Cleaning the Litter Box: How Often Is Best?

Your indoor cat has been kicking litter out of the box and onto the floor for a few days and now has finally gone to the bathroom on the floor right next to the litter box. What gives? Your cat isn’t showing signs of illness and has been playing, purring, and doing the usual cat things he does. Before you get scared and call the vet thinking it might be a medical condition, check the litter box. When is the last time you scooped it?

Some cats, like people, are more bothered by unsanitary conditions than others. Some cats can go for days in a row without getting upset while others will protest after a day of an unclean litter box. Think of how long you can go without cleaning your house or the bathroom, I bet it’s different than some of your friends.

Litter boxes need to be cleaned on a regular basis and if you have more than one cat, it is something that needs to on your list of regular chores. What’s a good schedule?

For one cat, depending on the finicky level, scooping everyday should be fine. It’s even better if you scoop soon after your cat has done his business in the box. There are some self-cleaning litter boxes that you can buy to make this job easier on you. They have sensors and will rake the litter. The thing is, if you cat is standing too still or is nearby when the litter box begins cleaning, it can scare him. If you have a house with multiple cats, then hopefully you’ve also invested in multiple boxes, and clean them everyday.

In addition to scooping the box on a regular basis don’t forget to clean it out. Washing it with hot soapy water will keep odors and debris from building up. On average, wash plastic litter boxes once a month and replace them after about a year. The scratches made from cat claws against the plastic can create small crevices where debris and smells can get stuck.

If your cat still seems to be showing problems then you may want to talk to your vet and to figure out if it’s a medical problem, behavioral, or just a reaction to new stimulus.

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