Cat Litter Box Cleaning Tips

Cat Litter Box Cleaning Tips go hand in hand with cat litter hygiene

As cat owners, one of the worst chores to have to face is to clean up their waste.  This brings about questions and doubts regarding sanitary issues and the importance of cat litter hygiene.  Cat litter box cleaning tips will be covered here, which I’m sure you will find very interesting.

You could have heard about cleaning up the litter is dangerous to pregnant women, or even to people with a low immune system.

Well, that’s all true, but here we’ll go over some points to eliminate possible health situations, which is why the importance of cat litter hygiene is not to be taken lightly.

The cleaning process, apart from it being a very tedious job, can also be somewhat stinky.  I’m quite sure many would agree that a day at the beach would be so much better.  Unfortunately, having cats comes at a price.   They depend on us for certain things, like cleaning up their poop and wee.

Not too long ago, kitty owners were limited to offering their pets either sand, soil, or ashes, for these to relieve themselves in.   This was all that was available at the time, and these proved not to be very practical.

Cat Litter Problems

Cat Litter Cleaning Tips Stinky Poop
Stinky Poop

Since the kitty’s waste is somewhat of a delicate issue, if you live in a rented accommodation and have no other option but that of sharing space with others, keeping cats can be rather problematic.

Apart from the smell that cat poop and urine can produce, there are other issues.  Neighbors might also be concerned because of the germs and bacteria such waste tends to spread.  This should also be a concern for all those who come into direct contact with the litter.

We’re not talking radiation poisoning here, but just taking the necessary precautions to be able to enjoy your kitty to the fullest, and at the same time, making sure that there are no risk hazards.

Cat Litter Box Cleaning Tips

For more reasons than one, the litter box should be cleaned thoroughly.  A cat’s sense of smell is very strong.  If it has a stinky litter box, it’s an ideal deterrent for your cat to stop using it.

An unclean litter box can be the major causes of defecation complications in pets.  As you’ll find out in other posts, it can also be the reason for humans to contract some very horrible infections.

Moreover, clean litter helps to keep your pet healthy.  Also, it refrains it from relieving itself in places where it shouldn’t.  The most common behavior for cats is deliberate urinary retention.  This is normal if their litter box is not kept clean, and this behavior increases the chances of their contracting urinary tract infections.

A word of caution: You should always avoid ammonia-based products when you clean the litter box.  It’s because ammonia actually has a similar smell to urine.  This may attract your cat back to the area and they are likely to soil the same place all over again.  Also, this can also keep your cat from using the box as it thinks it’s still soiled.

Why is My Cat is Having More Accidents

Should your cat have more accidents on a regular basis, there could be something wrong.  It could be the case that it can’t use its litter box for some reason or other.  If you are sure it’s clean, then it would be a good idea to visit the vet.  This is just to make sure your kitty hasn’t got an infection down below.

Cat litter and the importance of cat litter hygiene, in itself, is very significant for those who own cats.  This is not really a major problem from the product availability aspect, since cat litter is always being improved upon, and so is the way litter is handled and disposed of.

A Clean Cat Litter Box is Good for Your Cat

Keeping the litter clean offers your pets with a dependable clean environment for them to live under one roof with us, and this can prevent home soiling issues.

Droppings can be easily picked out, and if the litter is clumping, then the urine will stick to it making it easy to remove.   Dirty litter should also be replaced completely every week.  If you cannot tidy the soiled litter this often, I do suggest you purchase a second box.  Should you have more than one cat, it is practical to have a litter box assigned to each cat.  It is also practical to separate these, as much as you can from each other.  This helps to avoid ‘conflict of interests’ between your cats.

The location of the litter box is to be chosen with care.  Cats don’t like noise, so placing this next to a noisy appliance will not work.  Leaving it near a source of heat will also not work as this will only amplify the smells.  Ideally, this will be placed in a quiet, secluded area, and far from the cat’s food and drink dishes.  The choice of distance is chosen with hygiene in mind, both for the cat, as well as the owners.

The litter box should be disinfected regularly.  At least once a month, it’s given a good scrub to eliminate odors.   Using a detergent, like mild dish-washing soap and hot water will do the trick.  Once done, you can then use diluted bleach.   Always rinsing properly afterward, and make sure it’s dry before letting your cat using it again.

