The right box. The right cat litter. The right location. There are many considerations when setting up your cat’s litter box – and the answers aren’t always obvious. Luckily, we’re here to help you provide a set up your kitty will be comfortable with. Because if you get it wrong… well, we have answers for that, too.
What type of box?
Aside from the more traditional open cat litter box, here are some other litter boxes you may encounter:
Covered boxes are intended to provide your cat with more privacy and keep odor contained. However, some feel they actually do more harm than good. By reducing air circulation, the cat litter can take longer to dry and the contained odor may be unpleasant for the cat. The covered box can also make larger cats feel cramped and reduce their means of escape should they be ambushed by another animal.
Automated and self-cleaning boxes are meant to make life easier for everyone. But again, their effectiveness is questionable. As well as sometimes being noisy and uncomfortable, the actual cat litter surface can be quite small. Not to mention, the owner is now unable to actually see what’s happening in the box. Not pleasant, but vital to monitoring your cat’s health.
Households with multiple cats may accept sharing a litter box as very young kittens, but as they get older they will need separate facilities.
What’s the right size?
Buy a box to fit the size of your cat, not your home. The box needs to be large enough that your cat can use it several times without the risk of standing on already soiled cat litter. A general rule: your box should be one-and-a-half times the length of your cat.
Where should it go?
Picking a location for the cat litter box is an important part of making your cat comfortable. It needs to be placed somewhere convenient and obvious (consider any physical limitations they may have), somewhere safe (no risk of ambush) and, if you have more than one cat, away from other cats. You also need to make sure it’s away from their feeding area and in a well-ventilated part of the house – for obvious reasons.
What else do I need?
Some owners like cat litter box liners. These are designed to keep the box itself cleaner and make changing the litter easier. If you do plan to use liners, choose carefully – your cat’s claws can get caught, tearing the liner, and urine can seep through. Liners that are 2 mil thick are generally tear resistant, but it’s good to test and find out what works best for you and your cat.
Follow these basic rules and you’ll be well on your way to a happy kitty with a healthy bathroom routine. And once you find a spot for your litter that your cat is happy with, try not to move it.