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|Saturday, August 13, 2005|
Successful cat litter box habits stem from many different factors. A small investment of time pays off big with timely, periodic cat litter box cleaning. The best "Thank You!" from your cat is when she deposits a gift in her clean cat litter box.
Why should you empty out the old litter and scrub the box? As your cat uses the box, she uses her claws to scratch litter to cover her urine and feces. Cat urine gets into these cracks and begins to smell so bad after awhile that your cat may begin to avoid the litter box. Old cat litter smells extremely bad, and as you scoop out cat deposits, the amount of cat litter is less and less with each scoop. If your cat feels she doesn't have enough litter to cover her mess, she'll find another solution - usually outside the cat litter box.
While not difficult, it is important to properly clean a cat litter box to eradicate as much cat urine odor as possible. With a little bit of practice, you can quickly and easily clean cat litter boxes to ensure consistent litter box habits from your kitties.
First, empty out the cat litter box into a trash can with a closeable bag. Don't get too close to the dust and breathe it - the stuff is foul and it'll cause you to cough! Repeat this step for all cat litter boxes in your home.
If you use clumping litter, be sure to scrape out all litter clumps and loose bits. When you're scrubbing out the cat litter box with hot water, you don't want major chunks going into your drain system. The clumping litter will do exactly what it's supposed to...clump! If this happens, you'll be calling your plumber!
Spray or pour a little bit of your favorite enzyme cleaner into the empty cat litter box. I either use Dumb Cat or Simple Solution. Let this sit in the box while you proceed to the next step.
Go back to the cat litter box location and sweep up all the loose litter. If you use a rug or a mat, pick it up, take it outside, and give it a hell of a shake to dislodge all loose litter granules. Go back inside and use your enzyme cleaner to wipe down the area where the cat litter box resides.
While this area is drying, run hot, soapy water and put some in the cat litter box, along with the enzyme cleaner. I recommend you wear rubber gloves during the entire cleaning process to keep a barrier between the box and your skin. Use a scrub brush, and scrub out the cat litter box thoroughly.
Rinse the box well, and let it dry for a few minutes. Check the cat litter box area, and make sure it's dry. Place the litter box mat or rug back in place.
Fill up the cat litter box with your cat's favorite litter. How much do you put in? It depends upon your cat. Some cats like the box filled up; others only require a couple inches worth of cat litter. Pay attention to your cat; she'll tell you how much she needs. Be sure to put enough in so kitty can cover her deposits when she's made them.
Finally, haul out the garbage bag that contains the old, dirty litter. There's less chance of your house smelling like cat urine odor if the bag is promptly removed from your home.
How often should you clean your cat litter boxes? I have three cat litter boxes for two cats. The two most heavily used cat litter boxes get cleaned weekly. The third, lesser-used one is cleaned every other week.
Repeat this for every cat litter box in your home. Sometimes JJ, my older cat, will hang around while I'm cleaning the boxes. Once I put them back in place, he often hops right into one and makes an immediate deposit, as if he was just waiting for me to finish!
When you're done, take a long, hot shower to clean yourself! It's a great reward after a dirty job.