Well, I’ll admit it, I love my cats.
I never liked cats before I had my own; in fact I remember being horrified when I used to babysit kids with cats. After calming the kids down from their night-time fears, my own would set in. Any sound, glow or creek in the house would scare me. I was literally on edge until the parents came in the door. The culprits of these noises? No paranormal activity here, just a couple of cats staring at me in the dark and creeping around.
From that point, cats and I didn’t get along.
So, What Happened?
My husband and I discussed getting a pet.
I wanted a dog; the deal killer was that I’d have to walk it in the winter because he didn’t want a dog. My husband said that we should get a cat. I didn’t like that idea very much until we went to a pet store and saw a beautiful little kitten there. She was white with chocolate brown ears, boots and tail. A little Siamese-Himalayan mix kitten with bright blue eyes, it really doesn’t get much cuter than that folks. We took her out to play (in that little cavernous room in the pet store that closes the deal literally every single time) and that was that – we got a cat. Her name, Malee, is the Thai version of ‘Molly’, which we wanted to do to honour her heritage.
A little over a year later, we thought that Malee would enjoy a friend at home while we were out working all day. We searched around for a cat we thought would match her personality well. One day, a few months into our search, we met a little black kitten at a PetSmart adopt-a-thon who was petrified of us and completely in love with us at the same time. She looked the total opposite of Malee; all black with white ‘tiger’ stripes in her undercoat (I believe her colouring is referred to as ‘black smoke’) and bright yellow eyes. That cat we called Paislee (due to her amazing striped pattern, and to have a similar name-ending to Malee) and now those two have the run of the house.
We look over a lot with those cats.
The hair can be something else, hence our Dyson purchase but 2 days after getting little Malee. The cat puke-in-random-locations-at-inopportune-times thing has taken some getting used to and now I don’t wince, I just grab my cleaning product and cloth and get to work. Discovering my cat allergies has been a good time as well (I keep the Reactine folks in business and am currently contemplating allergy shots). But I have to say, acclimatizing to living with a litter box has by far been the biggest challenge for me.
We keep ours by our kitchen’s patio door to allow for good ventilation in warmer months and also to be accessible to the backyard hose for cleaning. Finally, we won’t forget about it (like we potentially would if it were in our basement). If a day goes by where it is not scooped, I freak out. Cats aside, I have a sensitive nose and I feel like my house reeks (OMG, I can’t have anyone over. This is horrible – what, do I live in a toilet?).
We have one box for the cats to share. We are planning on getting a second one so that each cat has her own private space. I like the theory behind this but I am not too fond of the added work it’s going to require. According to some research I’ve done, it seems this is the best way to keep each cat happy and eliminating in the right place (read: we’ve encountered a couple of accidents – not fun) is to have a separate litter box for each cat.
Further to that, managing the odours comes down to how often you are scooping the litter (i.e. removing the waste), changing the litter and of course cleaning the litter box and surrounding area.
What’s worked best for us? I think we have a pretty solid (no pun intended) routine.
Here’s our litterbox strategy
We keep a grooved winter boot mat under the litter box. It’s great at catching any extra granules or pieces of litter that get stuck in their paws upon exit of the commode and also helps with keeping cleanup easier. It’s plastic and easy to wash. I tried the other litter mats that are made out of rubber (look like rubber spaghetti clumped together) which absorb anything (read: accidents) meaning mine got tossed. If the cats get any litter around the area we just sweep it up. They are pretty good at containing it to that area though.
The Litter box
We used to have one with a top closure and a charcoal filter. The cats hated that closure; it trapped in all their elimination odours (think about how you feel in a ‘full’ port-o-potty). The charcoal filter sitting atop of the box didn’t do much by way or eliminating odours despite the very convincing marketing. We ditched the lid and the cats much prefer the open space. It airs out better. We now use a biodegradable and disposable litter box, and the cats absolutely adore the texture of it (they scratch it for fun). I like this plan better, and would not have gone for it if the litterboxes were not biodegradable.
The Litter Liners
Again, we used to use these however they became cumbersome and superfluous. I don’t think the liner is a necessary step so long as you are cleaning and disinfecting your litter box on a regular basis. They seem like a product that was developed to sell in pet stores (Johnson, we need to raise our sales numbers this quarter…think of a way to sell the customers something they already have…). If you want to line the box, use newspaper or tinfoil (they won’t feel it under all the litter) and change it each week. Apparently, cats don’t really like liners. The bottom line: clean your litter box out and you won’t have to worry about a liner. If you find your litter box is absorbing odours into the plastic, you can replace it every year. We don’t, but I’m just saying, if you find that is an issue, there’s your alternative solution.
The Deodorizing Products
We keep a PureAir charcoal filter beside our litter box. It is cleaner and looks nicer than a box of baking soda and needs changing once every 6 months. We’ve found it somewhat helpful in managing the ever smelly issue of cat elimination. I am not a fan of air fresheners (they give me a screaming headache), so I avoid them at all costs. Plus I don’t want to mask an odour, I’d rather deal with it. Finally, cats are pretty finicky (you don’t say), and if they don’t like that smell they’ll find somewhere else to do their business. If you are going to use something, stick to a natural solution like a half-lemon left in a dish near the litter box, an open bowl of vinegar, a box of baking soda or a charcoal air filter.
We were just downright cheap when it comes to litter. I mean, how can you justify spending premium dollar on a toilet-y sandbox for cats? Previously, we’ve been seen creeping out of discount grocers with their bottom-of-the-barrel kitty litter brand. Cheap, readily available clumping litter. It makes a total mess; it is dusty and grainy. It does not help with odours. I also hate scooping because dust rises and settle everywhere (and then I wonder how many toxins I’m breathing in – hypochondria).
A Litter Story
Prior to using clumping litter, we used compressed newspaper pellets and found it worked (although it didn’t clump as well) but it was expensive. It was not too easy to scoop either, since you couldn’t actually sift through and let the unused litter fall back into the pan. It helped with odours somewhat, but we were not totally satisfied. Malee was brought up on that litter so we kept using it until Paislee came along. Then we moved to something designed for a ‘multi cat’ home, bringing us to the clumping litter scenario. The cats were seemingly indifferent to the litter types, which somewhat surprised me since I’ve heard cats can be pretty particular when it comes to litter and are not good with change. I was not a fan. The house smelled, the stuff was messy, dusty and got everywhere when we were changing or scooping it. Cheap or not, it sucked.
The thing with litter is, there are so many different kinds of kitty litter and they all come with their own host of warnings, costs and environmental issues. So after months of contemplation, we decided to give some other litter types a whirl. We purchased a small package of Feline Pine (compressed pine pellets) and Swheat Scoop (wheat litter). The Feline Pine is neat; it’s like little compressed pine pellets and actually has a very pleasant smell (forest-y!) I actually like the smell of the litter and the cats didn’t seem to mind it. It’s also priced a little cheaper than Swheat Scoop. The pellets are similar in size to that of compressed newspaper and have an interesting reaction. The pellets break down as they urine and it turns into sawdust. Feces sort of sit on top of the litter or catch a few pellets in it while the cats are cleaning up. I found that it got quite dusty with the urine breaking down the pellets, but if you keep the amount of litter to a couple of inches it is manageable. You also have to be more precise when scooping (same thing with the newspaper pellets), because you can’t exactly sift out larger, clean pellets through your shovel and end up scooping clean litter away as well. However, if you were ever a kid that played in a sandbox, this shouldn’t be an issue for you. It also holds odours in pretty well – I have to say, I did not noticed a wretched smell coming from the box after we switched to that brand.
When Feline Pine ran out, we started using Swheat Scoop. If you’ve ever tried Red River cereal, it looks very similar to Swheat Scoop. We sprinkled it in a cleaned out litter box and gave it a try. It has no scent and is not dusty. Again, the cats were impervious to the change. What I liked is that it behaved the same way clumping litter does, making both number ones and number twos easy to clean up after and still allows the rest of the clean litter to sift through the scoop back into the pan for future use. It leaves no dust at all and does not break down once wet, and finally, it traps in odours well. I like it, however it’s not quite the greatest odour eliminator.
Someone told me about crystal litter, and I was very unsure about these multi-coloured granules. However, we gave it a whirl and the cats seemed fine with the change. The cool thing is, they change colour when they are no longer functional (sort of like your toothbrush), and they are unbelivevably amazing when it comes to trapping odours. I have not come across a better kind of litter. I also like how it does not clump and create dust, it is easy to scoop, and only needs to be ‘stirred’ to freshen it up. We change ours every 2-3 weeks and scoop / stir it frequently.
Crystals are the winner. The cats like it, it’s easy to use, sifts well, is not dusty, traps odours and is easy to clean up. I’d try a bag out and see what you think for yourself.
The Litter Schedule
I just want to preface this by saying that this is an ideal schedule; we do not keep it all the time.
We do as best we can. When we do keep to the schedule, the results are the best.
The litter gets scooped twice daily; in the morning when I feed them and at night when he feeds them. We scoop the litter into little lunch paper bags and dispose of them with the garbage (don’t worry, we don’t light them on fire and place them on our neighbours’ doorsteps). He cleans the box out weekly and changes the litter. Do we stick to our plan always? No, but it really helps in managing that smell when we do. I don’t care what litter has been used, I find nothing else works as well as continual maintenance.
The Box Cleaning Routine
To clean a plastic litter box:
Empty the litter into a garbage bag and pre-soak the litter box with disinfectant and baking soda for 10 minutes.
Hose out in the backyard (yes, even in the winter) and dry with paper towel.
The mat and surrounding area gets a quick clean up as well (a sweep to the tiles and the mat just gets sprayed down with disinfectant and dried).
