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Litter Box Problems - What To Do?

Updated on May 1, 2016

It is difficult to obtain the friendship of a cat. It is a philosophical animal... one that does not place its affections thoughtlessly.

Theophile Gautier

Some Thoughts on Kitties and Boxes

There's Nothing Worse Than Litter Box Problems

I have some general tips for cat owners, to avoid and/or solve litterbox issues. I have lived with cats for over thirty years, have worked in shelters as a volunteer, and helped may people solve these kinds of problems, and I can tell you prevention is much better than letting problems develop (like many things in life)!

The best way to cut down on odors is to clean the litterbox every day. It takes seconds. If you let odors build up, kitty might go elsewhere. Why let something so simple get in the way of having a sweet life with your pet? Litterbox problems are one of the main reasons people give their cats up to shelters, so don't let it happen to you.

Litters with scents and litters made with pine or cedar may be toxic and are probably unpleasant to your cat, which could discourage consistent use of the litter box. Get a plain unscented clumping litter. The best clumping litter I have found is made by Blue Buffalo; it is non toxic, biodegradable, and completely dust free. It can also be flushed down the toilet safely. It is made with walnut shells, and I actually put it in my compost, since I don't grow produce, only flowers.

Multiple cats absolutely require multiple cat boxes. A good rule of thumb is one box per cat, spaced throughout the home. This cuts down on odors and prevents behavioral issues and territorial problems. If you have more than four cats you probably don't need more than four boxes.

Ideally litter boxes should be in different rooms throughout the house, in quiet low traffic areas, and they must be scooped daily. This sounds like a pain but it only takes three to five minutes a day, even less if you have flushable litter.

Do a little research and buy a quality food. Buying cheap food now will cost you a lot of money later; cheap food results in poor nutrition, uncomfortable digestion, and urinary tract problems, which will translate into litterbox behavior problems that will aggravate you, and cause you to spend lots more money spent at the vet.

I have had up to nine cats, and by following these rules I have not had any problems with odors or behavior/potty accidents and issues. Guests have said to me they would never know I had nine cats in the house unless I told them, as they could detect no litter or ammonia odor at all.

Do yourself a favor and get a strong metal scoop for cleaning the litter. Plastic scoops always break.

Litter should be an absolute minimum of four inches deep.

Liners for Top Entry Litter Boxes - Get litter box liners and never scrub kitty's box again.

Even if you use clumping litter, you still need to empty the box periodically to clean it...unless you have a liner. Liners are great because clumping litter doesn't get stuck to the sides of the box, making daily cleanup faster and easier. I find using a liner is extremely cost effective (I only use one bag per month per box). I never have to haul a dirty box down to my utility sink to scrub it, which is awesome!

Clever cat liners? &8.99 Not having to scrub kitty's box? PRICELESS

The Best Litter Box Should Have A Sturdy Scoop

So...a plastic scoop is supposed to be able to handle heavy wet clumped litter cemented to the side of the litter box. Not!

I invested in a quality metal scoop and I won't have to deal with a broken scoop EVER AGAIN.

DuraScoop Jumbo Cat Litter Scoop, All Metal End-to-End with Solid Core, Sifter with Deep Shovel, Multi-Cat Tested Accept No Substitute for the Original (colors may vary)
DuraScoop Jumbo Cat Litter Scoop, All Metal End-to-End with Solid Core, Sifter with Deep Shovel, Multi-Cat Tested Accept No Substitute for the Original (colors may vary)

I have this one, it is incredibly sturdy with a non slip grip, and the scoop is deep and wide. The only thing I would change would be to give it a longer handle, but so far this is the best scoop I have ever found.


Top Entry Litter Boxes are the Best Type of Litter Box for Your Cat

Top entry cat litter boxes hide what's inside, prevent tracking better than any litter box or litter mat, and are easy to clean. They cost just a few dollars more than the traditional open litter box. And any cat can use a top entry litter box; the smallest kitten can use one with the help of a sturdy box for a temporary step, and my seventeen year old kitty, Maddie, learned to use the box immediately, with no problems.

No more sweeping or vacuuming every day, no more lovely view of kitty feces every time you enter the room, and your kitty will enjoy the privacy. I know from experience that a top entry box means less time spent cleaning up, and it's not nearly as unpleasant - no litter crunching under your feet!

Which Litter? - I've tried them all, and Blue Buffalo is the best.

Don't you just love those litters that say "99% dust free"? That means that litter is 1% dust. That much means lots of dust (and not very clean dust either). Dust you your kitty will be breathing and touching and tracking around. Get something truly dust free. No more clouds of dust when you manage the litter, and you'll be dusting around the house a lot less.

Thank you so much for visiting!

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    • profile image

      The opposing view 3 years ago

      If you have a "high-peeing" cat the whisker city box is a nightmare. The bottom part of the box isn't very tall and there is an edge between the top and bottom that lets urine leak out between the top and bottom pieces no matter how tightly I snap them together. I put a little shield between the layers and when it finally fell apart the leaking started again. I gave 5 female cats and 1 of the 5 does not squat-she stands! I would have never bought 3 of these if I had known about the leaking. I want to try the Mod- it looks very high!

    • RedHairedRockHead profile image

      RedHairedRockHead 4 years ago

      @Kazee LM: I agree! But, how are you holding up without kitties running your home? I know it would be very difficult for me!

    • RedHairedRockHead profile image

      RedHairedRockHead 4 years ago

      @CampingmanNW: Hahaha! Your kitty is probably as happy as can be! Litter boxes and their management is strictly a human slave concern, but certainly one that affects us. Anything that makes our babies a joy instead of a burden is good for everyone!

    • CampingmanNW profile image

      CampingmanNW 4 years ago

      Your lens makes me feel as if my cat of the last 19 years has been cheated all of his life with his 'low profile', 'nothing trick about it', run of the mill litter box. Thanks for shedding light on something I never gave a thought to. Cheers.

    • Kazee LM profile image

      Kay Collier 4 years ago from Australia

      We don't have any cats now, but we did once, and if only we had had, one of your top entry litter boxes it would have made our life so much easier...great lens and good luck with your business.

    • RedHairedRockHead profile image

      RedHairedRockHead 5 years ago

      @MaryMitchell: I am with you on that - it mystifies me when people complain of litter odors or their kitty is not using the box and they don't connect it to the fact that they clean the litter box once a week. Duh!

    • profile image

      MaryMitchell 5 years ago

      I have two Siamese cats Sunny and Jasmine, or rather they have me as their devoted slave! I am a demented litter tray cleaner, and can't imagine anyone not checking them every few hours, if only because of the smell - these top entry boxes are great for containing it tidily.

    • profile image

      RavingMadAsAHatter 5 years ago

      What a great idea, I had never heard of these.

    • RedHairedRockHead profile image

      RedHairedRockHead 5 years ago

      @shay-marie: Yes, both my dogs are prevented from litter box excursions, that's one of the reasons I got top-entry boxes! The opening is big enough for cleaning without taking off the lid but neither of my dogs can reach the litter inside. Thanks for reminding me, and thanks for reading.

    • shay-marie profile image

      Shay Marie 5 years ago from Southern California

      I've never heard of this kind of litter box, but it is a clever design for sure. Plus, I'd wager it would reduce the chances of another pet (ie dog) getting into it and having a snack (gross!). If I ever get a cat, I'll keep this in mind! Thanks for the lens!