If you don’t try to keep your cat(s) litter box clean, it can easily be the cause of all sorts of “surprises” outside the litter box. So a properly cleaned litter box is what is required. It doesn’t just stop by scooping, so here is my guide in how to properly clean your litter box.
One of the biggest reasons that cats end up at shelters is because of the problem of elimination outside the litter box. People are fed up with their cat not doing their business on the cat litter box, but instead on that rug, the carpet, against the wall or door etc.
Causes of Elimination Outside the Litter Box
Eliminating outside the litter box is most likely caused by an external factor. Even though you might hate your cat by now, it doesn’t mean he is just hating you as well and has this grudge willingly against your carpet, door, sofa and so on.
3 Common Causes:
- Health issues
- Dirty cat litter box
Perhaps not something you thought about straight away, but a health issue can cause outside the box elimination. It is a good idea to always make sure that you know whether there is nothing underlying on the health side of the story.
When your cat is experiencing a lot of stress, he/she will also could have more problems with elimination. But even worse, they might start to spray and mark themselves on furniture, walls and doors, because they are being territorial about their environment. With stress related issues, it might be an idea to install a special pheromone diffuser from Feliway into your house to calm y
Dirty Cat Litter Box
According to many other sites, cats hate stinky and dirty litter boxes. I do believe they have a need to have a regularly cleaned box, but I don’t believe it needs to be spotless either all the time. There is also a scent and pheromone in cats urine and cats feces that tells them and others that this is their property and their place to eliminate.
This is then also the reason why they return to the same spot elsewhere in your house, such as the corner of your room, if you do not properly clean cat urine from surfaces.
But all cats are different I guess and some might want it cleaner than others. I cannot really speak for another person, since we got more than 2 cats at home.
How To Properly Clean Your Litter Box
To properly clean your box and to keep it clean there are the following guidelines:
- Scoop 1-2 times a day
- At least once a month total clean-out
Scooping 1-2 Times A Day
When you just have placed the litter box, you will need to scoop away the eliminations ideally once to twice a day.
Some picky cats will even want you to clean the box every time they have been on it. Unless you work from home, scooping every time right after your cat has been doing its business on the litter box is a nearly impossible thing to do.
To make scooping away the eliminations easy, it is important to use the right type of cat litter. If you have a cat litter that clumps, it will be easy to remove both feces and fluids as clumps of clay. Non clumping cat litter means you will only be able to remove feces from the box and you will have to renew the cat litter more often to clean away urine.
At Least Once A Month A Total Clean-out
At least once a month that stinky box needs to be cleaned properly. We are no longer talking about a simple scoop job. Now the entire litter box contents can be emptied and thrown away. The empty box needs a proper wash down and when it is dried up again and shining clean, it can be filled with new cat litter.
You can use the following guideline:
- Clean out the contents into a waste bag, scrub where necessary
- Wash the litter box with warm water and a detergent (soap)
- Spray the box inside and outside with a mixture of chlorine and water 1:32 (1 cup bleach to 1 gallon of water)
- In sunny weather: let the sun dry it; otherwise use paper towels to dry the box
- Fill with new cat litter until the marking (halfway usually)
Clean out the Contents
Even if you got litter that can be flushed down the toilet, do not dump the entire cat litter box contents in your toilet. It will cause clogging of your plumbing. So just empty it into a strong plastic bag, knot or close the bag and take it to your garbage container. Possible urine or feces might gotten stuck to the bottom of the box. Use a scooping tool to scrub it loose and also dispose of it.
Wash the Litter Box
Wash it thoroughly inside and outside with warm water and soap. I suppose any soap is good, but preferably something like dish washing soap or a scrubbing cream (we got Jif here). Rinse it with water afterwards.
A mixture of chlorine and water (1:32) will take care of all the remaining bacteria and you will be left with a clean litter box. Thoroughly spray all inside sides and outside sides so that it is entirely covered with the spray.
If it is absolutely sunny and summer in your country, than you can use the power of the sun to dry the cat litter box. That air drying is often the best to get properly rid of all the bacteria and left-behind smells. If you are however in a hurry or the weather is bad (or it is winter perhaps), you can also dry it with paper towels.
You can now refill the box with fresh cat litter and your cat can do its business again without having to worry about getting dirty.
If you happen to monitor your cats urine, than it is the best time to do that before you refill your cat litter. Simply fill the box with the special sand that collects the urine so that you can read your cat’s health.
After the monitoring job is done, you can refill the box with fresh cat litter.
And that is how you properly clean a cat litter box!
How has your experience been with cleaning of litter boxes? How are your cats faring? Any litter box issues? Leave your comment below.