Litter is refilled.
We put in about 1.5-2 inches worth of litter in the box, apparently cats don’t like swimming in their litter box (gosh, I can’t imagine why). There’s no harm in sprinkling in extra baking soda into the box, which will help eliminate odours as well. They just need enough coverage to kick around and clean up after themselves.
Like a typical cat, Malee eagerly awaits the clean litter box so that she can hop in and move litter around to better suit her feng shui, literally one millisecond after the last litter granule falls in the box. It’s like clockwork.
What is your routine?
What brands of litter do you use?
Have you found any methods that are very effective for managing litter boxes?
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[…] business in the litter box. Third, cats are creatures of habit and once they’ve developed a litter box routine, they’re unlikely to deviate from it. Finally, most cats dislike getting dirty and will do […]
[…] Para limpiar la caja de arena, primero, vaciarla por completo. A continuación, llene la caja de arena con agua tibia y unas cucharadas de bicarbonato de sodio, y déjelo en remojo durante diez minutos. Luego rocíe toda la caja en el patio trasero. Seque con una toalla de papel antes de volver a llenar. Si necesita más consejos sobre la arena, consulte mi artículo, La mejor rutina de limpieza de la caja de arena. […]
If you have a cat you need to care about the cat’s health and clean your cat regularly. Beacause like human when he does not clean himself he could get ill, the cat also wants care and attention. To prevent cat from any disease you need to care about your cat and clean and clean your cat and cat’s equipment that the cat uses like a bowl, litter box, etc regularly.
I hadn’t thought about litter liners prior to this article. It doesn’t seem like you recommend them, though. Is that true?
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First of all EVERYONE who has ever had a cat except new owners and lazy people know you must have 2 litter boxes for them 1 for pooping and 1 for peeing. If you don’t you fully deserve your stinking house. Second never use scented litter they HATE IT. Just use clumping. You have to clean it every day or it will stink. But really how lazy are you? It takes less than a minute to get a plastic bag grocery bags work from your groceries a scoop even a slotted spoon from a thrift store for 10cents works scoop the stuff into the bag tie it shut and done. You don’t even have to throw it away until it stinks unless you want to. And your cat will be happy you will be happy and no more smelly house. Literally takes 1 minute. If you use hard clumping little it will cost you all of about 7 dollars every 2 or 3 months. Not that expensive guys. Not rocket science either.
My litter box routine is quick and easy. Starting with a clean box I first line the box with several layers of old newspaper (friends who still buy hardcopy newspapers give me their old papers). My idea is that the newspaper does the “heavy lifting” in terms of soaking up urine etc and if enough layers are used the tray itself stays very clean. I then throw in 2-3 hands full of litter box granules. I use granules made from recycled newspaper processed into small beads / granules. In this configuration they do not do much (as I said the newspaper sheets do most of the work) but they give the cat something to scratch – and cats seem to instinctively need that). Every day without fail I take the litter box, insert it into a large plastic bin liner and quickly upend it. Everything falls into the bag with no need to rummage about picking out poop. I then replace the paper sheets and the litter box granules with new. And mostly that is all that is needed but if necessary the bin can be cleaned then and there. Other than this it just needs washing about once a week or so. The cat is so used to this routine that in the morning she absolutely refuses to use the litter tray till I have cleaned it! Even if she is desperate she just sits and meows at me till I do my duty.
The life of a cat owner, hey!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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I’ve started using Arm and Hammer Clump and Seal / Slide cat litter. It clumps well and it does not stick to the litter box. Also it does not generate a lot of dust. It’s a little expensive but not as much as some of the premium litters. And best of all the cats like it. I buy the 38 lb box to save a little $$$. Y do have to remove the clumps at least every day though. We have a female named Jethro (the rescue shelter named her that thinking she was a he). And we have a 20 lb cat found walking the streets as a 3 lb kitten. Named him Jasmine thinking he was a she – then had to change his name to Jazzman once we took him to the vet to get him fixed….
Ha!Ha! Same with our Evie! We thought “she” was a “he” until “her” first vet visit. We decided to keep his name as Evie as our daughter had named “her.” He is a beautiful black cat and decided that Evie was just short for Evening. So Evie it is!
Oops, I meant we thought he was a she at first.
I’ve read horrible things about that litter causing fur loss.
I am forced to use liners so I can have my carers change the kitty litter. I’ve managed to keep smells under control by scooping with toilet paper in between, covering with a light sprinkle of more kitty litter, and a good supply of insects. My laundry is right next to my bedroom and you know they love to descicrate just when you go to bed, and of course as soon as it’s fresh and clean. Spraying a little cat nip in that general area also encourages my fur-baby to think it’s a safe place.
Since our cat is fiv+ his health comes first and foremost. We found Dr. Easleys Respiratory Relief to be the best. About 15 bucks for 20 lbs on Chewy. We put one full box in his hugely oversized, open air box. We scoop once a day and change out once a month. It’s a good rotation that is low dust which is good for him and us. We also like that there is no fragrance and we have no smell coming from his box unless you just walk in after he has pooped, then we just clean it immediately. I dont want any chemicals in his litter, he licks his paws….that seems like a bad idea to have toxins he would lick. He kicks it outside the box once in a while. I just sweep once a day when I clean the box. Keep it simple, too many gimmicks like self cleaning boxes are more work than they are worth imo, fragrances lead to health issues and expensive vet bills. Open air box, quality dust and fragrance free litter, scoop and broom.
Hands down, the best litter for me is World’s Best Cat Litter. It’s made of corn and is environmentally friendly and I don’t have to worry about my feline babies licking their paws after wards. It clumps really well. I scoop the poop every time they have a bowel movement. I have two cats (I used to have 3, but recently lost my precious boy to kidney failure) and the 6.35 kg bag lasts me a week. I scoop the clumped litter and add more as needed. Time to change the litter is when I notice it getting a bit “powdery”. I’ve tried pine based litters and don’t like them and won’t used anything that isn’t environmentally friendly. World’s Best Cat Litter is even flushable – I’ve used it for over 10 years and never had any problems.
MY BEST ADVISE TO YOU INTERESTED IN THIS BREED —
I rinse my persian cat’s box out every day
Then line it with a few layers of news paper.
Then I put just a cupful of litter down,
tear a good amount of newspapers into
strips. I put the strips of paper right on
top of the litter. Persians prefer it this
way because they like having something on top
of the litter, to keep the litter from going
in between their toes & getting stuck in the
fur on their toes. I always scoop the poop
out right away. Daily, & usually at night I clean
out all the newspaper, & toss it out in an old
plastic grocery bag. I rinse the litter pan with
soapy water & then rinse with just water.
A couple of times a week I add a tad of bleach
to the rinse water to disenfect. Works out
well, & honestly the cats are fine with going
to the bathroom with no litter & just newspaper
lined in the box with newspaper strips !!!
Litter boxes have been this way in my house for at least 20 yrs !!!????
Please help. I started using clumping litter about a month ago. I have two cats two litters boxes and I use 20 lbs of litter per week.They can’t even fit in the recycling box. What a m I doing wrong? I would appreciate any help I can get. Thank you.
Just scoop out the poop and such. Don’t replace it all every week. I use those little doggie pick up bags from Walmart and scoop out the stuff in the litter every evening. I put it in a bucket by the back door and throw that out each week – it’s just a few pounds.
That’s what I do, but just read that bacteria might remain in the unscooped litter still in the box! Does scooping out all that clings Not truly clean the box?
That’s why you will need to clean out the litter box once a month.. or some schedule like that. We have 2 cats, 2 litterboxes and while we scoop them out every day (2 litterboxes has made a huge difference in our cats getting along), I replace the litter once every month to 2 months. Disinfect the boxes and put in fresh litter. As long as they’re not wallowing in fecal matter, it should be fine.
I like the Dr. Elsey’s which I will mix with a litter box deodorizer, and I scoop at least once a day, most of the time twice. I also don’t like the covered boxes because I prefer it airing out, but I also prefer having the higher sides that the covers offer because some of my cats like to stand up, and will miss the litter box and hit the wall. My solution was to get the covered boxes and use a box cutter to cut the tops off the covers.
Then I wipe the insides when I scoop the litter (occasionally lifting the lid to clean between the two pieces). My walls and the floor stay clean. The mats I put in front are rubber-backed fabric that are machine washable, so if they miss the box it is absorbed, the floor is protected, and I can throw the mat in the washer. I foster cats and usually have around 10 in the house, plus sometimes a few kittens here and there, and have 6 litter boxes. People who come in here do comment they are surprised they can not smell any cats in here, so what I’m doing must work.
I HAVE USED PRACTICALLY ALL LITTER AND SETTLED WITH SWEAT SCOOP. IF THEIR ARE FINE LITTLE
PEBBLES ON THE FLOOR I JUST MOP OR BROOM THE FEW AND PUT THEM BACK IN THE LITTER BOX.
NO PROBLEM WITH ODOUR AT ALL. IF A CAT DOESN’T COVER THE POO I PLACE CLEAN OLD CLOTHS
OR SMALL TOWELS CLOSE TO THE LITTER BOX AND THEY TAKE THAT AND COVER THE POO. NO PROBLEM. I LIFT THE LITTER BOX AND SHAKE THE FRESH AWAY FROM THE CLUMP, PICK UP THE CLUMP WITH A SMALL PLASTIC BAG THEN CLEAN THAT SPOT WITH WHITE VINEGAR AFTER I HAD WIPED THE SIDES OF
THE LITTLE BOX WITH WHITE VINEGAR, AND VINEGAR DRIES QUICKLY SO I DON’T NEED TO USE PAPER TOWELS. THE CLOTHS OR THE SMALL TOWELS I SOAK OVER NIGHT IN FRAGRANCE FREE LAUNDRY SOAP.
