The ideal setup is a hot topic. Cats inappropriately eliminating outside the box is a common complaint among owners affecting up to 24% of cats in their lifetime. There may be a medical reason for this so a visit to your veterinarian is warranted. But if ditching the box is related to your feline’s bathroom preferences, the results gathered from research may give you the answers for a purr-fect feline bathroom renovation!
Get the scoop on how to create the purr-fect litter box experience!
Feel: Fine Sand
Who doesn’t like long walks on the beach? The clumping and scoopable litter types are most similar to a finely grained sand-like texture most cats prefer.
Smell: No thanks, just unscented will do.
Cats have a keener sense of smell, and the perfumes or scents added to litters we may appreciate can turn them away. There has been no study done on scents associated with litter yet, but when just scents were studied cats avoided the citrus and floral scents. You’ve been warned!
For odor control, a study found cats preferred litter with activated carbon over sodium bicarbonate.
Dust: Less is best!
Litters have different dust levels depending on the brand and quality. With scooping and pouring, dust levels can even be too much for us and irritate our airways.
Size…bigger is better!
Make sure your cat has plenty of room to do their business. Most traditional litter boxes are too small for comfort. Under the bed storage containers are a fav!
Be aware of how high the sides are so it isn’t too challenging for kittens or arthritic felines to climb into.
Uncovered versus covered
One study showed there really is no preference. Out of 28 cats, when using the same litter and daily cleaning, 4 preferred covered and 4 liked uncovered, the rest used both. So let your cats choose!
Self-cleaning litter box?
Sounds great, but keep in mind these can be noisy, run on the smaller side and are challenging to keep clean.
- Find an area that has some privacy, is quiet and easy to access for your cat. If you don’t, your cat will choose the perfect spot.
- Avoid near appliances that make loud noises and create vibration such as the laundry room.
- Take into consideration the different levels and size of your house. Where does your cat spend most of their time? If your cat has arthritis, heading to the basement or upstairs may be challenging.
- Each litter box should have its own location and not be in the same area as their food and water. Who likes to dine in the bathroom?
- Cats are meticulous about their hygiene, so you need to be the same about their litter box if you expect them to use it.
- Scoop it at least daily and add more litter as needed.
- Periodically, do a thorough clean where litter is completely changed and the box is cleaned with a mild soap.
- Replace old boxes with new ones.
- The rule of thumb is 1 more litter box than the number of cats using them.
Remember…cats are individuals, so what satisfies the majority of cats may not work for yours. It can be beneficial to offer a variety of bathroom setups for a limited time to let your cat choose their favorite. Just be creative and sensitive to their needs and hopefully you won’t find any more surprises outside the box.