One thing that hugely differentiates cat parents from dog parents is that the latter can always take the dog out and have nature’s call answered outdoors. On the other hand, the former has to do all the business inside the house, since the toilet of cats is invariably indoors. But since cats are somewhat finicky about the litter box, it is on you to maintain the litter box up to his standards so that your cat’s poo does not mess up his or her own hygiene.
So the question remains, how often to change cat litter to maintain maximum hygiene? It actually depends. It is wise to clean the litter box weekly. But for older cats who do not defecate as often, the litter box can be cleaned monthly. Other deciding factors may include how many cats you have, the type of litter, their health, and your personal preferences.
In this article, you will learn the frequency of changing cat litter for the perfect ambiance at home for yourself and your cat.
How often to change cat litter?
You should change cat litter once per week if you are not scooping out frequently. On the other hand, if you scoop out the poo every time your cat poops, once every two weeks is good enough.
The best way to keep track of the “once every week” schedule is to change the litter on the same day, every week. When you are sticking to this routine, you will find the cleaning naturally comes to you without it feeling like a chore.
2 important variables let you decide on the time when cleaning the litter box is best:
Type of Litter
As you know, there are 2 kinds of litter that you could get for your cat: clumping and non-clumping. If you have a clumping litter in the box, it will absorb the urine and harden to be eventually easy for you to scoop out.
On the other hand, for non-clumping litter, the urine may accumulate under the litter in the box. The latter can do with less frequent changes while the former needs to change every time.
If your clumping litter has extra points like being made of odor-controlling ingredients or having scents in them, this will further extend your need of scooping or changing the litter.
Number of Cats
The more the cats, the more the feces you need to deal with. This increases your need for cleaning the litter box more often. However, there are litters that are particularly designed for households that have multiple cats with stronger odor-controlling ingredients that can increase the time between cleaning.
In this case, it would be wiser if you can train each cat to use their own litter boxes and schedule them all for once a week change, scooping as you go.
Do cats like it when you clean their litter box?
Yes. Cats do like it when you clean their litter box.
Cats like clean clean litter boxes. But since they can’t clean it themselves, they need you to clean it out. Your cat would definitely not like the idea of stepping into a dirty litter box each time, more so if you have a non-clumping litter in there. So your cat might be expecting you to clean it up when it gets too dirty.
Do cats get mad when their litter box is dirty?
Since all cats are different, you can’t tell if cats actually get mad when the litter box is dirty. While most prefer clean boxes, some cats may not be so pleased that you washed its poop area of the smell, so it might feel less of ‘belongingness’ for the box.
Some cats pee or pee near their litter boxes if they get too dirty for even them to defecate in. But some cats also want their own scents to hover around the litter box so that they know this is where they pee and poo. Also, some cats immediately pee in their litter boxes right after cleaning to mark it back as their own.
What happens if you don’t clean cat litter?
Not cleaning your cat’s litter as often may give rise to issues such as behavioral, psychological, and physical health problems.
Ctas often reject their litter boxes as their pee and poo spot if you neglect them for long and do not clean them. In that case, you may find them defecating adjacent to the litter box or elsewhere in the house, which is certainly cleaner than the poo box. This is not something that your cat does on purpose to irritate you.
But as the box is too clumped or too full of feces from past time, you would find them going so far as standing on the box but with their butt pointing out of the box as they mean to follow the instructions but not stand on dirty litter as they do so.
If your cat is constantly finding itself near an unclean litter box that remains dirty each time it comes to check for it, your cat will be unhappy, even irritated. Since cats are clean animals that always love to self-groom, the lack of tidiness in the litter box makes them unhappy.
If your cat finds a dirty litter box and continues to hold its pee as it does not want to urinate in the dirty area for long, it would give rise to diseases in the cat’s kidney.
For example, a cat continuing to hold its pee till the time you delay cleaning the box may cause the urine to become more concentrated with time in the bladder, and this could eventually form stones, plugs, or crystals in the kidney, causing Feline Urethral Obstruction in the cat. This can block the kidneys and be lethal to your cat’s health.
Another two common diseases that cats have include UTI and Bladder Inflammation, both of which are caused by infrequent pees. And this is not something that you would notice in the cat’s behavior unless you are keeping an eye out on him every time he pees.
So when your cat reduces its frequency of peeing and you can match it with the litter box being dirty, you will know it is time for a cleanse of the box.
How Cat Poop Can Affect Your Health
Cat poop has an infectious parasite in it called the Toxoplasma gondii. This parasite can cause toxoplasmosis in pregnant women and in those bodies which have a weak immune system.
This may result in deterioration in the eyes and nervous system of humans and give rise to a plethora of diseases as the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports. Other common diseases that may result from the parasite include schizophrenia, OCD or obsessive-compulsive disorder, and rheumatoid arthritis. In extreme cases, it may even cause brain cancer.
How do I keep the litter box from smelling in my house?
To keep the litter box from smelling in your house, you should scoop the poop out daily, replace the litter weekly, use deodorizers and place the box in a ventilated room.
Scoop poop daily
Not just poop, you should also scoop up clumped-up pee in the litter daily. You might think that you want to do it at the end of the day when your cat is done with all the business.
But if the smell in your home has been increasing cat feces, it is time you start scooping out the dirt each time your cat defecates or urinates. While the old ones aren’t that pungent, this practice will prevent the smell from harboring on the rest of your house, especially if you use the non-clumping litter.
Replace litter weekly
Now you may think that since you are scooping out the pee and poo of your cats daily, you can extend the time till which the litter stays in the box as all the dirty litter is going out of it every day. But to keep the odor at a minimum, it would be wiser if you replaced the litter weekly with the once-a-week schedule practice we told you of before.
Because, even with clumping litter, you are bound to miss a little bit of poo and pee which may remain in the litter. To control the smell, you should change the entire litter weekly and wash the box with warm soap and water solution and follow this with fresh litter in the box.
Replace litter box yearly
Even with the practices above, you should change the entire box that your cat defecates or urinates on, at least yearly. Your scooper can make unseen grooves in the box which are harder to sterilize by the method mentioned above. So you wouldn’t be able to control the smell if you didn’t change the box entirely.
Using baking soda or cat-friendly litter deodorizer in the litter box can help you control the smell going on inside the house. Each time you scoop out used-up litter in the box, you could sprinkle the dry deodorizer inside the box for odor control.
Do not place your cat’s litter box in a corner where it is dark and congested in order to control the smell. Keeping it in a well-ventilated area instead will help the ammonia pass out outdoors instead of lurking around inside your house.
Is it bad to have a cat litter box in your bedroom?
Yes. It is bad to have your cat’s litter box in your bedroom or close to where you sleep. Besides the smell of cat poop, the parasite inside is harmful to humans to be near to.
So if it is possible for you, do not keep your cat’s box inside your bedroom. However, if you have a really large bedroom or one that is sectioned and you have nowhere else to place the box, then you can place it in the farthest corner of the room and clean it asap when your cat is done with the business. It is better to keep the litter box in the bathroom, or laundry room.
How Long Can cats go without a litter box?
Cats can go without using a litter box for a pee for 24-48 hours.
Even if your cats have had enough liquid and their daily meals to cause them to pee, they may go as long as two days without peeing. You may observe this especially during the summer when your cats have a higher chance of peeing less and using the litter box less.
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