I DON’T NEED TO USE PAPER TOWELS. EVERYTHING NATURAL IS GREAT.
I’m retired on a fixed income and have two elderly cats. I wrap my litter boxes in a large kitchen trash bag (found some cheap ones on Amazon). I had tried Feline Pine and liked it pretty well, then someone told me about sawdust pellets used for horse bedding. It’s just like Feline Pine minus the chemicals that feline pine has and it has a pleasant odor. It costs about $12 for 40 lbs at Tractor Supply. So, my main reasons for choosing it is that it’s a natural product and it’s way less expensive than any other litter I’ve found. My cats adapted to it quite quickly.
My routine: I scoop once or twice a day. Every other day or so I change the litter and run the mini vac around the littler boxes. Happy cats and happy me!
With two senior ladies in the house I have four litter boxes. I make them out of tote boxes about $10-15 each. I cut an entrance into the box and done. My one gal has been having diarrhea and stomach issues and talk about odor – enough to make your eyes water. It has been a frustrating journey, she is allergic to chicken (you’d be surprised that chicken is used in just about all foods). The messes I have cleaned up and the paper towels I’ve gone through. I have used and tried many of the litters out there. I found several of the “natural” litters have bug issues, ants, etc. gross. Dr. Elsey’s litter is the hardest clumping litter you can buy and lasts quite a long time. I thought I’d try the pine pellets and the kitties seemed to be agreeable, but the cost ouch! In comes horse stall wood pellets – 40 lbs for $7.50. This stuff is great. I am also using Dr. Elsey’s Kitten Litter because my gal has decided to use the floor for solids and boxes for wet. She seems to love the kitten litter, its very soft and fine like sand. The worse part is it is like glue to clean out of the box until I read about putting a layer of baking soda under the litter, that really helps. I scoop as often as required every day, the boxes with the wood pellets are so easy to clean. I use a sifter box (cheap one) and use that to sift my pellets. I just dumped my Litter Locker (and it’s special bags) and now am using a diaper pail for used litter and regular 13 gal trash bags, no expensive refills – love it. My biggest issue is the scoop and the gunk that clings to it, I use metal and plastic scoops and have same problem. I live in house over 100 years old and would never consider putting a scoop anywhere near the drains LOL. The best I have found is taking a bucket with Simple Green in it to soak the gunk off and toss the water (no I don’t toss it in my drains). We pet parents do what we can for our furbabies. P.S. I’m a Jackson Galaxy follower and don’t scrub, bleach, sanitize, etc. the boxes and unless there is a diarrhea explosion there is no smell.
Thanks for all the advice! I wanted to share a couple tricks I’ve learned over the years being a cat owner…
Instead of buying the expensive enzyme solutions, I use an original yellow antiseptic mouthwash like Listerine. I have 4 cats, so I keep it on hand and it’s a life saver! I use it for disinfecting the litter boxes (after cleaning with ammonia) and cleaning up after accidents. For accidents on carpet or upholstery, I dry up as much as I can with a towel then re-dampen the area with the mouthwash. After 20 minutes or so I use a carpet cleaner or shop vacuum to pull out the excess moisture. As for the towel or any other washing machine safe items that get marked, they go in the washing machine with detergent and mouth wash. I also put the mouthwash in the bleach dispenser so it can get a second dose during the wash cycle.
Side note – The mouthwash also works well to remove the mildew smell from towels that were left damp too long.
For cat litter, when I had a 1 cat house, the crystal type was amazing! But now with 4 cats, it’s just too costly. Instead, I use Scoop Away brand because it clumps well enough that I can go several months without doing a full litter change. The disadvantage is that it is dusty and tracks out of the box easily, but I’d rather clean up from that than spend $40+ a month to do a full litter change for 4 boxes! I scoop them every 2-3 days (I know I should do better) into a litter genie and top them off with fresh litter as needed to keep it about 2 inches deep. To help with litter tracking and to hide all these boxes, I have some inside of storage ottomans (with a hole cut in the side) and another in a cabinet I modified that also houses the supplies. With this combination, I have not had issues with lingering odors and have received several compliments that people didn’t even realize there was a litter box in the room!
Hi – you say you leave a filter by the litter box. That’s it – you just put the filter there and it helps to absorb odors? Or does the filter go into some kind of machine?
I think she’s talking about those charcoal odor neutralizers.. I can pick the round flat ones (look like a smoke detector) that last a month in packs of 2 for 6 dollars.. and they are AMAZING. I keep one by the front door and one by the litter boxes which are in my workroom. I’ve never had any complaints and unless one of the little goblins has had an accident somewhere, you’d never know I had litterboxes in the house. Yes, my Chloe is a goblin, and I love her for her hissy, queen diva magnificence.
I was looking for a way to scoop the litter and put it back I to the litter containers so that they could be reused to hold the spent litter. I know I’m not the only one who has thought of this, I am trying to create less trash, so one of you brilliant minds please help me and tell me how you made this work for you so I can stop tryi g to reinvent the wheel! My box I usually keep in the bathtub it makes it.easier for me to sweep up any tracked out litter, but I just feel I can do better at the daily scoop. I have used a litter locker which I do like, but still there are all of those empty plastic jugs or boxes that the litter came in. Someone, I am just certain, has this already figured out. Thanks a bunch! Patti
I switched to “the worlds best cat litter and what a difference! its a bit more expensive but lasts and lasts so its cheaper in the long run.. it now comes in different scents and of course the no scent . Its made of corn. better for humans and the cats and lessons the chance of urinary issues .. if its good for humans lungs then much healthier litter! its flush-able but i wouldn’t flush it. i have the regular and now the lavender and both are practically dust free and the odor is almost none existent unless one of them poops and doesn’t cover it! Trust me, its great litter! Doesn’t irritate the lungs like all the other litters do with dust and smells.. I have FOUR rescue cats. Two older and two young. I use very tall litter boxes and it works pretty well.
I had 1 litterbox when my two cats were kittens, when they grew up I got an extra. They decided to use one for nr1 and the other for nr2.
And also never going back to anything else but crystals, what an invention!
Our two female cats have been indoor/outdoor for the past 2 years. I’ve avoided the litter box because our home is only 885 sq ft and I worry it could be smelled all through the house. But snow just arrived and we’ll be leaving home for 3 days at Christmas. Just can’t let them stay out that long. So….I just purchased a pack of jumbo Nature’s Miracle disposable litter boxes, a large mat to catch litter and Dr. Elsey’s Precious litter. Thanks for your advice. Plan to scoop out twice a day and replace entire box and litter once a month. Hope it works.
Hi. I love your article and all your advice. Your writing style is superb and I actually laughed out loud several times. I would purchase and read a whole book by you. Thank you and happy scooping!
That’s so sweet! Thanks for reading, Rebecca!!
I have a super sensitive cat who doesn’t go with closed litter boxes, plastic or artificial litter or even standard litter boxes … so I use a baby bath for her box with lots of kitchen towels underneath it (she holds one of her legs off the ground which leads to occasional incidents) and natural litter (that I clean every other day) and never close the area (she’s also a bit claustrophobic) but to keep her privacy I just fit the bath in a tiny depression in the wall. My only question is about how I can keep her box chemically cleaner since recently there has been some insects getting near her box and I wouldn’t want any of them to lay eggs there and at the same time don’t want to use any harmful chemicals, so is there any natural home remedies for that?
Up until a week ago I had only one cat who is 2 years old. Her litter box is outside so it is getting enough sunlight and the smell is manageable. However, we got two new kittens last week and the litter box is inside and let’s just say that the litter box gets smelly really quickly. Your tips has helped a lot! Thank you!!
Hi all! Thanks so much for sharing! I also would like to know what is used to disinfect the litter box. Anyone? Anyone? Ferris?
I am apparently a little different from the norm here but let me explain. I have three cats. I have two litter boxes. They are Sterilite containers that I got at a Big Box store but you can get them anywhere. They’re a little wider at the top where the lid goes. So, the lid works as a tray on the bottom of the box to catch litter. 🙂
They’re so cheap that I can replace them easily whenever I want, but do so yearly. (Around 5 bucks USD) They’re very deep so the cats must jump into them AND out of them, leaving most of the litter off their paws and in the box because they’re paws spread to leap. Also, I keep at LEAST six inches of litter in there, because urine never ever gets to the bottom of the box that way, so you clean the box much less often AND it’s easier to get under the litter and scoop upward. I have marked a line in the corners with a sharpie so I know when the litter is lower then it should be. I use a heavy duty metal extra large scoop, so there’s not much work at all.
I place the litter in a tshirt bag bought by the boxful at Sams. They’re easy to tie shut and from there I put them in a diaper genie, also bought at sams. When full, easy to empty. No smells from there at all, and I keep it right next to the litter boxes. The litter boxes sit side by side in a hallway with good ventilation.
I wash all with Dawn dishwashing liquid and scrub all thoroughly with a rough brush, then use OdoBan on the inside of the box, and wipe dry with a paper towel. I would love to have input on what everyone uses to dissolve any film left on the side of the box, mostly from dried urine I suppose. Thanks in advance and good luck all! I was thinking about the closed boxes and I wanted to add that although mine don’t really dig much (they just do their business and cover) if yours do dig then I would worry about dust for sure because their faces are right there, close to that awful dust. I ALWAYS wear a mask (just the cheap kind you get at the drug store and hook over your ears for the flu) and it has made a WORLD of difference. I highly recommend this! You can use it for a month or two then get out another one. Pinch at the nose to fit.
Disinfectant ideas please? Thank you!!
