Let’s face it: A dirty litter box is more offensive to a cat than the grossest, smelliest latrine. Not only will cats find other, human-occupied areas to use if their litter box is disgusting, they may also develop (expensive) health problems.
Above are steps to creating a pleasant litter box experience for kitty and owner alike.
Have more than one litter pan
If you have more than one cat, it is a good idea to have more than one litter box. Nita Heerk, who has two cats, sets out a large pan and a small one. One cat, Aurora, will pee and poop in the same pan; the other, Bob, will pee in either pan but only poop in a clean pan. Two pans make it easier for Bob to get what he needs.
Line the litter pan(s)
The easiest solution to keeping clean litter is to replace it often, and the easiest way to replace litter often is to use liners. It isn’t easy to find durable, yet cheap liners for large pans. Hartz sells giant liners (which also fit smaller pans), 12 per box, for $2.99/box. In the Portland area, Hartz liners can be found at Hannafords.
Find a good litter
There are many, many options out there for litter. Scoopable litter is often considered to be the best choice; however, even with scoopable litter, smells can linger. Unfortunately, other types of litter can be prohibitively expensive.
CVS sells one of the best, unpretentious, cheapest litters on the market: Pet Central. A 7 lb bag costs approximately $2. CVS also sells scoopable Pet Central litter if you just have to have scoopable.
Fill the pan(s)–but not too deep!
It is customary to simply tip a bag of litter into a pan. However, very picky cats will stop using the pan if any portion of the litter is dirty, including the bottom layer. Rather than dumping in a full bag (that will just have to be dumped out), fill the pan with a very thin layer (so you can see the liner through the litter). Not only do the cats find it easier to shovel a thin layer, the owner can tell if they are going on a regular basis. Will you have to replace the litter more often? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes!
Let the cat do its business
A cat’s use of the litter pan will follow a pattern. Nita Heerk has found that both her cats tend to go in the morning, occasionally late at night. In the morning, she immediately changes the liner and puts down a fresh layer of litter. She will often need to change one litter pan in the evening, leaving the other for the next morning. On average, she changes each pan at least once every two days. Not only does the area smell better, the cats are happier, and their health problems have decreased!