How to Truly Clean Your Litter Box

If cat odors stemming from the litter box pervade your home, you only have yourself to blame. As the janitor of your cat’s litter box, the onus is upon you to keep it clean and odor free.

In fact, one of the primary reasons that cats lose their homes is because they won’t use their litter box. And most often (medical issues aside), the most common reason they avoid the litter box is because it’s filled with feces and clumped litter! Cats, by nature, are very clean creatures!

Keeping the litter box clean is very easy to do. In multi-cat households, the rule is one litter box per cat. And they should be positioned in different places, especially if there is any friction between cats in the household, because often if the boxes are lined up in a row, the cats consider them one box and avoid them all if other cats are in the vicinity. If inappropriate marking is the issue, try a calming collar or diffuser to modify this behavioral issue.

Litter boxes should be scooped at least once a day. In fact, I like to scoop several times a day to keep the sand really clean. And seriously, it takes less than one minute to scoop and bag the feline refuse. It’s also a really good idea to remove the refuse bags from inside bins directly into the yard so that no odors linger.

There is a huge variety of litter available and all offer odor control. It’s important to find one that suits your needs and that also your cat, as the end user, if you will pardon the pun, is comfortable using it.

Some of the litters on the market tend to be highly perfumed. While this may work for the humans in the household, often the perfumed smell is unpleasant to cats, which will result in them avoiding use of the box.

Baking soda sprinkled directly on to the sand in the box is a quick, efficient and nontoxic way to deal with odors.

It’s also important to maintain the level of the litter in the box to between three and four inches. Too little litter means that the urine and fecal matter often lands up in direct contact with the plastic bottom of the box and this, in turn, begins to smell.

Because cats have such a keen sense of smell, they can tell when the fecal and urine odor smells have invaded the plastic of the box and this can be a reason why they avoid the box. The answer is to wash out the litter box at least once a month with a dishwashing soap and sponge and leave it out to dry in the sun for a few minutes. Vinegar is another excellent cleaning agent to wipe it down with after the initial wash.

Even if you do have a regular cleaning schedule, odors will be absorbed in the plastic over time. So consider replacing your litter trays on an annual basis.

When people come into my home, there is no way of knowing that Fudge and Ziggy are in residence until they make an appearance. And that’s the way it should be in every feline household!

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