I have two kittens and two breeze litter systems. I started out with one regular box, but one of my kittens refused to go in it. The day I brought a second box home, no more accidents! But I live in a small one bedroom apartment. The small was horrible and I didn’t know what to do! That’s when I switched to the breeze system. It’s a bit more pricy, but I watch for sales and stock up on the pellets and pee pads when I can get a good deal. My kittens LOVE it and I rarely smell anything at all!!!
I have two hideaway boxes in black from https://outofsightlitterbox.com and use the Feline Pine that is like tiny wood chips (not the pellets). My cat’s love their furniture and the litter. People never know that there are litter boxes in the living room. Unless I let them go for a bit. But that person couldn’t figure out where the smell was coming from until I confessed. Then they wanted to check out the boxes because they thought that they were just pieces of normal furniture. I keep them scooped now. Lol
Thank you (SalvagedKharma) for the wonderful recommendation! And yes, as my instructions say: it only takes a minute in the morning and another in the evening to keep the litter box clean and odor free. Walk up, open the Top Lid, scoop and walk away. The patented raised litter pan makes cleaning while standing upright easy on the human. The Out of Sight Litter Box stops litter tracking (no more cleaning), hides the litter box mess, keeps dogs (and small children) out of the litter pan and makes cleaning easy and quick. The cabinets are available in: White, Maple, Oak, Mahogany (mixes with any cherry), Walnut and Black. Also included are two (2) High-Sider litter boxes, no more “misses” over the edge, two TraxTurf pads that trap and hold litter, an Odor Absorber and a litter scoop! All my best, blessing to you all! Cat-man-doo-doo, inventor of the Out of Sight Littler Box. https://outofsightlitterbox.com
P.S. Congratulations Melissa for creating an incredible useful website and YouTube Channel, love both, use both! Paul 🙂
What should I use as disinfectant for cleaning the lox and mat?
Another reason not to use an enclosed litter box (besides it trapping the dust inside for them to breathe, which can cause health problems) is that you need to keep a watch on their poop habits. I’m not saying every single time, but now and then, just check it out before they cover to see if it looks normal or if it’s the wrong color, may have blood in it, or they are constipated. You can’t do this with a covered litter box.
Even if the litter you are using says “flushable” – please do not do this. Read why here: http://www.thebestlitterbox.com/why-you-shouldnt-use-flushable-cat-litter/
I don’t know how companies get away with saying litter is flushable.
I quit using regular litter boxes and now use MacCourt drywall mud pans from Lowes (or most home improvement store). they are MUCH cheaper than buying a litter box and they are longer and a little wider. They come in 2 sizes. the larger one has a bit higher sides than the smaller one. The edges and rounded instead of square like in a litter box which made it much easier to scoop. The small one is 20 in W x 26 in L x 4-1/2 in H and is about $6. the larger one is 37.6 in L x 22.8 in W and is 7.7 in H and is about $13. When I wash them out, I like to leave them outside to air dry, so I have 2 extra that are always clean and ready to use.
I use a fairly new brand of litter called Eko something. Its like small soft wood. I was trying to find something that was not a health hazard for my cat. I wanted to avoid toxins & litter that could enter the digestive tract & cause problems(which is why I quit using clay clumping litter). I keep a litter trap container next to the box. This works great & I change it out weekly. I too do an open air box. I go for a big shallow one. My cats have always liked this. I scoop every night. I also had my father make a very cool liter box hider. Just using mdf & hinges. He painted a silhouette of a cat on it. It hides the box & looks stylish in my bathroom. Its an easy screen that I can move around for cleaning.
Have you seen the Kickstarter with seeds and a urine collecting cup? No litter. Very cool.
I recently read about using chicken crumbles (chicken feed) as litter. Since we have chickens, and chicken crumble, I thought it was worth a try. I’m sold on it! My husband can’t stand the awful (to him) smell of the perfumed litters, which gets worse when its ‘used’. So, the chicken crumbles: no smell, either from the crumbles or from the kitty droppings, the poo dries out quickly, and is easy to scoop, the pee goes down to the bottom of the box and there is no smell until I get ready to clean it out and disturb the top layer. It lasts much longer than regular litter, and costs less than half of what we were paying. It does come in 50 lb bags so the storage is a little different. I have started using the old litter buckets and store the crumbles in them. Convenient, no accidental spills. So this is my favorite and some of you might like to try it also.
Gail, forgive my ignorance. If chicken crumbles are chicken feed, would the cats be interested in eating it?
I used a roll-away litter box. It’s kind of a dome with a shifter and then a drawer you pull out with the waste inside. Essentially you roll the litter box towards you until it’s completely upside down the waste falls into the top then when you roll it back it drops into the slide out drawer.
I put that right into a litter locker 2 so cleaning the litter takes 30 seconds. Once as we leave for work in the morning and once as we put the cats to bed (we kennel our cats at night- more restful nights all around more active cats while we’re home). We do put in baking soda though it’s not necessary. We have 2 roll away boxes and two litter locker 2’s for the couple weeks we had to set up our cat in the second bedroom of our apartment. I
have no outdoor hose so everything is unfortunately soaked and bleached in the tub once every couple months (8 weeks usually). But we have small cats (3.4 & 4.3 kg). I got my Roll Away at Canadian Tire but I know they have them at Costco as well.
I HAVE TWO CATS–14AND 12. THE ELDER IS DIABETIC AND URINATES 5-6 X A DAY. CLEAN IS VERY DIFFICULT AS I AM 86 AND HAVE PD. IT TAKES ABOUT 30 MIN TO CLEAN 2 BOXES AND AREA. I PUT PUPPY PADS AROUND BOXES. PUT CLUMPS IN RECYCLE BAGS TWICE A DAY. IT WEIGHS ALMOST AS MUCH AS THE CATS! ALSO SPEND ABOUT $15 A WEEK ON LITTER. ANY SUGGESTIONS TO HELP GREATLY APPRECIATED.
Mary, do you have any friends or family members that live close by? My best advice to you would be to ask for some help from your loved ones. If you have grandchildren or younger neighbors, ask if maybe they will help you with your kitties for maybe a small allowance. I want to say this next bit to you in the kindest and most respectful, but also direct way; if you no longer able to properly care for your cats, and you do not get someone to help you care for your cats, you may want to consider finding them homes where the owners are able to give them the care the deserve. Now, I’m definitely not saying you are unable to care for your cats! But if you ever find that you cannot, please do the right thing!
Having said that, have you tried the “lightweight” litter? I buy the Fredh Step LightWeight for my cat, and though it is by no means “light”, it is still half the weight of regular litter. You could also try the disposable littler boxes described in the article with maybe the lighter, more “paper” based litter?
Anyhow, I wish you all the best, and I hope you can find someone to help you out!
Great video & advice. G-d Bless.Roche.
It’s very interesting reading as you have many products that we don’t have in Australia. Also, the costs of the different types of litter over here is not the same. The most expensive are the crystals, although there are a few types and price varies according to brand – they all work the same, next are the newspaper pellets and then a number of clay-based products. I actually use the Woolworths brand of the clay-based as I have found it to be the most cost-efficient and best to use: the Coles brand produces a lot of dust. I have 3 cats and I scoop every night and completely clean/replace the the litter each morning. I rotate 2 trays, hose out and scrub the dirty one and let it dry naturally before swapping it for the other. I put approximately 3-4cm of litter in the tray. I don’t use any type of disinfectant as my furbabies don’t like the smell. The only time their litter smells is when one of them is actually going, and sometimes the next few minutes. I think I’ll try the baking soda ideas: some sprinkled in the tray and an open box beside the tray, to see how it works. Thanks for all your ideas!
We have two cats. One bold and pushy, the other our scaredy cat, quite timid. We use a covered box with clumping litter. I keep the scoop at the box and scoop daily into a cheap ziplock and then the garbage. Our box lasts quite a while, when the litter gets low I simply empty, clean and refill. We love our data and the box is no problem at all !!
Thank you for sharing….
The breeze system is the best!! It has pellets and a tray for urine. No litter scattered all over the house. I give it 5 stars.
the problem i’ve read about enclosed litter boxes is that it traps all the dust inside with the cat and can give them breathing problems.
We have three Singapuras and use a Litter Robot which we’ve had since the machines became available in Europe (had the same one for over ten years). We buy the Worlds Best Cat Litter which is dust free. The Litter Robot is cleaned every morning (base only) with cold water and a little floral disinfectant.
I have two cats and 2 pans. They pee in one and poop in the other!!!!
We have five cats and World’s Best cat litter in lavender scent has been a lifesaver. It’s also flushable, but we opt not to given the volume from five cats.
So happy to get updated on kitty litter methods. Thanks. Thought I’d mention that we purchased a dog litter box we put under our cat’s litter box. It’s perfect–about 5-6″ extra space on all around for containing mess, and the sides come up about as high as the cat’s litter box. Much better than any mats or trays we’ve tried before. Bought it at a pet store.
Thanks Melissa, your highly entertaining take on a very serious cat topic made my day 😀
I believe the crystals are the best to use as it does cover the smell of the faeces and urine.
We have 3 cats just now and my husband found 2 large baking trays and took the handles off the bottom one so one sits inside the other.
My husband did drill holes in the top one but the urine smell can be over powering if you don’t empty it straight away.
I remove faeces first thing every morning and before I go to bed and use old kitchen tongs and put the faeces in a plastic bag , I used to put faeces in the toilet but thought I may have drain problems in the future because of the crystals sticking to the faeces.
I have now started washing the crystals as it can become quite expensive when you are on a pension.
I only started washing it a couple of days ago so at this stage I don’t know if this will work.
