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Everything you need to know about litter boxes and cat litter

How often should you change the litter tray? How can you prevent odours? Find out this and more with our guide to cat litter boxes.
Kitten by a litter box

How often should the litter box be emptied?

You need to empty the litter box at least once a day. Some cats really don't like a dirty box, so you may need to empty it more often.

Once a week you should clean the box more thoroughly and scrub it out. Often it is enough to scrub with hot water, if cleaning agents are used it is important to choose one that's harmless to cats. Cats can also be sensitive to strong smells such as lemon-scented cleaning agents and then decide to toilet elsewhere.

How often should the cat litter be changed?

Change the cat litter so that it is always dry and clean. Cat litter should be soft and fine-grained. The type of cat litter you use affects how often it needs to be changed. If the cat litter is not clumping, a good rule of thumb is to change it once a week. Clumping cat litter can be changed once a month.

Common litter box mistakes

  • The edges of the box are too high or too low for your cat
  • Cleaning with a substance that has a strong smell
  • The litter box is placed too close to the food and water bowl
  • Your cat can't easily reach the tray
  • The litter box is emptied too rarely
  • The litter box is too small
  • Not enough litter boxes

Where should you put the litter box?

Place the litter box in a place that the cat can always get to and somewhere your cat can be alone. Place the boxes strategically so your cat is never too far away.

Leave the litter box in the same place. Your cat will quickly get used to where it is and can run there when it needs to. Your cat will expect the box to be in the same place, if it's moved it may still toilet where the box used to be.

How many litter boxes are needed?

As a rule of thumb, you should have a litter box for each cat, plus one. So for two cats, you'd likely need three litter boxes. Some cats prefer to have two litter boxes, a pee box and a poop box.

Counteract bad odours

Sprinkle some bicarbonate in the cat litter when you clean the box. Bicarbonate neutralises odours and help it to stay smelling more 'fresh'.

Cat not using the litter box?

If your cat doesn't want to go on the box, it's a good idea to do some checks - some cats can defecate outside the box due to illness and then a vet needs to examine the cat. If illness is ruled out, you can try moving the litter box, switching to another type of litter box or changing cat litter to see if they'd prefer something different.

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