Toxic for Cats

Toxic material
Toxic Material

Do be careful here as some disinfectants can be toxic to cats, so please read the label on the liquid well before using it.  

There is a large variety of cat litter available on the market.  The commonest is the traditional clay-based.   But there is also clumping or scooping litter, biodegradable, plant-based and crystal or silica gel types.

There is no ideal litter from the owner’s point of view.  The final decision will usually come from your cat.  Whatever you use might end up to be a compromise between what you think is best, and what your cat goes for.

In either case, try to go for a litter which ensures a tidy house, as well as a fresh-smelling environment.

As you well know, cats are very picky about certain things.  You might have to end up buying a variety of different litter until you hit the nail on the head, just to keep everyone happy.

I’ll cover the types of litter in another article, as there is a great deal to say about this. 

Whatever your choice of litter, there is no need to fill in the litter box all the way to the top.  Generally speaking, about three inches deep, maximum, will be more than sufficient in most cases.

Is Cat Litter Safe for Cats?

One of the great things about cat litter, that is, apart from keeping the odor contained, is that it’s safe for any type of cat, even kittens, should these try to ingest it.   This is because most litters are made from natural materials, and are perfectly safe.  Should your cat decide to make a meal out of its litter, depending on the quantity ingested, this could pose a problem and a visit to the vet would be required.  Once you find out what your cat prefers, stick to using just that type of litter.   Changing it often will only confuse your cat.

Some types of clay litter also have additives that help to neutralize unwanted odors, but these products are still safe, even for kittens.

An Advantage of using Clumping Litter

In the case of clumping litter, this makes it very easy to clean the poop and wee, without the need to have to replace it.  You simply take a poop scooper and scoop the clumps right out of the litter box, and then dispose of them in the most appropriate manner.  Once that’s done, your cat’s litter box will be fresh as ever again.  You can just keep repeating this process until there is no longer sufficient litter left in the box.  It would then be time to top up the box.

Some cat litters normally come with a unique clumping feature.  However, once cats are through with their private business, the dirty litter clumps together, enabling the owners to tidy up the litter frequently by scooping the soiled clumps out and substitute it with a new batch of fresh litter.

Clumping litters, also known as scoopable, use naturally derived materials, like Sodium Bentonite.  This type of material uses the moisture absorbed from the waste, especially the pee, to bond the soiled litter particles into clumps.  This property makes it easy for the waste to be removed from the box or tray, and the procedure of cleaning can be carried out frequently if desired.

Your Cat Will Decide What Litter to Use

Of course, there is a choice of litter you can purchase, that is either clumping or non-clumping.  Again, part of the decision on which to use will be taken by your beloved furry pet.

There is a disadvantage to using the clumping type though, as this tends to stick to a cat’s paws very easily, which will leave your clean home in a right state, especially if you’re very touchy about cleanliness.

When compared to clumping type, non-clumping litter has large granules.  With these being larger, the sticking of the litter to a cat’s paws is greatly reduced.  Using the non-clumping litter also minimizes the amount of dust which can float all over the house.

Patience is indeed a virtue, especially with cats.

Believe me, they are worth the headaches they give you as they compensate for all the hassle they cause with their warmth and affection.

Apart from the cat litter just being a place for your kitty to do its thing in, there are quite a few benefits associated with this, as follows:

The main benefits of cat litter:

  • Suppresses the spread of smell of the feces, reducing bacteria.
  • Cat litter is anti-microbial.
  • Neutralizes the foul and pungent smell of ammonia.
  • Litter contributes to proper hygiene and cat health.

Given the above points, it is no great surprise that cat litter was eventually manufactured and refined up to today’s standards.  Being mass produced, it has kept its price relatively low, which suits cat owners down to the ground.  This holds very true in the case of households having more than one cat, given how popular these pets have become.

Cats have, since the beginning of time, had a place with humans.  These have become a treasured part of the family.  We realize that owning a cat has many advantages, apart from enjoying them for what they are… loving pets.  For many reasons, kitties are normally on the front line to be kept as stress-free pets.  From their personal hygiene aspect, they hardly need a bath, and they do not smell.  Cats tidy themselves up, providing they are healthy in the first place.