I have a troublesome older cat that is very picky and has stop using his litter box, I’ve been slowly trying to change things to see what works cause he will ask to go outside to go (already got medical cleared). Going to have to try the crystals. My other 3 cats like arm and hammer multicat litter. We have 3 boxes and I scoop everyday and wash and disinfect and change litter once a week. Also after watching your video might have to try the biodegradable box. I have always seen them and wondered.
Older cats can develop arthritis. Carve a lower entrance on the box so the cat can walk in and out easier. Problem solved!
are you using litter with a fragrance? i’ve read that fragrance free is healthier and usually preferred by cats. i once bought some arm and hammer fragrance litter and when i got it home and put it in the litter boxes the smell was so strong i couldn’t stand it and the cats wouldn’t use it. i’ve used fragrance free ever since.
We have three cats, each with her own litter box. We buy 50lb bags of baking soda at the livestock supply store. It lasts well over a year and has it’s on step-on garbage kitchen bin.I use a generous 1/2 cup each time I scoop the clay clumping litter. Not only does it keep the odour away completely, it also aids in the clumping and dries both urine and feces deposits. I found the newspaper nugget litter useless. My cats hated it and it was $20 per bag (from the vet). You are right about the dust and I have to wear a disposable mask. You’re also right about keeping the litter in view where I can see it all the time as I am easily distracted; I scoop each box once daily, twice or more if the cat is sick. I’m going to try the crystal litter you recommended since I shouldn’t be breathing dust. Our outdoor water supply freezes in winter so we have to turn it off so outside hosing is impossible November to April. I use vinegar and water after every speck of litter is out Great site – thank you.
cat’s pride fragrance free fres and light, 99% dust free is a great litter. it really is dust free. regradless of what type of litter one uses, it should be fragrance free.
I liked your comment about Cat’s Litter. I would try out gradule crystal to see about the results. One other thing is that I had problem with bathroom floor tiles grout. How can I make it easier to clean the grout like new? Thank you for excellent information.
Bleach diluted with water and an old toothbrush. Its harsh but it works. You could also try toothpaste – with baking soda type.
Through pure accident, I’ve discovered that a little mix of fabric softener and water sprayed in and let dry, after I’m done cleaning makes scooping and cleaning the box much easier. Where before some of the kitty poo might sort of stick to the sides. My cat urinates like a human, she always has as she likes her water. And sometimes it’s so sticky, if I can’t get to it right away. The doctor says she’s healthy because her intake and output is equal. She’s 13.
So yeah, fabric softener watered-down, or you can use a sheet. And there are no adverse effects to kitty.
Great idea – I’m going to try it since bleach is so tixic
Somewhere on the Web I read this FANTASTIC idea that the author of the article swore would make cleaning the litter box so incredibly easy – put a coat of Turtle Wax (the wax for cars) on the bottom and sides of the plastic box and when cleaning time came, litter would just glide out. I DID THIS – WITHOUT MUCH THINKING AND IT WAS A DISASTER. If you see this tip – don’t do it. First, your cat will detect the thin coat of wax and, as we all know, cats are very picky about their litter boxes. Yours might hate the smell of the wax. Second, the litter didn’t “glide” out – it stuck to the wax and after struggling with this mess for 2 weeks – I wound up throwing the box in the trash.
Barbara – I had been thinking of trying just this. I had wondered how our 2 cats would react. Never occurred to me that the litter wouldn’t glide right out. Thanks for warning me before I actually tried it. I would prefer not to use a liner, but am so concerned about the plastic litter box absorbing odors. Still wondering. Sometimes I clean out the litter box daily; sometimes I go for 3 days! Also, I have a cat who appears when I clean the box just so she can jump in and use her “clean bathroom.”
Love your post and I’ve also tried all of the other litters and also landed on the litter crystals, Fresh Step to be specific, for the best odor control ever. The other crystal products I have to change more often to get the same odor control, so I stick with Fresh Step. I am still using liners myself, as we are in an apt for a few months and don’t have a hose or even a porch, but would love to try your cleaning process to get rid of the liners too! We’re using a storage container lid for a tray and I rinse & clean that in the tub (for lack of a hose), but just can’t imagine doing that with the whole box sans liner at this point! 😛 One of our three kitties is 19 years old and has a hard time getting around these days, which was what I was attributing his peeing over the side of the box sometimes to, however it surely could be the litter is too deep, so I’ll try it with less and hope to see an improvement! Thanks for your great post!
This is great advice for any cat lover! I personally have one cat. I only scoop once a day, though sometimes I forget, and dump it weekly. I also ditched the idea of liners. My cat did not like it. I have noticed that, in my house, if I fill the liter box too full, my cat sometimes accidentally misses the box. She sits funny and urine flies backward. Best to have a deep box with very little liter inside of it.
Well, I’ve read it several times now: don’t put litter too deep. I’ve been doing exactly that: sometimes 3 inches deep. From now on, I’ll know better.
Good suggestions here. We are awful at the cat litter cleaning. We have five cats and six boxes (it’s usually recommended that you have one extra box than the number of cats you have). However, we have realized that we are both very lazy and it is biting us on the butts big time. I am perusing the internet for all tips and tricks. I can’t stand it anymore.
We used to fight about who’s turn it was to clean the litter box too. Ended up getting a litter robot (www.litter-robot.com) and now we don’t have to fight. Plus it keeps the odor down since it’s always cleaning
My mom was allergic to cats before we got one- her eyes would swell, she’d get tired and have trouble breathing! Right before we got our cat she happened to start taking a natural sulfur supplement called msm- amongst many benefits it inhibits inflammation and allergy symptoms. As soon as she started taking it she started seeing a difference, and within 2-3 weeks, she wasn’t even allergic anymore! Hope this helps!
Halp! I used the wrong litter in our new litter box and now there is dust/crust/paste everywhere!!!!! No matter how much I sweep, mop, vacuum, and clean there is a thin film of litter dust on everywhere. Please tell me how to get rid of this!!!
I have the same problem on my tile floors. It’s driven me crazy. I did a lot of research and found a product for cleaning tile floors at Home Depot. It’s apparently lethal (!), so i’ve only tried a small area. it helped, but not the magic fix I was hoping for.
I have an eco-friendly cleaning service in the states and we deal with this on a daily basis. You can rid your home of this dust with castile soap and essential oils. Get your self a spray bottle that holds 32 oz of water. Add 32oz of filtered or distilled water to the bottle, add 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of castile soap and 5/6 drops of essential oil. Swirl that around to mix, don’t shake or you’ll have massive bubbles and spraying will be difficult. Now use as you normal would any other product. For wood you can spray a cloth and wipe down all your areas you need cleaned. Non-porous areas can be sprayed then wiped down.
The castile soap with essential oils breaks down the surface tension of the clay. We use this daily and never have a problem.
I use wood burning pellets and they work wonderfully. Very cheap, great at hiding odor and I can put them in the compost afterwards so it is extremely eco-friendly. I have more information on my cat blog here: http://www.meowlifestyle.com
I just love your videos, I look forward to them every weekend, they inspire me to clean!
love that they are compostable!
Yes it saves so much on waste and money. They are very cheap as well!
The black rubber hair removal thing works really well on stairs….the pointy and flat end can get into the grooves of the carpet a pull it out for vacuuming
Thanks for this info. I have 3 litter boxes, actually plastic storage containers, lids removed of course. My 2 adorable cats will always have the best as it’s the least I could do after the unconditional love they give us daily. I use Worlds best cat litter (flushable/ septic safe litter) – green bag I find provides the best odor coverage- however at least once a week I dumo their litter in a pail and wash out the box to make sure everything is super clean. Imagine how we would feel using a dirty bathroom, yuk. I scoop it as soon as they are done, if I’m home, otherwise as soon as I walk in the door I scoop it. I also found an awesome product years ago called http://www.magic-zymes.com. Great air freshener, litter box deodorizer and I think they make it with plant enzymes so it’s super safe.
I cut a bleach bottle and costco sized windex bottle in half- of course washed it out really well too. You can use this as a great scoop for taking clean litter out to fill in the boxes.
Hi Melissa, is “Crystal” a brand or more like the type of litter? What’s the brand? I think that’s the best type you used…and I want to try it with my cat (he’s a Siamese too, so adorable). His box is smelly and the litter is so hard to manage. Thanks for these tips! So helpful!
It’s a type of litter. It’s silica, I’m pretty sure, like the little baggies of absorbent silica crystals that are in new purses or jerk and stuff. And seriously, the stuff works so well at eliminating odors even for 3 cats. I have adhd, so I haven’t cleaned the box as well as I should, and my husband has to remind me if it starts to smell. I cleaned the box today and I was blown away by how much poop and urine was in the thing, and yet it smelled like it was only 25-50% of the amount there. So I was very impressed by the litter, even though I was very disappointed in myself. I’ll do better. 🙂
DO NOT use bleach to clean a cat’s litter box. It will mix with the ammonia in the urine to cause toxic and potentially fatal vapors!!
I use plain old white vinegar and water half and half. It has some anti-bacterial properties, cleans very well and the odour disappears in a few minutes. I use it to clean just about any surface – cheap and non-toxic.
I was dubious about using bleach to clean litter box. You have confirmed my suspicions. Didn’t think about ammonia in urine, but I do remember a neighbor who wanted to get her bathroom “extra clean” and combined bleach and ammonia. She nearly passed out!
Great, thorough review. Thanks!
My hubby was a roofer so we have a mat of roofing rubber under our litter box. I am using clumping litter and HATE the dust and cough and choke every time I scoop, so I am definitely trying the crystals! Thanks for all the great tips and keep up the good work!
