Fact checked by a Hello Ralphie expert veterinarian
Cats are clean animals. Unlike dogs, felines constantly groom themselves and they’re notoriously picky about where they urinate and defecate. A cat can develop physical and mental ailments if they’re unable to clean themselves or forced to live in a dirty space.
Therefore, it’s essential that cat parents provide their cats with a sanitary litter box. Here, we’ve provided a guide on litter box maintenance to keep your cat happy and healthy.
We’ll go over how often you should change your cat litter as well as reasons why a routine cleaning is so important. We’ll also explain how often you should clean the box itself and examine some laws of the litter box.
Why is it so Important to Keep Your Cat’s Litter Box Clean?
It may seem like the most important reason for regularly cleaning your cat’s litter box is to remove unwanted smells. However, a dirty litter box can pose a risk to your cat’s health.
A Dirty Litterbox Can be a Health Risk for Your Cat
Many cats will hold in their urine and bowel movements rather than use a dirty litter box or find somewhere else to go. This could result in various health risks for your cat:
• Potential Stones and Blockages
Some cats, especially males, can develop urinary problems such as stones or crystals in their urine if their bladders are not flushed out regularly. Serious urinary blockages can be a deadly consequence of this.
Therefore, access to fresh water along with a clean litter box to help flush out your cat’s bladder can help preserve your cat’s bladder health. The fact that it’ll also make your home smell better should be seen as an added incentive!
• Stress-related Issues
Cats’ stress levels rise when they’re forced into messy spaces, such as a dirty litter box. This can result in a host of mental and physical issues including urinating outside the litter box in your home.
Litter Box Maintenance
Now, here are some tips about litter box maintenance:
How Often Should You Scoop a Litter Box?
Aim to scoop the litter box two times per day. This is different from changing the litter. Removing waste is easy since most cat litter is designed to clump. Doing so on a regular basis will extend the life of the cat litter and make sure your cat has a clean space.
If scooping twice per day isn’t possible, you can get away with one scooping, but it’s not ideal. Just make sure you avoid letting clumps sit for more than a day. Think about how gross it would be if you had to use an unflushed toilet every day!
How Often Should You Change the Cat Litter?
Replace the cat litter on a weekly basis. You might be able to get away with changing it once every two weeks if you’re diligent about scooping the litter box multiple times per day.
The general rule is to dump the old litter into the trash before replacing it with three-to-four inches of fresh litter. It’s worth noting that cat litter can create a significant amount of dust. Consider wearing a face covering if you’re sensitive to dust.
Pregnant women should also avoid changing litter boxes, as there’s a slight risk of contracting toxoplasmosis. Additionally, never flush cat litter down a toilet or pour it down the sink drain. It can clog your pipes, plus it can be harmful to the water supply and other animals.
How Often Should You Wash the Litter Box Itself?
While you can wash it each time you change the litter, this isn’t always practical. You should aim to clean the litter box at least once per month.
The cleaning process is simple. Just use dish soap and warm water. Avoid using cleaning products that are toxic, or have strong scents such as bleach, as they could put your cat off the litter box altogether.
How Can We Help?
If you have more questions about litter box maintenance, or you are encountering litter box-related issues, read through our useful guide, which explains Why Cats Pee Outside the Litter Box.
The guide also contains our “Laws of the Litter Box,” which highlights common litter box issues and explain how to fix them.
Prepping an Ideal Home Setup for Your Cat
If you’re a new cat parent, or you want to make sure your cat has the perfect living situation, you can contact one of Hello Ralphie’s virtual veterinarians for an advice appointment about your cat. We can go over all of the basics and make sure your cat has an ideal living arrangement. We’ll explain everything you need to know about cat litter boxes and answer any other questions you may have.