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What is the Best Way to Clean Your Litter Box?

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

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What is the Best Way to Clean Your Litter Box?

What is the best way to clean your litter boxes (also known as litterboxes, litter pans or litterpans)?

Every cat lover with a litter box needs to clean it but don't really think about the right way to clean a litter box.

Cleaning the litter box has two parts. One is the daily scooping to remove waste and the other is physically cleaning and scrubbing the box. A lot of owners only do the first part but the second is really important too.

First – how often should you scoop?

This depends on 3 things: how many cats you have, how many litter boxes you have, and the type of litter. The rule of thumb is that the more cats and fewer boxes you have, the more frequently you need to clean. Most scoopable clay litters should be scooped free of clumps on a daily basis and changed entirely once a month.

Other types of natural litters such as pine, wheat, and newspaper should be scooped daily as well, but may need to be changed more frequently (every 2-3 weeks).

Silica crystal litters are made to absorb urine so clumps are usually scooped daily and the crystals mixed to disperse any liquid. These should be changed every 2 to 4 weeks depending on their use.

Clay litters that aren't scoopable need to be changed completely when they are cleaned; depending on use they can be changed daily to weekly. There should not be more than 5 clumps in the box between cleanings.

KEY POINT: Litter boxes should be scooped daily.

How often should the litter box be scrubbed?

Scooping is one form of litter box maintenance, but cleaning the box itself is another. Litter boxes should be totally cleaned and scrubbed monthly at least. This means emptying out all the litter, scrubbing the box clean, and filling the box with fresh litter. (If you use liners, this is when you will want to put in a clean one.)

Cleaning the box doesn't have to be a complicated process. You can use a mild dish soap and good scrub brush to wash. (Make sure to label the brush for litter box use only.)

It is important not to use harsh disinfectants or cleaners on the litter box. Some cats may be repulsed by traces of chemicals and refuse to use the litter box, so be sure to rinse the box very well after cleaning. Allow it to air dry and fill with new litter.


I hope this helps you to understand how to better clean your cat's litter box.


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