If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s a dirty litter box. I’m lucky because my human has obsessive compulsive disorder where she has to make sure the house is spic and span before she leaves, whether it’s to work, the gym or leaving town for the weekend. She cleans my litter box religiously first thing in the morning and when she gets home from work.
I feel grateful she does that, because I’ve seen and heard about some pretty dirty litter boxes other cats have to endure. One family she knows complains their cat doesn’t use the litter box and poops and pees all over the house. But upon visiting the home it was pretty obvious why. The box was only cleaned once per week. In my opinion, the cat had the right to go anywhere but the box. It was disgusting! Contrary to what some people believe, cats are extremely clean animals.
This topic is also near and dear to my heart because I am a former rescue cat. It pains me to see so many felines turned into animal rescue groups or shelters for litter box issues. Sometimes these issues start at kittenhood, where pet owners don’t make the litter box appealing for the cat to use by never cleaning it. Then they surrender the pet and claim the cat won’t use the box. But in cases where the cat is lucky enough to be adopted out to a new home that practices good hygiene, the litter box problems cease to exist.
A dirty litter box also causes a wide array of health issues, including bladder infections, urinary tract infections, bacterial infections and salmonellosis and parasite issues. If a cat doesn’t want to use a dirty litter box, it will often try to hold going to the bathroom as long as possible, which creates these health problems over time.
The best way to clean your box when you’re short on time
So what’s the best way to clean your litter box? Mom has tried many products over the years, and has finally come down with a system that works. She can clean my litter box in less than five minutes. First, she always has two litter boxes that she alternates. While one is being used, the other is clean. Every month, she changes out the litter boxes for a deep cleaning. That simply involves getting some bleach and scrubbing out the box. If you really want to save time and energy, you can use disposable litter boxes you can get just about anywhere. They come in a variety of sizes.
If not using disposable boxes, she sprays the plastic litter box with a spray called Litter Care. It’s a product not very well known yet, but she thinks it really helps keeping the box clean. It’s an anti-stick spray that helps litter just slide off the bottom and sides of the plastic box and onto your scoop or rake. There are litters out there that have this kind of spray incorporated into it but mom found this particular kind of litter spreads and tracks much worse than regular litter.
Once you add in your litter of choice, the litter should just slide into your scoop after your cat does its business. You may be wondering which litter is better… scoopable litter or non-scoopable (usually clay) litter? It’s really up to you and your cat. Just remember with non-scoopable litter, while cheaper, you need to completely dump out the litter daily or every other day.
Another tip is to have a litter mat underneath your litter box. I personally use the Pioneer Pets SmartCat Ultimate Litter Mat. Mom has tried at least ten different litter mats over the years and most aren’t that great. This litter mat has two layers, with the top layer being a rubber mesh so the litter falls in between and completely in the mat. To clean it, she just shakes it out outside. It’s also machine washable. At the entrance to the box, I have another small litter mat just to catch the litter from me getting in and out.
My litter scatter is pretty much contained within the two mats, but there’s always a little bit of litter around the box. Mom usually just takes a broom and sweeps it up quick, but she recently bought a new cordless, Dyson Animal Stick Vacuum and it’s been amazing. It hangs on the wall next to my litter box so she just grabs it and does a quick sweep.(It’s also amazing on pet hair and vacumming stairs.)
If you’re looking for a great way to store soiled litter until you take it to your trash can, the Litter Genie is also a pretty economical product to keep the smell and look of feces and urine contained.
Getting in the habit
Getting in the habit of cleaning your cat’s litter box daily will take time, diligence and the willpower to know you are helping your animal. They say it takes 30 days to develop a new habit, but in reality, research shows it really takes 66 days. In the productivity book the One Thing, authors Gary Keller and Jay Papasan believe people are successful because they have the right habits and focus on only one thing at a time. If you’re one of those people that doesn’t have cleaning your cat’s litter box down as a habit, don’t just make a resolution and say I’m going to clean “my cat’s litter box every day, twice a day.” Chances are, you’ll fail. You have to take baby steps to make habits successful. Focus on one thing at a time. If you’re only cleaning once per week now, start with doing it every other day, and after you’ve made that a habit, work on doing it every day.
With the new year officially here, it’s time to change, became the best pet owner you can be and develop new habits. Your cat needs you to help it be healthy and happy. There’s no better time than now. Here’s to cleaner litter boxes in 2019!
No affiliate links are used in this post. Farley never recommends products he doesn’t personally use. Some manufacturers did provide us free product for review.