Having cat litter available like it is today, gives cats the opportunity to live under the same roof with their owner.  This reduces the risk of them being kicked out of the house for stinking it up.  Of course, it obviously holds true if the litter is seen to as one of the standard household chores, and done so regularly.

Cats do Occasionally Slip Up

It would be a good idea to keep in mind that most cats eventually do slip up and have an accident.

In such cases, be prepared and have the appropriate type of cleaners already in your home.

Taking into consideration the importance of cat litter hygiene, living with a cat will be one of the best things you could ever do during your lifetime.

A great advantage with cats is that you don’t need to spend countless hours getting your cat to use the litter as this is something instinctive for these creatures.  The only thing that’s expected of you is to show your cat where the litter is.

After that, your kitty is pretty good to go.

However, you are encouraged to follow the procedures and recommendations stated above for your cat to use the facilities you offer.  It won’t do you a single bit of good to punish your cat for failing your expectations.  The best approach if your cat not doing what other cats normally do, is to contact either a vet.  This is to rule out any medical condition, or an animal behavior expert in the field of cats.

Type of Cat Litter Boxes

Always keeping in mind the importance of cat litter hygiene, your choice when purchasing litter, and litter box, or tray, depends on many considerations, some of which are the following:

Closed or Open litter box:

Cat Litter Box Cleaning Tips
Cat Box

Some cats adapt effortlessly to a closed tray, or box, while others may feel vulnerable or oppressed in such surroundings. The closed box has only one entry and exit point, which might initially frighten a cat.  A slight disadvantage of having a closed one is that you can’t easily monitor the state of the litter.  You don’t even realize how bad it is until you start finding pee and poop all over your home.

Another slight disadvantage of having your cat use a closed litter box is that the pong will tend to remain inside.  This is good for the owners, but it could be enough to keep your cat away from using it, with unpleasant results to follow.

This problem can be eliminated by the use of either scented litter, or some kind of air freshener.  You will need to test whatever you use as the air freshener.  It could even the scented litter itself may put your cat off of going inside the new box.

Tip:  Spreading some baking soda on the bottom of the box will greatly help with the absorption of odors.

As good as they are, this type of enclosure has to be big enough to allow your cat to be able to move about inside as much as it wishes.

Flushable cat litter:

“This cat litter can be easily flushed down the toilet” – or so this is what the label says, but in real life, cat litter, whatever kind it is, SHOULD NEVER BE FLUSHED DOWN THE TOILET For starters, you can easily kiss goodbye to your drainage pipes before they clog up.  Flushing litter, or even just the poop itself, down the toilet, also has very undesirable consequences to marine life, which includes the destruction of seals and otters, as well as birds.

To get this issue straight, it’s not the litter itself which has a devastating impact on the environment.  It’s the parasite known as Toxoplasma Gondii, which is found in cat poop.

Self-cleaning litter box:

This is an automated unit controlled by a motion sensor.  Some, however, work on a timing mechanism.  Normally, the motor is activated a few minutes every time the kitty leaves the box.   This seems like a good idea, which I guess it is, providing the mechanism doesn’t jam, or the sensor decides to start the mechanism working while the cat is still inside the box.  That, I can assure you, will be the last time your kitty will even think of going in the box again, ever.

If you do decide to purchase one of these self-cleaning units, try to go for the most silent one.  The noise from its motor might scare your cat away.  Their sense of hearing is far superior to ours, and you can then kiss your chances of admiring your kitty entering this posh unit, good-bye!

A point worth raising at this stage is if your cat’s still a kitten or a fully grown one.  Should yours be fully grown, it might be used to its ways.  This means you might never get to see it going in the new box.

Tip:  Don’t leave this unit on automatic.  Manually activate its motor when the cat is not close by.  If you want the cat to use it, then I would suggest you leave this new ‘toy’ next to his usual litter.  This gives the cat enough time to get used to it gradually.

Cat Litter Liner:

These are very convenient, as the waste can be just gathered out of the box in one clean ‘sweep’.  The negative aspect of using liners is that your cat might tear the liner to pieces.  This really depends on how engrossed your cat gets when scratching the box.