I haven’t tried crystals, but I use Scoop Away–which my cousin who’s a vet recommended. It clumps so well. From time to time I try another kind of litter and always go back to Scoop Away. I get the 14# box. Get it at Family Dollar since Wal-Mart now carries only the 25# box of Scoop Away. Maybe I’ll try the crystals.
try cat’s pride fresh and light, fragrance free, 99% dust free. it really is dust free and has made a world of difference in my house with the dust issue.
Thank you for this post! I have been cleaning the box used by my two cats every day for 3 weeks now and it is no problem once you get in the habit. I sold my boyfriend on this routine by explaining how it actually takes less time to scoop the small amount of waste instead of scooping a huge amount of waste every 3-4 days. Thank you for explaining the quick and dirty way of sanitizing and cleaning the box, and a recommended frequency. This helps me to be efficient; somewhere between OCD and having my apartments’ scent signature have undertones of litter box. Thanks again!
I like the pine pellets, although a bit expensive. Since I live in Maine, with our winters, wood stove pine pellets are the same thing, bought in larger bags and cheaper than the kitty litter kind. Unfortunately, my kitties were not crazy about it, as I found they’d rather use my large potted plants. yuck, had to repot a few. Anyway, I’ve gone back to the regular clumping type, clean morning after they’ve been fed. I also clean immediately after using the box, when clumping litter has no use. I will buy the crystal type and see if they like it and how odor is controlled. thanks for your tips, very useful reading.
Melissa my litter box routine is about the same I just use vinegar and yes I hose it down outside with a lot of water pressure I take a paper towel and dry it off I do spend some money on the litter because it’s safe for him and it’s dust free active cat something I use a coupon and stock up on it when it’s on sale I clean calixtos that’s my cats name once a month and clean it daily
I wanted to make a recommendation for a cat litter that has been wonderful for me. The newer Arm & Hammer: Clump and Seal Multicat. The Multicat works sooo much better then the Fresh Scent one. I have tried nearly every type of litter and this one does the best for containing the smell. I do use a covered litterbox which helps, but even so the smell isn’t contained when combined with certain litters.
I have 2 cats and I clean their litterbox every other day. The only accident I ever had was when I went out of town for 5 days and left my boyfriend to care for them. He fed them but didn’t clean the litterbox the whole time. He says he didn’t realize he needed to because it didn’t smell. So I have tested the Arm & Hammer: Clump and Seal Mulitcat promise and I love it.
I always buy the 25lb box. I have made it a habit that when I buy a new box of litter I completely empty my cats litter box and wash it out. I use a vinegar cleaner and get it squeaky clean. I make sure the inside is dry before pouring the new litter in.
Just thought this might be good advice for some people, I’ve had cats for most of my life. I love Melissa’s articles.
Agreed, Clump and Seal is amazing. Love it!
I just discovered this website and have spent over an hour reading it. I’ve tried Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Multicat litter. Went back to my Scoop Away because it clumped so much better. I have two spayed female cats ages 5 and 3. I have two litter boxes. Gracie (5) uses the covered top-entry litter box and Gugi uses the newer Booda Box with a dome. It has a little ramp on the side (uncovered) which leads to the covered part she jumps into. The liner is especially hard to put in place, but the box is very easy to clean.
I have even gone as far as using horse stall freshener. It’s cheaper than the crystals but works almost the same from Tractor Supply. 50lbs for $20 a month.
Okay, so I took a cat liter box and drilled holes in it ever few centimeters. I then used the guard that came with it and turned it upside down and set liter into it and drilled holes in the sides and zip tied them so they would stay together. Then I put this entire contraption into another liter box. The guard prevents the 1st box from setting all the way into the second box and allows for a space between the two of 2 plus inches.
I then bought non absorbent pellets in the pet area and put them into the top liter box.
Now, when my cat goes pee and poop the solid stays on top and I get it out and put into a bag and dump and the pee drains into the lower liter box. I lift the entire top part and dump pee into a old milk jug so I can dispose.
It works PERFECT except…. Using cat liter, clumping or not somehow works to neutralize the urine smell. Without it the urine can be very strong. I now lay down a layer of baking powder on the bottom of the bottom liter box each time I dump it but it can still be strong. When I get into my chemistry class I am going to ask the teacher if there is a solution I can mix (and put into bottom liter) that will completely neutralize as the urine drains down into it.
My other idea is raise up one side of the liter a bit so it all goes one corner where I will drill another hole into the bottom box. This will be connected to a tube and will drain into a airtight (as much as I can get it) container. Hopefully will eliminate all oder…..
Then it will be puuuurfect.
Travis Verrett corpus christi Tx i have a little dog’s how to Cleaning
Where do you buy the crystal litter. I currently use feline pine and out cat goes crazy trying to bury his feces so there is always more litter on the floor than in the cat pan. ps where do you but the biodegradable cat pans at. Thanks this was VERY helpful!
I like the one box per cat plus one more thinking. But, the absolutely best thing I did was buy stainless steel litter boxes. They’re expensive, but last forever and never get stinky like a plastic box.
We have to scoop a minimum of twice a day, but if we don’t time it right, we do a third scoop. Our little female lets us know whenever she poops and we’d better get it out of there RIGHT NOW! She’s 13 now and has been doing this her entire life.
I love your videos and site and I thought I would share my experience with my cats and what I have leaned from the Cat Daddy (Jackson Galaxy) to help others. I had two cats when I lived in the states and boy do I wish I knew then what I know now. They marked all over the house! On the carpets, clean towels, and our couches!! I had two litter boxes and I kept them next to each other in the laundry room. Now after research and watching Jackson Galaxy I know where I went wrong and now in my one cat household in Scotland I have NO SMELLS and NO ACCIDENTS (Woo Hoo!) and here is how:
How many boxes do I need?
Rule of thumb with cats and number of litter boxes is simple: One cat needs two boxes then an extra box for every new cat. I know that seems like a lot of work and a lot of litter but think about it. If they have enough access to boxes then there will be less mess in each meaning less scooping time for each box. Plus less chance of accidents as there are plenty of boxes for them and in different rooms. Also less smell in the house as it isn’t all in one box.
What kind of litter and where do I put the boxes?
As far as litter type let the cat decide in the beginning have quite a few boxes each with a different litter and in different rooms. The box that is used the most is the winning litter. Once a litter is found now its time to find out which rooms the cat likes best. Never put the boxes next to each other. In the wild cats mark all over their territory so if you confine them to one spot in the house this can lead to insecurity and marking behaviours outside of the box. (I learned this one the hard way ewww!) This is especially important in multi-cat homes as territorial issues can lead cats to fighting or bullying each other. If they have enough boxes however and in different rooms then they are less likely to annoy each other. Also when placing boxes it is important that they are in social significant areas and not hidden away. (I know I know) The idea of a litter box out in the open in the living room is sooo gross but you have to see this from the cats purrspective (couldn’t resist) as well. Remember in the wild they would mark everywhere and especially in socially significant areas so if they can’t territorial and security marking can take place. So as much as you hate it put that litter box in the living room or in the bedroom. IF your scooping it enough, changing enough, and using a good litter then there will be no smell.
Okay so that is the basics on where to put a box and how many you need and choosing a litter now I will tell you what I personally use and do. This formula I use means my tiny one bedroom flat has NO SMELL. That’s right people I have a smelly male cat and no one even knows I do until they see him.
I use Cat’s Best Litter it is plant fibre litter that is 100% biodegradable and 100% compostable you can even flush the stuff people! It is a clumping litter so its easy to scoop but make sure to let urine clumps to dry as they fall apart when wet sometimes. It is around £20 for a 30L bag and that lasts my cat a month so not bad. I don’t know if its available in the USA but I can’t imagine it isn’t. Normally I can’t find USA products over here while the USA enjoys a much larger range of products from everywhere. (Oh the joys of European life) I have two boxes one in the bathroom and one in the living room. I leave them open topped as my cat has medium length hair and a very fluffy tail and the little fur-ball gets stuff stuck in his fur if the box has a lid. Gross, I know so I adapted to avoid have to wipe my cats butt then bath him every time he decided to have a poo. Plus as Melissa pointed out I wouldn’t want to be in a port-a-potty so I granted this kindness to my kitty as well. This litter does track easily so I sweep every day and vacuum often. I am still deciding on mat. I am about to try your suggestion Melissa and get a boot mat instead of a traditional cat mat which in my past has never worked as well as I wanted or thought. We also scoop twice a day (or try to) but I find this litter does a great job of absorbing the odour so even if we don’t there isn’t a smell. I change the box about once a week but it has lasted two – three weeks before by simply adding a little more litter to replace the clumps removed during the week. I clean the box with a water vinegar mix. I spray the box and let it sit I then rinse and dry with paper towels. I refill and put it back. Voila clean smelling box and apartment.
I know this has been a lot of info but I hope this helps anyone with a cat or cats. I made the mistake of not doing my homework on cats and paid dearly with my wallet and my cat’s health. (One of my USA cats got UTI’s often due what I now know was poor diet and territorial stress) Don’t make the mistakes I did. Adapt your home to them a little. After all they are our companions and we brought them to our homes not the other way around so it seems only fair to try and live in harmony by bending to a different purrspective every now and then.
P.S. My USA cats are alive and well living with my mother in the home they grew up in. I didn’t want to stress the poor things out by moving them from a desert climate to an almost Artic one after I got married.
