Litter Box Resolution for Cats

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- Karen Kardwell, 1/18/2017

Let's keep our cats healthy!  As the New Year gets underway and people are making their resolutions for health, we need to be aware of that our adored feline companions also could use a resolution of their own.  That is, a cleaner litter box!  But, they need a little help from us.

There is really very little variety in litter boxes.  Most have the same concept; a plastic shell case into which copious amounts of litter are dumped.  Waste is picked up with the sifting tool and the litter box is then considered clean.  Surprisingly, some experts state that if you scoop every day, you may only need to change the litter every two or three weeks!   It just doesn’t seem possible cats can go that long in a grubby box.The most common causes of death in older cats are kidney failure, cancer, and infectious disease (as in F.I.V).  Logically, you would have to think that the dirty litter box plays a role in kidney failure.  Going day after day in a urine filled box is certainly unsanitary if not unhealthy.  And, having multiple cats using the same box surely compounds the problem.  Compare a litter box to an outhouse.  Multiple people use it, it collects waste, and the conditions are recognized to be unsanitary.  Humans have been known to get diseases such as typhoid, dysentery and diarrhea from their dirty outhouses.  Certainly our cats are no less susceptible.

Here’s a tip for keeping the box fresh every single day.  And, a big bonus is, you will save money on litter.  Start with a standard litter box.  Any kind of litter box will do, and there really is no need for a cover unless you really feel the box is that much of an eyesore.  Line the box with three to four sheets of newspaper.  Then sprinkle about a cup of non-clumping liter over the newspapers, and that’s it.   Well, almost it.  Repeat this process every day and you and your cat will enjoy a cleaner, healthier, and hopefully longer life together.  Cleaning the box takes just as much effort as it does to scoop every day.  Pick up the box, toss the contents in the garbage pail, wipe down the box with a wet towelette (you may have to scrub on occasion) and re-add newspaper and litter.

Aside from keeping the box fresh, a couple more tips on cats and their potties:

  • + 1 box per cat.  If you have one cat, get two boxes.  Two cats, 3.
  • If you go with the new method of lining the box with newspaper, remember that cats can be very particular.  They may think they miss stepping in several pounds of dirty litter (they really don’t) and can refuse to use the new box set-up.   Be patient with your cat.  Try putting the cat in the box when you see them milling around their bathroom area.  Changing litter styles could require a retrain.
  •  Don’t overly clean with harsh chemicals.  Cats like to smell their own scent and will get put off by bleach and detergents.  A soapy mixture can work fine.

If you like the idea of saving money on kitty litter, and if you’d like to give your cat an excellent chance of eluding disease that may come with a dirty box, give the newspaper lining a try.

 

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