Overall, the best way to take care of your cat’s litter hygiene is by ensuring that its closely checked.  A good idea is also to monitor the kitty’s habits and movements.

The bottom line is that if your cat is happy with the cleanliness of its litter box, or tray, it will happily use it, and of course, this will also keep the owner even happier.

In a worst-case scenario, your cat will just not use the litter box.   Once you are totally convinced that there is nothing that could be upsetting it, even if your vet has given you the green flag, and yet the cat is still upset, you might need to go out of pocket and buy a new litter box.

This is even more so the case if the old box is…yes, old.

As thoroughly as you might clean this, you will never be able to get rid of the smell.  Remember, your cat can smell much better than you.

The tools of the cat litter cleaning trade:

  • A pooper scooper
  • Mild detergent for washing the box or tray.  (An unscented brand would be ideal)
  • Diluted bleach
  • Air freshener
  • Litter box liner
  • Disposal gloves
  • Bicarb of soda
  • Double lined bin bags
  • Mask



4 thoughts on “Cat Litter Box Cleaning Tips”

  1. Until recently, we had 4 cats. The vet told us that we should have a litter box for each cat +1…so we have (you guessed it) 5 litter boxes! I figured that I was therefore probably an expert in the subject – but thought I’d check here just in case. (LoL). Every year during ‘kitten season’, the Humane Society requests donations of non-clumping litter. I thought it was because there’s a danger of them eating it and choking. I also had a new experience recently where one of my cats had an infected foot, and the vet told me to use nothing but shredded paper in his box. Finally, we had an experience once with scented litter. We bought it for odor control, but one of the cats was allergic, so it’s been the normal clumping kind ever since. We sure do go through enough of it! 🙂

    • At one point, we had three cats in one go. Luckily enough, we didn’t have any major problems with them, and they all got on well together. We were fine with just two litter boxes for all three of them, although some might say that you should have one box for each, at least. You never really know enough about cats, and I’ve realize that cats only let you know on a ‘need to know’ basis 🙂

      I think it’s very noble of the Humane Society requesting donations for non-clumping litter. Our local SPCA haven’t reached out to the public for such donations, at least not as far as I know.

      I’m sorry one of your cats had an infected foot. I hope all is well now. I suppose using shredded paper in his box is a good idea, providing this would be changed on a very regular basis, as otherwise, the odor given off might not be very pleasant. The use of bicarbonate, sprinkled at the bottom, helps with reducing any foul smells that tend to be given off from a litter box.

      So far, we haven’t needed to use scented litter. It’s a shame one of your cats was allergic to it. You would think that these things would be tested on a large number of cats, just to see if any react to it, like yours was allergic to it.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, Shell 🙂

  2. Good afternoon James,

    Personally I think the + outweigh the – when one talks about cats and what they leave behind. Normally they behave very well and dig in their business be it in a litter box or the garden.We humans are not behaving so nicely, just look at the waste we leave lying around. Soon the oceans will be completely filled with plastic. There will be more plastic than fish.
    Your website looks really nice with a lot of valuable information. We love cats!

    Regards, Taetske

    • Good afternoon, Taetske.

      You are so very right about the ‘+’ outweighing the ‘-‘ when one talks about cats, and what they leave behind. The cats we’ve had always behaved very well for us, and there was never a time when they didn’t do their business in their litter box.

      We haven’t got a garden, so it’s either the litter box, or we have big problems. Having said that, I suppose we have been very lucky when compared to other people who’s cats have given them major headaches.

      I have to agree with you once more, that is about us humans who are not behaving so nicely at all. The waste we are leaving, most of it in the name of progress, is truly sickening, and anybody with an ounce of decency will only be disappointed beyond words at the way things are at the moment. I truly hope that something will be done, on a serious level and not just talk, so our oceans will not become plastic junkyards. This is having a major impact on marine life, and for those who have some common sense, this will also impact the reduction of fish to be caught, and obviously this will reduce the amount of ‘food’ we can get from the sea.

      Thank you for your kind comments about my site, and also for stopping by. It’s greatly appreciated, Taetske.


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