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  1. #1
    Site Owner Armorbeast's Avatar
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    May 2007

    Litterboxes And Cats

    Now for something different.

    I have owned cats for my entire life almost. I remember being a kid and having outdoor cats... and I remember the sadness of how they often will not survive for more than a few years meeting an array of different ends.

    I remember when I switched to bringing them in back before litter boxes and litter became so common... the small and mess was awful to deal with as in rural America we often only had dirt and boxes.

    In time, we finally caught up and cat litter technologies finally advanced to where having an indoor cat is now very livable.

    First, understand there are different types of cats.

    An indoor cat is more likely to adjust to a litter box very early even as a small kitten. Here you need a smaller litterbox which, if you have a momma and kittens will make the smell worse.

    Second is the indoors / outdoor cat which you will have greater problems with because outside they just scratch the ground and use it wherever they might be... this increases the chances they might do it indoors too so keep something like a small plastic ball to toss at them handy if you think they are about to do this and don't be afraid to swat them with a fly swatter for doing it... they will learn when they see you reaching for that swatter to immediately stop what they are doing and most will immediately head to the litter box.

    Third is the outdoor cat which you're inviting in or trying to make an indoor cat out of. they are used to using the great outdoors and might require locking in the bathroom for a while with the box... even then there are no guarantees as you may need to add a bit of dirt or even some grass to the top just for appearances as even grass clippings will work for this. Just a touch of catnip may attract the cat to the litterbox where the dirt and grass might make it understand this is a bathroom.

    As I mentioned above, if you have kittens you will need a smaller litterbox allowing them an easier time to get in.

    However, beyond that you need a deep litterbox capable of holding at least five inches of litter with room to spare.

    A smaller box in height will allow more smell to escape and you will get used to it so you won't notice what others will.

    First, top quality litter with maximum odor control and scent is expensive. If you can afford it great but you will still need at least five full inches of it for it to work effectively.

    Why? Urine stinks worse than cat poop. urine will sink through to the bottom and five inches of litter will more effectively bury that smell at the bottom.

    However, this doesn't mean you need to spend a lot of money on litter as five inches is a lot. Use cheaper litter that clumps for the bottom. I use Best Choice from IGA because it includes a bit of odor control and great clumping power which you will need to remove the urine... if you dig through all that litter, you want clumps and not to have it just spread out over a wider area to become a brick which is harder to remove and will fall apart. Clumping litter is very important for the bottom.

    I use cheaper litter for the center... you can find this usually at places like Walmart for about $2.00 to $2.50 for a 25 lb bags. This is your basic filler so odor control is not as important as scent like on the bottom (but I do recommend some level of odor control at the bottom). This is the layer most of the poop will wind up in so being loose is a good thing.

    I add a third level, the expensive Arm & Hammer variety with maximum odor control, clumping and scent. Why clumping on the top? When urine hits the litter, there can be a bit of splash and you will have some of it remain on top where it makes contact... thus, clumping makes it easy to remove that part which helps if you don't like scooping daily but you want to keep the box looking a bit clean. In a few moments, you can easily remove this and have a clean looking box again. This variety clumps well, the odor control is great (because of the baking soda) and the scent is wonderful

    You can use just two layers if you want but three is best if you need to save a bit of money because the bottom layer is for function and cheaper than Arm & Hammer. The mid layer is for filler and poop which requires no clumping and doesn't stink as bad as urine. The top layer needs to clump, control odor that might escape from the box and have a pleasant scent.

    When your cat scratches, it may dig into the layers requiring you to use your scoop just to level out the top as the strong odor control and scent of the top level should still be there.

    Your litterbox should be ideally placed in the bathroom where it's not in a traffic area.

    However, do not use only one litterbox. Remember, you use the bathroom too and when that door is closed... what happens when your cat has to use the bathroom? I, for instance, don't want my cat in the bathroom when I am in there so having a kitty portal in the door isn't going to happen.

    Instead, I have a second litterbox which she is trained to use as a backup and ironically enough, every cat I have ever had figured this out as they do know why you use the bathroom as your waste disposal area and they prefer it for their litterbox if you train them there.

    I live alone so I don't use anything fancy and I put it out of the way over by the cabinet where my hot water heater is between it and the washing machine... a perfect location. here, I use a very thin level of clumping litter on the bottom, use a huge amount of the non clumping cheap stuff and that's it.

    Here I place air deodorizers meant to help make the kitchen smell like grandma's house (so to say).

    I also use Airwick spray dispensers near the litter box but not over it because cats won't use a litterbox if there's scented spray directly over it because they don't like perfumed spray in the air and when they spray it scares the cat because they don't expect it. But sprays and deodorizers close to the area or stuck to the box itself should be ok if it's a standard solid deodorizer... apple cinnamon usually fits best as a slight scent (or vanilla

    Adding so much litter also allows you to clean the box less. i don't have to clean my kitchen box but once a month... the bathroom box, once every ten days or three times a month.

    Using clumping litter makes it easy.

    Don't use newspaper under the box. The cat will tear it, it's unsightly and non absorbent. Use a rug you can remove, fold, shake out and toss in the washing machine.

    Now, enclosed litter boxes are the rage.

    These boxes can be cute but many are difficult to open to clean the box and some cats moving about in the box can turn it over pushing against the upper side. The odor can accumulate more in such a box in warm weather so you may need to clean it more often and definately requires scented, scoopable litter moreso. Cats will sometimes refuse to use these because many need to visually see the litter before they will enter.

    They are, however, a nice choice for appearance but many become lazier about cleaning the box because they don't see the litter and get used to the smell. Some cat owners won't clean their box for over a month for these reasons.

    Another issue is cats like to jump on the new tops to lay on them so don't get a small one and get one they can lay out on as many will try repeatedly not understanding it's not them... it's the box as it wasn't designed for them to lay on.

    Today, you have many options not only for your cat and for cleanliness. But it's not so simple in choosing what you need as the more out of sight out of mind you get the more likely you are to forget to clean the box and if the box doesn't get cleaned... your cat will stop using it and leave you little unsightly surprise to stink up your house.

    But you don't have to clean your cats litter box as often as in the past so that's an improvement as this is not a pleasant choir.

    One last word of advice... don't buy a plastic scoop. They bend and if you hit a big clump on the bottom, the extra pressure you apply will cause it to twist and even pop up suddenly sending litter across the floor. There are metal scoops but they tend to be more expensive... they are worth the extra cost as they make litter removal easier, quicker and they aren't flexible causing the above mentioned problem.

    Was this useful?

  2. #2
    I use one litter box and the is in the master bathroom, my cat only uses it to poo in, he uses the toilet to pee in and I have 2 bathrooms . He taught himself to use the toilet.


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