My cat has horrible urine…. to deal with this, I found out that chicken products and dehydration are the two largest culprits of stinky urine in cats. So, I took away chicken anything and have been adding water into her wet cat food to give her more water. It has helped, but like you, I am blessed with a keen nose. I found that her urine and baking soda in the box do not mix. Instead, I use fresh step standard litter and change it every other day. Like you, I put in about an inch and a half to two inches of litter. I just figured I would post this because it might help someone else. I use vinegar water when cleaning her box and while it is soaking I use the same mix to clean up the tiles around her box. In order to give her some privacy and to help protect the wall from her need to wipe her area… I cut the sides from a cardboard box, removed one panel and covered it with a pretty (and very on sale) cotton fabric found at a local fabric store. I hot glued it to the cardboard along the top and overlapped the fabric by three inches over the top. This has made it more personalized for her and not ugly to look at for me. She took a liking to it immediately. I leave out baking soda in a neat ceramic dish I found at a thrift store. It matches her new wall. 😀 I change it weekly. It is about one third of a box worth. I hope this helps someone.
I did kind of the same thing with the cardboard box except i spray painted it. I need to be able to change it out in case one of my cats, that sometimes doesn’t squat, pees onto it. It’s open enough that I can check their poop now and then (to make sure there’s nothing healthwise going on) and it hides the box nicely. I think they like the privacy as well.
Great post! This really helped me out a lot. I have three cats and they get super stinky. I just bought the disposable litter boxes and I was wondering how often you throw them away and what is your cleaning routine for them. Also, do you use the same one for both of your cats? Thanks!
I need a
Hi! I thought I’d leave my input since I’m from the UK and a lot of the products you talked about aren’t available here. My routine is a weekly one – and I scoop the trays out twice a day (I have 3 cats and two litter boxes, one upstairs and one downstairs) but I use Catsan liners and top them up with catsan litter. My boxes are the type with the lid/flap, my cats don’t really have any issues with them, and we prefer them. I also have a dustpan and brush by each of the trays, along with litter freshener and a scoop/nappy bags for desposal of waste, and an air freshener. When I do my weekly change I pop the litter into a bin bag and spray each tray/lid with disinfectant and leave for a few minutes before wiping clean. As for the filters in the box, I didn’t get on with the charcoal filters so I bought some microfibre sponge clothes that I cut in half and change weekly – these go in with our regular washing. Then I pop the new liners/litter in and wait for the inevitable poop that WILL happen and clean that up too. My cats are little monkeys! I really like the idea of using mats under the trays, my litter goes everywhere so I will definitely have to purchase some of those! I love your posts, especially the pet ones, cat litter hygiene is not often talked about so it’s nice to have some pointers!
Love your blog and videos. I use Dr. Elsey’s Ultra Precious Cat Premium Multi-Cat Litter (blue bag with The Scoopable above cat picture). It’s amazing for eliminating smell and clumping is amazing. I physically can’t lift the 40lb bag ($17) but have the store put in my car and my son bring into house. I also use a 28 gal storage tub that is tall and as wide as a litter box. I cut an opening on one end and several vent holes on the lid. This eliminates so much of the litter outside the box. I have one who acts like she’s digging a hole to China and the other girl doesn’t even bother to cover a thing! I bought clear ones but they are in a bedroom out of sight. I’ll try the plastic ribbed shoe liners around the box too. Thanks!!
i have 5 cats at home and currently use everything that you don’t like lol and i hate the smells but i will be taking your advice and trying out crystals and a biodegradable box…as well as doing your scooping and cleaning schedule!
Thank you Melissa: Here’s my litter pan MO: 1. I use Feline Pine original. The pine product is best with odors. I scoop once a day. That’s enough fun for me. Feline Pine says you can use the same for a month. In a humid climate such as Baltimore, MD. USA 2 weeks between box cleaning and replacement is the max time. I dump old litter and wipe out plastic litter pan with junk mail I receive. Then, I soak the litter pan in a combination of Soft Scrub cleanser and baking soda for about 10 minutes, scrub pan and rinse. I do this in bath tub since I live in apartment where there is no outside hose. Then rinse and dry with paper towel. I also soak the rubber litter pan walking mat and scoop in the same solution again for 10 minutes. (:
I use wood stove pellets (4.95 for 40lbs) and scoop twice daily, sifting over the garbage bag to remove the pee-sodden sawdust then dumping the remaining pellets back in the box. Kitty-doo #2 goes straight in the toilet. Cheap, easy, stench-free.
I am fascinated by the concept of a biodegradable litter box but I’m also a little concerned about what might happen if the box itself is scratched excessively (one of our two cats is a little obsessive about scratching cardboard boxes to shreds (including my archive file boxes). I have had several cats and numerous litter cleaning routines over the last forty years – each cat has his/her preference. We even fostered a delightful cat who hadn’t actually “learned” the necessity of covering her deposits onto Swheat Scoop litter (it was a truly foul-smelling experience, so I’ve never been tempted to try that litter with my own cats). Recently, my husband turned our utility closet into a “cat closet” and installed a ventilation fan through the ceiling/roof. The litter is scooped twice a day by our teenagers and the contents and box itself are thoroughly cleaned every couple of weeks. Unfortunately, the dust from the litter has coated everything in said closet from brooms and mops to packages of light bulbs and batteries. Do you think the excessive amount of dust is being caused by the ventilation fan or from the type of cat litter we are using? I am disgusted with the state of this closet and will be thoroughly disinfecting the room and its contents today. I’d be grateful for any helpful hints to avoid this scenario from repeating itself.
We use World’s Best Cat Litter from Petco. We love it and so do our two fur babies. It’s made from corn, not harmful to pets or environment – and it is flushable and dust-free! As for odor, we try to scoop as soon as the cats use it – just like humans. I don’t trust litter that covers up odor – not healthy for my kitties or for me – so, yes, there is an odor problem until we scoop. But if dust is your main complaint, I suggest you try World’s Best.
[…] Kitties have their own toilets, so unless you train your cats how to use the human toilet – you can dispose of their waste (litter and solid) in the trash, compost, or by properly recycling it. […]
Do you have a cat bed for them? If so what do you think is the best?
Our two cats are our furry kids so we don’t mind paying a bit more for good quality
litter. We have been using “World’s Best Cat Litter” for several years and I do think it deserves the name! It is more expensive but made from corn, no harmful chemicals and very Eco-friendly. There is no dust for us or our fur babies to breathe. We try to scoop as soon as possible after they use the open box so we don’t really have an odor problem.
yes i have a really simple way ; and cheap! shredded paper + newspaper+ cat litter;
i have 4 cats and 3 boxes; high sides work well; i line the boxes with a couple sheets of newspaper; then i add a cup of cheap clay litter; any is ok; then i add in shredded paper , maybe 2 handfuls or so; every other day i just roll up the whole mess,toss it out, and start over; it takes about a minute to do it all; rarely does any smell; and if it does just roll it up and discard; only bad thing is that they will shoot some shredded paper around when scratching;
the paper shreds are quite safe and my cousin who is a vet and owns a large clinic said this is the most sanitary material for a cat; i add the litter clay just to get the cat to feel it can dig a bit;
regular upkeep must be done but its so easy and cheap as can be! its also a great way to use leftover papers and shredder paper;
if the boxes smell i hose them out as needed;
Could use some help. I have taken in a 3rd cat from someone who moved out of the states and this cat has social issues with the my other 2 male cats. I have made the necessary adjustments by getting more than 1 litter box in the house, I do the routine daily cleaning and washing on a monthly basis, but he still will urinate outside of the box on random occasions. Also my neighborhood has feral cats that roam around and noticed one marked on my front door. My cats are indoor so I know its not them, but I think it might be causing my distraught cat to counter it on the inside. >_< Already noticed two incidents happen this month; once on the carpet and once on a windowsill lined with wood. How can I effectively clean these areas naturally to remove the smell? Any help would be appreciated.
Nature’s Miracle from Petsmart or other pet supply works really well. It’s an enzyme that breaks down the urine and gets rid of it. If you have spots left on carpet, use WhipIt from Bed Bath and Beyond. It’s a miracle cleaner.
I had a hard time liking Shweat Scoop, my cat could tell the change though (as she was 15 when I changed over to it) and it got everywhere because it seemed to stick to the cat’s feet better! The crystals are not cheap and out of our price range. We use Scoop Away, Super Clump and it is a great cat liter! We refuse to change, we can scoop the cat liter every other day because it clumps so well and we for the most part don’t smell our cat’s poo. We also place the cat liter in our bathroom so its always a part of a popular room and we pay attention to it more, we just keep it away from the toothbrush area and over across the way tucked under the toilet and its easy to clean and sweep, as a part of the cleaning routine done in the bathroom. I’d suggest this to anyone who lives in an apartment or small living space! We have one cat and a 550 sq ft apartment, and its rare we smell it! Best of luck to all the cat owners! 🙂
I really like the “Method” brand of cleaners, and they make a bathroom cleaner that smells like eucalyptus-mint. I find that it makes the litter box quite deodorized, and it is non-toxic and environmentally friendly.
Just saw your post, Cynthia. In case anyone wants to know, mint and eucalyptus (and citrus & other scents or essential oils) can be very toxic to cats. Their liver lacks enzymes to take care of those which can build up in their bodies. Unscented is best for them. The scents are for us but not in kitty’s best interest. Baking soda box could help in the room. We have 3 cats and had 3 cats before that. Friends say they don’t notice smells and my sensitive nose doesn’t either most of the time. They eat quality cat food only that isn’t smelly (fish is strongest)….zero people food. We use 2-3″ Tidy Cat Unscented & scoop min 2x day, add a bit after 2 weeks & refresh about 4 weeks. We use a huge high side corner box with door mat to catch some litter from tracking. They’re our very loved fur kids.
