Cats are moody, playful and fluffy creatures. They’re capable of melting even the coldest of hearts. Owning a cat is a wonderful experience, and I for one wouldn’t trade it for the world.
However, being a cat parent isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. Along with their cuteness, cats also bring with them the dreaded litter box.
This is literally just a box full of your cat’s waste mixed with litter, which isn’t a pleasant sight. And unfortunately, it isn’t easy on the nose either!
I used to hate cleaning my cat’s litter box. But with experience and plenty of experimenting, I’ve actually learned how to tackle it. So, here I am today, ready to share my litter box cleaning secrets with you.
To keep your cat litter station clean, you need to set it up in a certain way. Right from picking the litter to getting mats, everything you do will have an impact.
Here are some of the things you need to consider for keeping the litter box clean –
You should pick a litter box based on your cleaning convenience, and of course, your cat’s behavior. Biodegradable litter boxes are a good option. Plastic litter boxes are also quite durable and easy to clean.
Some owners prefer lids over the box, but I personally find the open ones better. The good thing about open litter boxes is that there’s no trapped odor.
It’s also wise to get a litter box with high sides. This will prevent waste and litter from spilling over to the floors. The litter box should also be large enough for your cat to move around. This will make it easier for it to bury its waste.
Most cats are a bit picky about litter. So, the type you use will depend completely on them. However, you’ve got to decide based on your lifestyle as well.
Different types of litter need different maintenance. For example, clumping litter needs daily scooping. But if you do use clumping litter, you only need to refill once a month.
Non-clumping litter, on the other hand, needs daily solid scooping but weekly litter refills. Recycled paper litter is also a good option. This is inexpensive, dust free and super absorbent. But you’ll need to refill it frequently.
You should have just the right amount of litter in the litterbox. Too little will mean poop and urine all over the box.
However, too much will make its way out of the box. The idea is that your litter box should have enough litter to enable digging of deep holes, but not so much that it spills over.
Generally, you should be pouring out 2-4 inches of litter into the box. Instructions are usually written in the packages, so you can always follow that. But definitely adjust according to what you need.
Get a large mat and place it below the litter box. In fact, get more mats and place them at every doorway. This will save you a lot of trouble when cleaning.
Whatever litter does fall, will be caught on the mat. It’s also the first thing your cat will step on after going to the toilet. So, any poop, litter or pee on its paws will rub off on the mat.
These mats will keep all the litter dirt in check. Make sure your mats are easy to wash and durable. Try getting plastic mats instead of other materials. These are waterproof and easy to wipe clean.
Before adding litter, sprinkle some baking powder onto the box. This will keep the odor in control. You can also add a charcoal filter at the bottom, which also works well.
Another solution for the stink is to get deodorizers or air neutralizers. These are manufactured with special ingredients to tackle the litter box smells. Never spray air freshener because this will just mask the scent, not remove it.
Certain litter brands also focus on absorbing the stink, which is something you have to experiment with. But always avoid scented litter options because they’re not a feline favorite. They’re also not very efficient and only add a different smell to the mix.
For some weird reason, dogs love cat litter boxes. They’ll sniff around and sometimes even eat the litter. This is extremely toxic for them. And of course, dogs being around litter boxes are always a messy affair.
The best thing you can do is get a dog proof litter box. This is the easiest and most convenient way to keep your dog away. You should also keep the litter box in a place your dog can’t access it. Higher up places are a good idea.
Cats can jump, but dogs don’t really have those ninja skills. So you can even consider setting up short baby gates to keep your dog away. And of course, keep the litter box cleaned regularly. Dogs actually get attracted to the accumulating poop.
Now that you’ve learned about the preparation, we can finally move on to the cleaning. Here’s how you should be cleaning the litter box, in a routine manner.
There’s a lot of things that go on in our lives. For most of us, cleaning the cat’s litter box is hardly a priority and can certainly wait. But if you truly want your litter station to be clean and fresh, you shouldn’t skip even a day.
Make sure you set aside sometime every day to do the necessary cleaning. This can be after brushing your teeth, after meals or even after feeding your cat. Schedule the monthly washes, refills and yearly box replacements as well.
To keep the litter box clean, there are certain things you’ve got to do every day. Here’s a breakdown to make things easier –
By scooping, I mean getting rid of the poop and urine clumps. Yes, this has to be done at least once, every day. And if you want your litter box to be the epitome of cleanliness, you should consider scooping twice or even more.
Letting solid waste accumulate is unhygienic, not to mention very stinky. It also puts your cat off using the litter box, causing it to carry out its business elsewhere.
A lot of litter is thrown away when scooping out the solids and liquids. The litter is also used up when your cat digs and covers up its waste.
Having enough litter is important, or there will be a waste all over the box. So always remember to refill the litter after scooping. You’ve also got to top the box with new litter every 2 or 3 days.
You don’t have to clean the litter box thoroughly on a daily basis. But you shouldn’t completely ignore it until your weekly clean either.
Try to wipe the litter box edges and cover every day with a bit of soapy water. You should also sweep the mat placements daily.
Make sure to wash the scoop whenever you use it. And of course, keep it in a plastic bag to avoid other things from getting contaminated.
To keep the litter box hygienic, clean and odorless, you’ll have to do some intensive weekly maintenance. Here’s the list of activities you should schedule-
Once a week, you’ll need to get rid of all the old litter and replace it with new litter. Pour the litter in a plastic bag that can actually bear the weight.
Tie the bag properly and then dispose of the litter into the garbage. Some types of litter can be flushed. But it’s not a good idea to do this for your weekly cleaning sessions.
Every week your litter box will need a deep clean. After emptying the litter, add some disinfectant and baking soda to the box.
Leave it to soak for at least 10 minutes. Wash this off and dry with some paper towels. Then, wash the box again with hot water and detergent, and scrub it with a brush.
You should also spray a solution of 1 cup bleach and 1-gallon water onto the box. This will get rid of germs and smells. Let the box dry out in the sun for no less than an hour.
When you bring the box back inside, rinse it again so that you know for sure all the residue is gone. Finally, wipe it again with paper towels and let it dry.
Cleaning litter is annoying, but unavoidable when you own a cat. The task becomes worse when you put it off for long periods of time.
The key is to clean regularly and be smart about your litter box choices. If you follow the advice in this article, rest assured your litter cleaning experience will be a whole lot better.
So don’t let a little poop and pee scare you away. Go be the responsible person you are and get to cleaning!
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