Here are 10 tips regarding cat litter boxes from the celebrated Cat Daddy aka Jackson Galaxy. They are nicely thought out but essentially common sense for most thoughtful cat guardians.
- There should be one litter box per cat in the household plus one extra. So, for example, if you have two cats there should be three litter boxes.
- These litter boxes should be placed around the home where they suit the cats and not where they suit the family. That’s a hard one to deal with because I’m sure that in 99% of cases cat litter boxes are placed in places where they suit the family and it is hoped that they also suit their cat. It’s an example of where you have to compromise when you have a domestic cat on what you like to see in your home. I am convinced that not enough cat guardians think like that.
- Cat litter should unscented and the area of the litter tray should not be neutralised with respect to odour by air fresheners. This is because the litter boxes are what Jackson Galaxy calls a “scent soaker”. What he means is that domestic cats rely on their sense of smell and the smell of their urine and faeces to feel at home. You might want to get rid of it but cats rely on it for reassurance. He also says that people should not disguise the litter box as, for example, a potted plant.
- The litter substrate i.e. the substance which is the litter itself, should be of the simplest kind because the more fancy it is the more chance that it might be unsuitable.
- Overfilling a litter box is a no-no. It could be a common problem because cat owners might feel that more is better when in fact an inch or two of litter is correct and adequate.
- The litter box’s length should be at least 1.5 times the body length of the cat using it and it should be “attractive and convenient”. What he means is that the box should be a place which a cat considers to be friendly and there should be nothing about it which obstructs use of it.
- Using covers on litter boxes ill-advised. There are good reasons namely that they can be hard to clean and they can get dirty, they are dead ends for cats which might make them feel nervous to use the litter box and long-haired cats can get a static shock touching the sides of the hood when they enter or leave the box. This said I have always used a covered litter box with success.
- This has never occurred to me but apparently you can get liners for litter boxes which make them more convenient to keep clean. Apparently many cats don’t like the texture of liners and they can get their claws stuck in them.
- Litter boxes should be kept clean i.e. free of pee and poop but I recall that Mr Galaxy said that it should not over-cleaned by which he means cat owners should not kill the cat’s natural scent of the litter tray itself. This goes back to the item above about “scent soakers”.
- If you want to find out what your cat prefers in the way of a litter box then you should give him or her choices in terms of location, types of litter, style, size et cetera. You can then adjust accordingly by trial and error.
I will add another tip. A rather strange one: litter boxes should face north-south. Get your compass out!