need a box they can step into. When your kitty gets older and they can not groom themselves as well it will be necessary to wash them as required. My long haired cats go to the groomer to get their backsides trimmed to prevent matted hair and dirty bums. Regardless of your cats fur length they still might get cling-ons. I just wipe them with a cloth and all is fine. Wash your hands when you are done.
Small Cats or Kittens
Obviously the small cats need a box with lower sides. There are boxes available with tall sides and an opening that is set lower so it is available to greater range of cat sizes.
Self Cleaning Litter Boxes
The self-cleaning litter box is an option. I have never used one, however I believe that it will not reduce your work load as this unit will need service too. If your cat gets diarrhea will you notice? Then the automatic scoop will get plugged and will need cleaning as well. I would investigate this option thoroughly as they are expensive. Please read the reviews from Amazon.
Enclosed Cat Litter Furniture
There are several sizes and styles of enclosures available for you to hide your litter box and reduce tracked litter. If you do not mind a visible litter box there are mats that you can place your litter box on to help contain the litter that sticks to your cats feet.
Types Of Litter
The general rule of the litter box is to have a litter box for each cat plus one extra. Litter boxes should be cleaned often. This includes regular scooping and then on the schedule of your choice the boxes should be emptied, washed with hot soap and water. Be sure to scoop into the corners and any ridges on the bottom of the litter box. Then a sprinkling of baking soda and replaced with a layer of new litter. The litter should be about three inches deep. If your kitty is digging to the bottom of the litter tray to cover there is not enough litter.
Clumping Cat Litter
I use Purina Clumping Litter This is a multi cat product with Glade odor control and is available from Amazon. The Purina product is relatively dust free and I recommend this product. I have read stories of kitties eating the lightweight clumping litter and filling their bellies with it. I have never used it, however I would be cautious with it until you can see there will be no issues.
I am also using a clumping litter from Wundercat. It is not available everywhere, but we actually received it by accident when we ordered Wundercat Pine pellets cat litter. We found that the cats like it and went to it immediately. I don’t like the fact that it is dustier than the Purina product. Some cat owner’s find the dust from clay litters unacceptable and have gone to a wood product cat litter. I tried wood chips for a while. The kitties used it but the wood chips got everywhere and after a while it looked as if I was building furniture in the house.
Pine Pellet Cat Litter
I have three litter boxes with Pine Pellet cat litter. It is a Wundercat product. Not all the cats use it, but those that do seem to be using it regularly. It has good odor control and last a long time. When the cats pee the pellets turn to dust and when I scoop out the feces the dust goes to the bottom of the box. We clean the pine litter boxes regularly by scooping and saving the good pellets. I reuse the good pellets and add fresh pellets as necessary. If necessary throw the whole batch away and sterilize the litter box and refill with fresh pellets. There is no tracking of the pine pellets as they do not stick to the cat’s paws. I would think that this litter would not be liked by a cat with sensitive paws such as a declawed cat as the pellets are course to dig in. Amazon does not supply the product I use, however I have found an Amazon product that should work nicely.
Diagnostic Cat Litter
There are diagnostic cats litters available so that you can monitor your cats urine pH or level of acidity. These litters are coated with a specialized pH detector that changes color when your cats urine touches it. There will be a handy chart where you can reference the color change and then take this information to your vet. I was unable to find a product on the Amazon website so here are three products for you to look for in your local area. They are (1) PrettyLitter (2) Perfect Litter and (3) Ultra Monthly Monitor. If you have multiple cats it will be necessary to have your test cat have sole use of the diagnostic litter for accuracy of the test.
Cat Litter Disposal
Most cat owner’s have to dispose of their cat litter in the household trash. This is fine, however do not make your trash cans too heavy as they might not get picked up. Due to the smell and the fact that clay cat litter takes a long time to decompose I would not put it in the garden or compost bin. I live on a large acreage so I can just spread it in the bush and let it naturally compost.
Handling used kitty litter is usually not a problem. If the person cleaning the litter boxes is sensitive to dust wearing a dust mask will be a solution. Pregnant mummies might be concerned about Toxoplasmosis. This is a disease caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which can be found in garden soil and raw meat. This disease can be passed to humans through the dirty litter. Pregnant mummies and immunocompromised people with cats who cannot get someone else clean the litter box for them should wear gloves, clean the litter box promptly twice a day and wash their hands when finished. Follow this link for more information on Toxoplasmosis. Please do not get rid of your kitty because you are pregnant. Talk to your doctor and veterinarian if you are concerned.
Finding the best litter box will be determined by what suits your life style and your cat or cats. I prefer an open box and scoop regularly. It really is important to observe your cats using the litter box and catch any problems before the kitty gets sick. I have provided several items for your review. Be sure to check all the options Amazon has to offer. Do not be afraid to call your vet and get advice if necessary. No amount of internet advice is better than a qualified veterinarian’s opinion.
That’s my story for today. Please leave a comment or critique below and have a wonderful day. Now hug a kitty and do something green for the environment. Don’t forget to check out my Cat Care Products page for something for that special kitty.
Before I go I would like to introduce you to Miss Kitty. She was rescued last week in Ottawa, Ontario and save from a week of very cold Canadian weather. She is now living in the house and will be expecting two babies at the end of February which was revealed by Ultra Sound during the vet visit.
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