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Top 6 Litter Box Cleaning Strategies - To Master Your Cat's Duty

How To Keep Your Feline's Litter Box Fresh & Under Control.

By Holly AbidiPublished 2 years ago 12 min read
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Oh, how we love thee... but we don't love your stinky pooh. Cats don't either! That's why if you are a cat slave... I mean owner, then you MUST do them diligence and clean their litter boxes!

Let's get the stinky outta the way. Sometimes it is a matter of plugging your nose, holding a gag, no I really mean it, and getting your handy scooper right on in there. Fresh off the press!

I swear by clay litter. Oh sure I tried others, but to no feline finesse of approval. I went for the furry fab, “The Worlds Best Cat Litter” not so much. All my cats (this could just be my cats by the way) threw a swift kick of litter back at me. It was an embarrassment getting the kitty stare. They wanted the clay. That's just what they purfer okay. Let’s just say they are STUCK to it. Well, humor as a pet owner is a must, wouldn't you agree?

Clay does get sticky, tricky business. YOU do need to buy the premium stuff. Yes! I'll admit it. I bought the cheap stuff in the bulk bag thinking I struck gold at that price. I assure you though, my intent was purely a good one. It meant I could throw out the litter more frequently - was what I thought because it was cheaper.

Well, it was disastrous, it was like getting the cheap toilette paper and it falls apart. SO not worth it. This litter has too much dust. It didn't clump so I might as well of had all the pee-pee go right back in. The minute I shelled out a few more bucks, I got a good hard clay ball. That's what I like... I think that sounded weird.

Top Tip #1: Get Good Litter

Yes, you will get excited about it. I'm not ashamed of my good cat-mamma-tactics, especially when there is something satisfying about pouring out the fresh pebbles and feeling an utter accomplishment...for literally a second. Cat's be like, sorry mom gotta go.

Looking for some good clay recommendations, pretty much the whole line-up of Arm and Hammer are great. At least this is only my own experience, my own cat owning opinion. So PLEASE...please... put your recommendations in the comments. NO bias products, only pure cat lovers advice please. We DO not want to read an info-commercial. Sorry folks!

The best litter I found, worth the money is SLIDE™ Easy Clean-Up Clumping Litter, Multi-Cat litter by Arm and Hammer.

I am not bias, I have tried lots of litter. In my personal opinion this one works wonders. It is no joke. It clumps like no tomorrow so the pee clumpers are not falling right back into the litter, and worse breaking up, and just spreading that stonky ammonia smell all over the good litter. It's kinda heartbreaking when you go to clean the litter box and you see the wet, soppy clump slip right threw your shovel back into the box. Huge sigh, you know the feeling.

Also, when you got to shovel so much you feel like you broke a sweat, well you don’t have time for that shhh. Really, life’s busy, you wanna get that mess outta there and life goes on. When this litter came out I was a skeptic, but when they say it slides right out, it is true. It doesn't stick to your litter box at all.

Top Tip #2: Find Products That Save Time

As I mentioned earlier this saved me so much time fighting the stick-on clumpers, this is my 2nd biggest tip. I have never looked back. My time is precious and trust me, when you got multiple cats, and lots of boxes to attend to, this was a sigh of relief for this cat mamma.

I soon learned covered litter boxes for my guys are not the fad. Maybe some will like it, none of mine do. Okay, I'll admit they are flat out spoiled brats, but that's a whole other story. I cater to them like royalty, my own fault I suppose. I've raised many furry monsters. I just love them to bits, what can I say.

We want the best of the best for our fuzzy floofsters.

So finding what products do help a busy cat mamma is key. Find what works for you. A good example is the sifter part of the litter box that fits within. Oh brilliant I thought, it will catch all the clumps and I can lift, it sifts, and we're clean. NOT so. It stuck so bad to that thing it was a nightmare to clean. Perhaps, because my cats like to dig to the ends of the earth to bury their biz, but still that's not the point.

The sifter also had a whole bunch of good litter on top, which I couldn't sift off. Try dumping it off, forget it! It then broke up and clumps still; and then they fell back into the box and that was not fun. Yet, I stuck with it, I will say, I tried my best to do it justice. Finally, after much heartache, and dirty cat stares, I realized it had to go. So some options or products just won't work for you, find what does, you'll be way happier when you do.

Top Tip #3: Get The Right Tools For The Job

For my catsters, this meant using a good quality clay litter which clumps nicely, has good odor control, and you can scoop out the "presents" easily. The scooper is important, you may wish to try a few varieties. For me I stick to the standard one and it works beautifully. Perhaps, the most important item is the litter box itself. Since these fancy cat toilette's aka cat litter pans cost more then I care to admit you don’t want to make a poor choice.

If you like an automatic one great. I find them to be smaller so I never used one. I guess you could call me old fashioned due to my choice of a labor of love, but with a multi-cat household I have a whole crew so I don't just have one litter pan. So for me the auto one just didn't fit the bill, cost wise either.

I did find though that after a while their designer toilets were getting scratched up and frayed and the litter was sticking to them. So I had to get new ones. Yes, I do have multiple cats, perhaps that's why, but it was not a pretty site. They were tearing it apart in their overly enthusiastic routines of scrapping fresh litter over their "duty". Plus, they were too shallow as I pointed out earlier. I mean litter was everywhere. I even had some flamboyant cats that had a gymnastic style of jumping right on out of the litter box and flinging litter in the process. Yes, okay you guessed it, occasionally a little roller too. Yes, laugh it up, you’ll find out one day how fun that trick is. Cat parent just know!

