After getting your first cat, your next stop is usually the pet store to gather all the needed kitty supplies and cat care products for your cat. A litter box will always be always at the top of that list and will always be the number one thing that you need to secure first before buying the rest of the supplies. Only a few people give much thought about choosing the best one, let’s check some of them in supermarkets or online stores like activefelinesolutions.
When you reach the pet supply aisle on the supermarket, or looking at the displayed litter boxes on the pet store, you might be overwhelmed and think "they're all the same so what's the difference?" probably either choose the extravagant one or the cheapest one. Let me stop you there for a second, for not all litter boxes are created equal, and not all litter boxes is ideal for all pet cats. You need to think that cats are like us humans too and they can be very choosy when it comes to their litter box (you don't want your cat to lay waste all around your house instead on her new litter box).
They have their own preference when it comes to the size, depth, and other attributes of their litter box. Just imagine this, how would you like it if the bathroom you had to use each and every day is super small and cramped?
Or if you have to traverse an obstacle course so steep and treacherous enough that even an elite SAS operator might quit halfway just to reach the bathroom (probably that operator would let it all out before reaching it).
Or if the toilet flushed randomly whenever you walked by it or sit on it?
Those scenarios are fun right? Of course not! For they are all horrible, and nobody wants to be on that situation. Yet that’s exactly what it feels like for cats whose only options are litter boxes that are too small for them to sit comfortably, or have sides or enclosures that have pointed edges or too cumbersome to navigate.
And if you are wondering about the "flush randomly" problem I mentioned earlier, well that's a real issue with cats using automatic scooping litter box – many cats are scared of the sound and movement that occasionally emanates from that clunky contraption.
What happens if a cat is terrified by their box, or disturbed to continue their own business by the size or intricacy of it, they're more likely to look for a somewhere else less scary and more convenient to go (the space between the wall and the back of your sofa looks comfortable, or under your bed is a nice place too).
You don't want that situation and the effects the wrong litter box will cause on your cat (and yourself too) right?
As a general rule of the thumb, determine first the size of your cat.
For a small cat, a smaller litter box will work out just fine, and larger cats would require a larger box, sometimes they would prefer something a little bit bigger than their size, it just depends on the cat's preference.
Make sure it's big enough for your cat to fit its whole body inside and turn around in it (that's their usual habit during defecation, looking back at their "creations" and cover them with litter), or else, they might unintentionally release it over the edge, ruining your expensive Persian carpet (if you have one).
As I have mentioned earlier, every cat is unique, and each has a unique preference when it comes to boxes. You may need to try a couple of boxes before your cat find the one that is the most comfortable for her. Some large cats prefer smaller boxes while some small cats may like large boxes, at the end of the day, it is your cat that chooses the right box, and not you (although you are the one who pays for it).
Pick the one with the correct height. When choosing a litter box for your kitty, you need to check the sides of the box. Most kitties are okay with semi-high sides (high enough so that they can see their surrounding while doing their business), but an older cat or disabled and injured cat may have trouble getting in the box with higher sides. It is advisable to pick one with shorter sides so that they don't need to struggle to get into the box, same goes too with kittens.
You also need to check the interior surface of the box. Some cats would prefer softer surface on the interior of their litter box (like a small cutout from an old carpet or thick towel, or rugs), while other cats are much comfortable outside their litter box or on any hard surface (especially tiled floors or wooden floors). If your cat seems to defecate where it's not suppose to, consider changing up the contents of the litter box.
Now, for the texture of the litter, use soft and fine litter for cats who likes softer surfaces, and for those kitties who likes to do it on hard surfaces, try placing a piece or slab of similar surface (if your cat likes to do it on a tiled floor, you can use a piece of ceramic or stone tile similar to that of your floor or if kitty does it on wooden surface, use a piece of plywood) inside their litter box and cover it with a little bit of litter. It will simulate the surface where they usually do it.
Let's talk about the placement of your cat's litter box. Most cat owners would choose to place their box inside the bathroom, which is a very good choice (easy access to water if clean-ups are needed, and the smell would never contaminate the whole house, if there is any). You don't want to place the litter box in the middle of your living room (seriously, who does that?).
Your cat, on the other hand, doesn't want to be shunted off to a scary corner. Try to pick some place where it is not secluded and where your cat can easily see you or other people (for my case, I have one on the living room, one at the end of the hallway and one just outside on the open laundry area).
