Cat Litter Box Basics

Are you a new cat owner? If so, read through these cat litter box basics so you’ll be prepared for your new kitty.

If you’re an experienced cat person, this might give you a fresh look…

Cat boxes can get pretty nasty if you don’t keep on with them.

Here’s some easy tips to keep your kitty happy and the cat box tidy!

Cat Litter Box Basics

  1. Size. Size matters. The cat box should be longer and wider than your cat. If the box is too small the cat might miss pottying in the box.
  2. High Sides. Taller cats require higher sided cat boxes (unless you don’t mind cat pee landing on your wall and floor). An added bonus for a higher-sided cat box is that it’s harder for your cat to kick litter over and onto the floor.
  3. Weekly Clean Outs. It’s important to remove all the litter once a week or so and use an appropriate cleaner to wipe down the insides. A simple solution is vinegar and water but there’s commercial brands on the market you can try as well. Make sure to dry the cat box out thoroughly before you replenish with clean cat litter.
  4. Cat Litter Type. Recycled newspapers, ground up coconut husks, clay type, scoopable type…there’s something for eco-friendly cat parents and for the good old-fashioned clay cat litter users. Whatever you buy, remember that cats have to breath while they stand in the litter so the dustier it is, the harder and is for them to breath. And the harder it is for us humans who have to clean out the dusty litter pans 🙂
  5. Scoop Matters. Our advice is to buy a metal scoop versus a cheap plastic brand. Yes, plastic is cheaper but it’s also more flexible and flexibility is not what you want when you’re scraping up cat poop and pee. Remember to clean the scoop periodically so an accumulation of cat waste doesn’t stick to it.
  6. Containment Methods. Use a good old fashioned brown paper sack or something fancier like a Litter Genie. Dispose of cat waste in your regular trash can unless your municipality has different ordinances/laws about poop.
  7. Wall and Floor Protection. After years of cleaning cat boxes, we’ve discovered that it’s best to put some type of barrier between the cat box, wall and floor. Do this by going the cheap route and getting cardboard and laying a large piece under the box and up against the wall. That way litter that’s kicked out lands on the cardboard, not the wall or floor. Or go a fancier route and put a large piece of linoleum under the box and up the wall. Either way you might have to tape the material in place or your cat might scratch at it. Keep cat boxes away from carpet if at all possible. Cat litter gets embedded in the carpet fibers and it’s difficult to keep clean. Plus the smell is horrendous if the cat pees on it.
  8. Clean Hands. Always wash your hands after cleaning, scooping or refilling the cat box.
  9. How Many Cats? Try to have one extra cat box than the number of cats you have. Put the boxes in various places in your house if possible so your cat gets in the habit of going in one of them versus on the floor.
  10. Size Up as Kittens Grow. If you’re adopting a new kitten, you’ll want a smaller cat box with shorter sides so he can walk in and out easily. Make it as simple as you can for the kitten to find the potty spot and you’ll thank me later. Also, as cats age, you might need to revert from a taller sided box to a shorter sided one. Why? They can develop arthritis or other problems which can make it uncomfortable to hike their legs over and into the box. Older cats often pee outside of the box, not on purpose, but because mobility issues or sight problems. It’s not just men and boys that miss the toilet, believe me!! Keep an extra layer of protection around the bottom and sides of older cats to prevent pee from ruining your floor and wall.


A Few More Cat Tips!

  • Invest in a nice dust pan and broom if the box is on linoleum or hardwood floor.
  • Use a vacuum with attachment once a week to clean all litter from baseboard area.
  • Wipe down walls around the cat box weekly. The dust from the cat litter rises and lands on everything in the room. Frequent dusting will keep the room smelling clean.
  • Buy some baking soda! Baking soda helps neutralize the ammonia in cat pee. Sprinkle some in the box each time you clean it.
  • Invest in good pet odor and stain removing cleaner. Trust me. Accidents happen.

There you go, some simple cat box tips that will help your kitty stay happy and your house cleaner. Adjust as necessary and message us if you have any questions.

Need Cat Sitting in Muncie, Anderson, Yorktown or New Castle, Indiana?

We can help. Call us at 765-744-5688.

Off to clean a cat box,

Kelley Stewart, CEO|Pet Sitter
sit-stay-play In-home pet sitting & more.LLC
“Your pet sitting, dog walking, poop scooping specialists!”

P.S. Read more about our cat sitting services here.