The problem that creeps into the picture, however, is that we can very well go “nose blind.” Ever had a skunk crawl under your house and spray? After a few days, you think, “Whew, the smell is all gone…” only to have a family member walk in and say, “SKUNK!!!” It’s still there, we’re simply accustomed to it.
The same thing can happen with litter boxes. That’s why it’s vital to set a routine and keep it.
Below are product recommendations and suggestions for setting a successful routine – one that both your cat and home will appreciate:
- DAILY. Clean the litter box several times, every single day. After all, a cat visits their litter box daily – shouldn’t it be cleaned daily!? In fact, a cat visits their litter box about 5 times a day – this plus the fact that a cat’s urine is more concentrated than any other pets’ urine means frequent cleaning is a must. If the litter sits for very long, you’ll be left with a strong ammonia smell.
- You can encourage your cat to “dilute” her/his own urine by making sure they drink plenty of water.
- DAILY. Sweep around the litter box and wipe down the area daily with a mild cleaner.
- Make sure your cat’s litter box has high sides like the Tidy Cats Litter Box above. This keeps the entire area cleaner and tidier. The high sides also give cats more privacy – something that means the world to them!
- MONTHLY. At least once a month (more if you have multiple cats or one high achiever) take the entire litter box outside, dump it out, and clean it with a hose and soap. Be sure to rinse it especially well – while you may enjoy the lingering scent of soap or cleaner, your cat most certainly will not. Allow it to dry completely before adding fresh litter to it. If you put a thin layer of baking soda on the bottom (under the litter), it’ll add more odor-absorbing power.
- MONTHLY. While you’re cleaning the litter box (above), use the time to give the area below and around the litter box a good scrubbing.
- POSSIBLY SEVERAL TIMES A YEAR. If you have a plastic litter box (the less you paid for it, the more this applies), you need to replace it several times a year. Why? Because after a while, the plastic will flat out refuse to turn loose of the odor – in fact, it seals it in and no amount of scrubbing will get it all out. Worse still, if it gets very worn, the urine will seep through to your floor and floorboards – leaving you with even more deep cleaning to do. If you don’t like the idea of replacing a litter box several times a year, you should consider investing in an especially well-made and durable litter box such as the ones shown below. High quality litter boxes are, in the long run, the best value.
- Clean + Green Litter Box Odor Remover and Cleaner is a favorite with cat families for taking care of litter box odors. It’s a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic, non-toxic, non-flammable, non-carcinogenic and does not contain essential oils.
I absolutely love the Tidy Cats Litter Box pictured above, as well as the ones shown below. The Tidy Cats (at the top) has high sides, which I love, but an easy entry for your cat. This way he/she doesn’t have to jump in or out (which sends litter flying every which way). It’s also a very uncomfortable thing for older cats to do – it’s much easier to simply walk in and out.
As for litter boxes with covers, I (personally) haven’t had much luck with those. I’ve never had a cat that was particularly fond of them, but many apparently are – otherwise they wouldn’t still make and sell them! In the end, it’s kind of just something else to clean.