Our cats love us, and we love them back. There are few things we do that show this more clearly than when we stoop down to clean up after them. Maintaining a litter box may be a labor of love, but it can be easy to put off, especially when a pet parent isn’t sure how to clean a litter box in a way that’s best for their feline friend. Keeping the litter box clean may be more important than you think. But how frequently should you scoop the litter box and how should you dispose of the used cat litter? We’re here to answer your most burning questions when it comes to keeping your litter box clean.
Why It’s Important to Keep the Litter Box Clean
Keeping the litter box clean has some obvious benefits, like helping keep your home from getting too stinky and reducing litter tracking. That being said, keeping the litter box routinely tidy can also help your cat be healthier and happier.
If you’ve seen how much time your cat spends grooming herself, you know how much she values hygiene. Your cat will feel more comfortable using a clean litter box, meaning she’ll have healthier bathroom habits and will be less likely to go outside her box, which is better for everybody!
How Often Should You Scoop the Litter Box
To scoop or not to scoop? That’s a question many cat parents mull over when they see their cat leave the litter box. As we discussed, cats prefer a clean litter box and letting waste build up makes it less appealing for them to use.
Let’s be real, though – no one’s camped out by the litter box, ready to scoop. So how often should you aim to scoop the litter box? It varies based on the size, age, and the number of cats in the household. Generally speaking, however, you should aim to scoop the litter box once or twice per day. And if you have more than one cat, you should plan to scoop even more frequently.
How Often Should You Change Cat Litter
Now that you know how frequently you should scoop, let’s talk about the litter changing cadence. Replacing cat litter is a task that varies a lot based on what type of litter you use. For traditional clumping clay litter, emptying out the box and refilling it twice a week is a good rule of thumb. Other types of litter, like crystal litter, can be replaced less often due to better moisture absorption and odor control. And when used in a self-cleaning litter box, crystal litter can stay fresh for several weeks!
How to Dispose of Cat Litter
Like any animal waste, cat litter should be handled minimally and disposed of carefully. When changing litter in a traditional litter box, wear gloves when possible and place used litter in a sealed plastic bag.
When changing out the litter box, put used clay litter in a trash can; dumping outdoors or flushing litter down the toilet can cause problems in the environment (not to mention your plumbing.) Women who may be pregnant should never handle cat litter because of the risk of toxoplasmosis. And remember, always wash your hands after handling cat litter.
How Often Should You Wash the Litter Box
We’ve covered scooping and replacing litter. So what about the box itself? Traditional litter boxes should be cleaned with mild soap (or vinegar) and warm water. Litter boxes should be washed routinely to prevent odor and bacteria from building up on the surfaces.
If you have the time, it’s good to give a typical litter box a quick scrub-down every time you replace the litter, so once or twice a week for clumping clay litter boxes. Cleaning the box itself regularly will help you get more life out of the litter box and keep it from getting crusty (gross!)
Tips for Keeping Your Litter Box Clean
Whew! Between scooping, replacing litter, and cleaning the box, a traditional litter box can be a lot of hassle. We don’t mind the work for our whiskered buddies, but don’t you wish there was an easier solution?
Self-cleaning litter boxes are here to save the day. Depending on the type of self-cleaning litter box you choose, the chores of scooping, replacing litter and cleaning the box can be simplified, reduced or even eliminated completely! Less time spent maintaining the litter box translates to more time cuddling or playing with your cat, and that’s something we could all use more of every day.