Kitty wants the litterbox to be clean and so do you. The question is how often should you clean the litter box to achieve a satisfactory level of cleaningness? How often should you scoop and at what intervals should you throw away the remaining litter and wash the box?
Why Keep the Litter Box So Clean?
It really isn’t very complicated. I could tell you that cats are fastidious animals that like a clean bathroom, but let’s face it, so are we. Would you use a soiled toilet? Don’t expect your cat to, either.
Now that we have the general principle down, what’s a practical yet effective litterbox cleaning routine?
If you’re the lucky owner of an automated litterbox, then follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If, like most of us, you’re the robotic mechanism in charge of the box, here’s what we suggest –
Ideally, you should scoop every time your cat uses the box. For most owners, this simply isn’t practical, as they may be away during the day. In that case, opt for cleaning the box twice a day, mornings and evenings. Scoop out the feces and urine clumps (if you’re using clumping litter) and add fresh litter as needed.
Cleaning the box itself
Clean visible muck as you see it, but even if the box looks clean, it’s a good idea to give it a good scrubbing once in a while. Most of our members do that once a week for non-clumping litter.
I dump and clean the boxes and replace the little every five days. I do it on rotation, one box every day so there is always one perfectly clean each day.
I make sure the litter is deep enough that I do not need to change/entirely clean the box very often (about 1x a month?), clumps and feces do not often end up touching the side or bottom of the box. I add litter as needed, with a good fresh layer added once a week.
Some members use disposable trays inside the box, changing them as needed without having to scrub the actual box.
For clumping litter, where urine can be scooped out leaving the remaining litter clean, members do the complete-box-cleanup less frequently. From twice a month to twice a year, or as needed, seems to be a TCS members’ range.
Cleaning the Box is for your cat – not you. Don’t avoid cleaning and try to mask the smell instead. Your cat will notice and you’re creating a recipe for litterbox aversion down the road.
Make it easy for you to scoop
The easier it is for you to scoop, the more likely you will be to stick to a good scooping routine.
Here are a few tips –
- Use a good scooping shovel.
- Keep sturdy and large plastic bags next to the litterbox. If you can’t find sturdy bags, use two of them for double insulation.
- Keep a quality trash bin nearby, for quick disposal of those bags. You could try the Litter Locker Ii Hygenic Soiled Litter Disposal System.
I use World’s Best regular clumping formula and I flush it. Yes, I flush. It will be 9 years in June and my plumbing is fine. I started using Worlds Best because it is flushable (don’t tell the neighbors). – CheshireCat
- Keep a light chair nearby. If you need to, sit down for scooping to avoid back and knee problems and allow yourself time to scoop properly.
- Work scooping into your morning and evening routine. Designate set times and include enough time to thoroughly wash your hands after scooping.
The quotes in this article are from our members who posted to this thread –
How Often Do You Clean The Litter Box
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