No one likes a noisy place while answering the call of nature, same goes with your pet cat too. Those locations where you put the box will be your cat's permanent go-to if it needs to do its business, so keep it away from washing machines, the outdoor part of an air conditioning unit, or the generator (if you have one installed in your house).
No litter box should be place beside or near the cat's food bowl, water bowl or pet water dispenser. As you know already, cats are clean creatures, and they don't like eating and drinking in the same place where the go to do the potty. Their instincts may also tell them that the bathroom is where not to eat their food. Also, it's a big no to place their litter box near places where you place or stock up your own food, it's just unsanitary, and others may find it disgusting.
Kitty doesn't seem to use that litter box on the kitchen? Try a different location instead. You may need to place the box at different locations around the house to know what place is the most comfortable for your kitty. There are a lot of reasons for that, probably the smell, humidity, noise and so on that your cat only knows.
A good example is that cats don't like constricting litter box with only one side open, for they can't easily escape once the situation calls for it. (Remember, cat's are originally wild animals which undergo thousands of years of domestication, they still have that fight-or-flight instincts with them until now, no matter what breed they are.)
Alright, so we have the ideal box for kitty containing the most comfortable litter for her and is placed on the most convenient part of the house as well (according to your cat), so we are pretty much set right?
Actually, are just some specific things that you need to consider to avoid further issues in the future. Check this book Catification: Designing a Happy and Stylish Home for Your Cat (and You!) - Kindle Edition (AMAZON), it is a step by step process of designing in which you and your kitty will love.
The number of cat litter box in your house should always be more than the number of cats that you have. If you have two cats, consider having three or more litter box and so on. Even in a one-cat household, and also try buying different types of litter box so that each cat can choose what box they like.
Don't just settle with only one box per cat. Everybody likes to have options, and so is your cat too, and for a lot of reasons it’s a good thing to give your cat the freedom when it comes to where they pee and poo.
Always have a spare litter box, you don't know when will you need one, but it's better to have one just in case. Having too few litter boxes is usually the cause for many of the “toileting problems” that result in cats being brought to the vet or relinquished to the shelter.
Make sure to fill your cat's litter box with the right amount of litter. All of my three litter boxes for my cat have a width of 19 inches and length of 25 inches. I usually add a deep layer of litter on them, around 3 - 4 inches deep, for my cat usually dig the litter first before doing its business, and if I don't put enough litter on those boxes, my cat would go to the front yard and dig herself a hole and defecate there, covering it with dirt when she is done.
By doing so, she would come back inside the house and spread dirt on the sofa, carpet and on the cushions, which is a pain in the neck to clean off (I'm the kind of person who doesn't just clean the stained area, I more of a just-clean-the-whole-thing-type of person).
So, if you don't want that to happen to you, just make sure your kitty is comfortable with the amount of litter you put on her litter box, like the 3 in 1 Self Sifting Tray Cat Litter Box Simple Stylish Antimicrobial Pet Cat Toilet Training Tray (AMAZON) type and the like.
As much as possible, avoid buying litter boxes with cover for it usually can cause issues for some cats. Some cats doesn't like being enclosed with the smell, sometimes they are not comfortable when not seeing their surroundings and becoming more leery .(Cats are originally predatory animals and mostly go with their instinct and intuition, and in the wild, defecating without knowing if the surrounding is safe from predators is a matter of life and death for them).
In addition, some large cats (such as Maine Coons, Siberian, Savannah cats and the Chausie) may have problems with their movement in a box with cover due to not having enough space.
You might want to consider buying a self-cleaning box too, not just it is convenient to use, it'll save you precious time instead of cleaning the litter on your traditional litter box. Not all cats are okay with these, for some of them are afraid of its sound while it is automatically cleaning the litter and may decide not to use it anymore, but then again, it all comes down to the preference of your cat. You might want to try it, but if your cat is afraid of it, don't push your cat on using it further and just go back with the normal litter box.
There you have it! I think I have pretty much covered a lot there, just always keep in mind that you are doing all of this for your beloved cat, and yourself too, so whatever their decision is, you just simply comply to it. It'll save you the hassle of cleaning and doing mistakes that can possibly occur.