So in that narrow pan, er I mean fancy Loo, it was a disaster. The tray guard that clips on to the top to make it taller and stop the litter from getting everywhere, I thought was going to be great. It wasn't either. It wasn’t tall enough, plus that too sometimes got pee-pee down the sides and under the lid part, so when unsnapping it to wash and clean it was super gross. It would trap stuff there, it made the house stink more, and then the clips broke after a while. So I was back to the drawing board. Do I buy the same ones again or find a better solution?

My solution was to upgrade, I mean you want a proper porta potty or not? My cats do, with some room to make the necessary spins and scoops and shaking of paws, you name it, they have their styles. Several of my cats like to brace themselves in an upward pose as if to make a quick exit all the while keeping their fur in perfect order. Can’t say I blame them. After all sitting in the litter box just might be too unsophisticated.

Oh on to my solution, getting a tote box. This is the most sturdy and easy to scoop as well. If you have to ever pick up the box when it has litter in it you'll thank me if you move to the tote style. You can move them without it being flimsy and feeling awkward. Tote boxes are made to last and stronger too. Rubbermaid made my cats’ lives so much better. If you want to check out the same one I use for size comparison and which one was very sturdy for all my cats just click here.

Top Tip #4: Give Your Cat More Room & More Litter Will Stay In The Box

There is room! Your cats will thank you for this. Just try it and you'll love the fact that less litter is strung all over the house, it kinda hurts to step on right folks! Plus when you have good litter that you can scoop out easily it stays fresh too. Now that makes you top of the list as a good cat owner, something we all strive for or course, now that's pawfection!

Psst...Feel free to follow my cat too, if you like. :-) Meet Gandor - @gandorthegrey

Top Tip #5: Clean Twice Daily

Cats are clean animals and they will start to want to go duty elsewhere if they feel their litter box isn't up to par. So don't pick a fight you know you cannot win. Cats are very big on smells. Sometimes they can have an issue with marking their territories (sadly males and females, yup, they can be naughty both sexes). So if that happens remove the litter, scrub out the litter boxes thoroughly and clean the house.

To clean well is an absolute must, you may want the blacklight if you dare. To clean don't use bleach, it's a harsh chemical and from what I've researched does not help get rid of the urine because it to has ammonia in it. Vinegar is better. I use that if I have an area I feel really needs a serious smell remover and combo it with Baking Soda too.

My absolute cleaning go to is by far, good ol' palmolive dish soap. It is awesome at de-greasing and cutting out the do-do. Excellent for cleaning up the walls, carpets, or pretty much anywhere and everywhere. I use this to clean out the litter box itself, then spray with Lysol after. I know now with COVID it's hard to come by this stuff. So this may not be a good option right now. You can always stick to the next spray I recommend too. Once cleaned out and dry then just replace the litter and you are back to new again.

Surprisingly to freshen the sides of the litter box and take out odors Lysol is amazing, the cats don't mind it either. Although my all time favorite is by Hartz No Odor Litter Spray Un-scented. This spray is amazing, it seems to work well, and the best part is it's cost effective, because if you have many cats, you will tend to use lots of this stuff to ensure things are clean and under control.

Top Tip #6: Know That Accidents Will Happen So Find A Solution

As per my research on the internet about cats that pee-pee outside the box they say it can be related to stress. I am convinced most of this occurs in multi-cat homes. Cats naturally are solitary and I think do better with just one buddy. I want to make it clear, it seems cats living all by themselves without the wonderful outdoors to explore and keep busy suffer from boredom and I believe get lonely, so they do need a friend. I've had this happen with one cat, whom had a cast on his leg to heal for a few months. He was dashing out the door of his one room, to visit the other cats. So if your cat does suffer being alone get another cat or they do fine with a canine buddy too.

Although, there are some cats that are just not social and would do better off by themselves. Cats are extremely sensitive to change and or their territory. Getting a new cat can be not an easy introduction and if some duty happens outside the box, it wouldn't be abnormal. Just clean, clean, clean, and start over again.

Punishing them doesn't help, because they really do not understand that it's dirty. As sick as that is, yes, I will say it that way, you must realize they are a cat, not a human. Thankfully if you never suffer a bad do-do you are very lucky my friend. Stuff happens, as an owner we need to accept it, and that's just part of their nature.

If you move, watch out, you may just get some inadvertent behavior so make sure you keep as much familiarity as possible.

My cats have always been fine with things moved around so I have never had to worry too much about how they would behave if I "changed" something in the home. Though you have been warned, some cats can be far more sensitive. So my biggest tip here is work on training your cat to handle life on many levels.

If you get a kitten, simply make sure a kitten is used to things being moved around, I am not kidding here. I used to build jungle gyms when my cats were kittens. They love it, and it takes away the fear of something "unknown". Although, you are fair warned if building furniture in the house, that something new becomes better than catnip and the box you know is theirs of course.

If your cat seems stressed and suddenly changes their normally good go-in-the-box routine try to think from their perspective what it may be. Sometimes it's medical, so you can always seek veterinary help to figure it out. Our vet has recommended for various reasons the Feliway Friends. This has helped create better harmony in the house. Depending on their advice you may wish to try it. Now I don't use it regularly as they are just in general more peaceful and of course the newbie to the crew is now accepted in. So just another quick tip if you may be struggling with these issues.

Until next time, best of luck to you fellow cat owner's.

Our felines give back ten fold, no matter what I wouldn't trade that for anything!

cat
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About the Creator

Holly Abidi

I'm passionate about sharing my forms of art with others, be it writing, photography, or design. If you like it, love it, share it, and let me know. I'm always up for a friendly chat. Visit @abidiahsdesigninc

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