Cat Litter Box

From a young age, cats have a strong instinct to void in sand or soil. Typically, cats dig to prepare a shallow hole. More digging usually follows to cover its waste. Cats exhibit a wide range of normal behaviors relating to elimination. Some normal cats do not cover waste, while other enthusiastically dig before and after voiding.

To encourage kittens to use the litter, gently place the kitten in the pan soon after each meal. If the kitten has had an accident outside the box, simply place the mess inside the box to help the kitten make the desired association. Punishment is never necessary, as kittens usually learn quickly. Avoid disturbing your cat while it is using the box and never punish it for any reason when it is near the box.

The Litter Box and Litter Materials

Many types of litter boxes and litter materials are available to cat owners. Litter boxes or pans are generally rectangular plastic containers. The box size should be large enough to comfortably accommodate an adult cat. The sides of the pan should be low enough for easy access by a kitten or an ailing adult cat. (For these cats you may consider replacing a standard litter pan with any suitable container.)

Care of Litter Box

The most important thing to encourage litter box use is cleanliness. Cats are very clean animals that avoid foul-smelling and damp places. Consider not what you think is clean, but what your cat considers acceptable. Change the litter completely and frequently at regular intervals, using the manufacturer's recommendation as a guideline. Each cat has its own tolerance of litter box contamination and may avoid using the box if it is too dirty. As a rule of thumb, provide one litter pan for every cat in your household. If you have more than one litter box, you may find that some are used more than others. This may reflect your cat's preference for location or dissatisfaction with litter hygiene, suggesting that you should reconsider box placement or change the litter more often. Cats in multi-cat households often share litter boxes, but some are less tolerant of soiled litter boxes. Though you may have several boxes in your home, you must keep them clean to ensure regular use.

Covered litter boxes are available in a variety of styles and may substantially reduce odors. Some litter covers have charcoal filters that further reduce odor. You can purchase a litter pan without a cover, but ask whether a cover may be added later, just in case.

A standard covered box requires the cat to step into an opening in the cover's front. Other models require the cat to enter and exit through an elevated opening. The top portion of a covered box can also be removed and placed upside down as an alternative litter pan for cats that tend to void over the edges or are unsteady because of age or illness.

Cats are not born with an instinct to eliminate on unnatural litter filler. Their natural choice is sand or soil. A wide variety of litter filler is marketed to attract the cat owner. In choosing a litter filler, consider first and foremost what your cat prefers. Some cats may have no preference, while others are surprisingly choosy. It is probably best to begin with a product that is basic and simple. The dust or scent of perfumed or deodorizing filler materials may be disturbing to some cats. Others may prefer fine sand-like filler or even shredded newspaper. If you decide on a new brand, your cat might adjust more smoothly if the two litters are mixed for a time.

Litter Box Location

Cats prefer to eliminate in boxes that are placed in a quiet location, such as a corner away from busy areas. Place the litter pan well away from a food dish or water bowl. It is important to never block access to the litter box. Consider placing an additional box at a different location.

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