I am an obsessive litter cleaner also. The box is in my bathroo. So I scoop it at least three times a day. My secret though is My obsession with blue buffalos clumping litter. There is zero dust, it’s all natural and Eco friendly and it does great with odor control! I sprinkle baking soda in it after I scoop it and I never notice a smell mi am obsessive over the smell and this stuff passes the test! I also use a baby diaper type garbage can which seals away any odor in an easy to throw away bag and makes it easy to scoop as often as I do. CFO don’t even have to empty the garbage until the third day. Highly recommended.
I have 11 rescues with various health issues and have found the Smart Cat Box that uses safflower seeds as litter to be the most economical, no dust and very little odor. I put a tablespoon of 20 mule team borax in the reservoir that collects the urine and soak any of the plastic components if I notice an odor in them in it as well. The best safflower seeds are a brand called Nature’s Nuts. I have shaky hands so I use a larger container to carry the reservoir to the toilet just in case of spillage and always, always have a spare to use so that the box is never without a reservoir because it never fails, a kitty will use the box when you are busy cleaning it. I use dow spray bathroom cleaner to clean the boxes, very little scrubbing and hose down after. I like to spray the seeds after adding them to the upper portion so that any dust or seeds too small are eliminated. The seeds dry out rather quickly. For the kitties that just can’t get used to these boxes I have a regular litter box that I mix half and half, Blue Walnut multi-cat clumping litter with Arm and Hammer Essentials natural clumping litter. None of my kits seem to mind fragrances but if yours do, Worlds Best is a good substitute for the Arm & Hammer. I had a litter robot but found it difficult to clean as I age, crystals are painful to step on and boy am I allergic to pine. I just purchased the TiO2 litter box that is coated with a substance that is activated by a special light to kill all odors. I’ll let you all know how that works out after a month of use.
Help me! I have a terrible problem with a stray cat spraying into my dryer vent. My dryer now has perma-cat funk which permeates my laundry.If I can’t bounce the funk from my dryer, is there anything I can do to help eliminate the smell of cat urine from my laundry?
Yes, I have tried everything from moth balls and vinegar to commercial spray deterrents but this pesky feline just keeps coming back and re-spraying.
Spray the vent with Odo-Ban in a citrus scent, gets rid of the smell and most cats don’t care for citrus scents. You can also use it in your laundry to get it smelling fresher. You might have to go the expense of a motion activated sprinkler to break the habit. I had to use one on the roof of my kennel to chase away the raccoons and opossums that were leaving “presents” for me.
Thanks for the tip! I’ll have to try Odo-Ban. For now I have had success with a makeshift chicken wire fence that I built around my dryer vent, but it will need to be replaced with something more permanent once the snow melts and the ground thaws out.
I switched our litter to the crystal type, love it by the way! I however am having an issue with the biodegradable boxes, when kitty goes #1 not all of the liquid is absorbed by the crystals instead it is being soaked up by the box itself and is still giving off a bad smell. Does this happen with your biodegradable boxes? I bought the petco brand boxes.
i clean the litter box every week (because my cat wants me to..) i have a pretty fast routine. after throwing the dirty litter stuff away, I clean it with any toilet cleaning product (it is a toilet after all) then i dry it with some paper towels and as a desinfectant i use the desinfectant gel (with alcohol!) that you would normally use for your hands. just wipe it all over the bottom of the litter box and dont rinse. all done in 10 mins ^_^
I enjoyed your editorial on cats & their litter boxes…
At age 62, I was always a dog person until my last beloved dog past right on the onset; of my adult son’s rescue of an entire one week old litter of 6 kittens. Which I have kept 4, plus I had one that my Brutus chose as a companion after Cookie had past the year before. (All my beloved dogs were dachshunds♡) ….I have been going online since Sept. 2012. Learning as much as I can to save money since 5 cats add up to quite a bit from my social security check. ⇨ALL THE MORE REASON TO THANK YOU….I started out using the pine pellets mixed with cheap clay litter. I liked it alot, but eventually getting tired of throwing the good out with the bad because the slotted Kitty litter scoops just were not designed for pine pellets…I have been the most satisfied using Arm & Hammer multi- cat clumping litter. Although while attempting to cut costs I have bought whichever brand that I get the biggest-bang-for-my-buck.
I am using “SCOOP AWAY MULTI-CAT SCENTED”. I am beside myself by this product leaving a HUGE CLOUD OF DUST, that fills the entire room, which is replumed with any disturbance!! ..I would throw it all away except for not having away to replace it until my next social security check arrives in February… All my girls (cats) have been spade, & I keep their shots, including their rabies up to date.. So I can boast that I am a responsible cat owner with alot more to learn regarding cat products…
PS: I spent $100. on a multi-cat 6’tree house via eBay, that my girls tore up in less than a week.. So I have yet to find a manufacturer that makes such items as tree houses of quality! (That was disappointing) & quite a few of the toys in the $20.-$50. range don’t hold my girls attention long at all. IN FACT MY GIRLS HAVE MORE FUN IN. ORDINARY CARDBOARD BOXES & PAPER BAGS:/ GOD BLESS ♡
with the crystals doesnt the urine just sit at the bottom of the litter box?
Thank you for all you tips about the cinnamon, orange and clove fashion for the house.I have 15 cats and 8 dogs at this time” DO NOT WORRY I RESCUE AND FOSTER” I KEEP EVERYTHING EXTREMLY CLEAN, and even though I have a full time job of 10 h/p/d does not stop me from taking care of so many animals in need.
So now you can see that all your advice are gold to me. Thank you also foe the tip about the crystal litter, I will give it a try.
Great tips. I do most of them already and find that they really work. One thing though; being a cleanfreak who is very sensitive to smell I do really recommend buying a good (read: more expensive) catlitter. I buy Everclean Multiple cats. It smells like lavender and absorbs any other smell really well! I must admit I spend the extra buck for my own sake rather than my two cats’.
We have had a box problem with one cat in particular. She has liked to “go” on piles of laundry and will occasionally spray a baseboard or two. Our male cat is more than one could ask for. He’s great and has never had a problem, except leaving fur balls in the middle of the floor where we walk at night, barefooted. First, we had a self cleaning box that had a rake which was triggered by the cat’s movement in and out of the box. But the receptacle was too small for the clumps, so the mechanism couldn’t get them into the receptacle. The cat loved to watch the movement of the rake and would jump in and out just to see it work, and she always used the box. But I had read how the motors overheated and caused fires, so that box went. Finally when it got to the point where we were pulling our hair out and biting our nails, I learned that the charcoal filter in the lid of the box only holds odors in. So the top went the way of the original box. Awhile later we needed kitty litter and I didn’t have much money with me, so I bought the cheapest. Guess what? She uses the box! I guess we may have started with that litter and gotten taken by the ads and offerings for the “newer and better” litters. I had been told that the litter can make a difference to a cat, and in our case, it apparently has, although after all we’ve been through, I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop. I had read that the best box would be a very large (not necessarily in height but in length and width) plastic box, like a wrapping paper box that holds long tubes of wrapping paper and was in the process of looking for one when I found what I now feel is THE BEST litter box at Target. It is deep and overall, quite large, and looks like a large plastic storage bin with a non sealing lid on top. The entrance is a large mouse hole shaped opening, and I believe that along with the non sealing lid help to keep the inside fresher. The cats are both using it, and I will be purchasing another. To sum it all up, I believe the major issue has been the choice of litter while the type of box, a secondary issue. Hopefully, someone may be spared a bald head and well chewed nails by considering these two issues.
BTW, it would pay to be aware of the fact that dogs do not process unbaked or uncooked substances that ferment, like baking powder. For your sake and your dog’s (if you have one) please be careful about using baking powder or kitty litters with baking powder in them, since as distasteful as it is, dogs are drawn to cat boxes. I will say no more.
Sorry! Meant fresh step (not tidy cat)
Tidy cat multi cat clumping litter. It’s a lil more expensive but so worth it. We only have one kitty but with regular clean ups, it keeps the smell minimal and doesn’t have to be changed out as often. We don’t even use a deoderizer with it because it’s already in the litter!
What IS the crystal litter, though? Do we know if its ok for cats and the environment? Just want to know b4 I try it. Thx.
Very toxic and carcinogenic from what i learned
You’ve totally convinced me to try the crystal litter. Even after working in Pet Retail and Vet offices, I’ve been a die-hard advocate for Fresh-Step because I think it has damn good odor control and is often on sale. However, when you mentioned that the crystals don’t track everywhere, I was sold. Thank you for putting out this helpful information for all us crazy cat owners 🙂 You’ve won over a new fan today.
I have an enormous cat, even the “jumbo” size litter box is too small. He used to pop the lid off all the time just by standing up inside the box. Now, we use a plastic storage tote with an entry way cut out of one side. It was cheaper than a litter box, too!
One thing I have been meaning to try as a cat litter alternative: chicken feed. I heard it makes good cat litter, is cheaper than cat litter, and it also compostable. Has anyone here tried that yet?
This is fabulous! Great post. Silica litter sadly, is toxic to cats, humans and the environment. Here’s more info: http://www.greenlivingonline.com/article/bad-kitty-litter-bad
I’ve tried all the solutions for cat litter, most of which is really fuller’s earth, the choice was for the the crystals. Right now, not that I’d change your suggestion regarding spinkling Backing Soda over the bottom of the box before refilling, I’m trying out Arm & Hammer Multi Cat, I have two as well, litter. I’ll have to let you know how this works. And, oh, thanks, for all your information on how to clean particularly in this cramped suite I live in these days. Lots of life but until I found your site dreadful to even consider cleaning. Even at that it’s “fun” with the cracked ribs and bad back I have but it’s all gotta be done between my dead skin cells and the cat hair all over the place.
Thanks for teaching, and continuing to teach me how to clean. 🙂
Worlds best cat litter is awesome. It is all natural(corn) & there is no smell. it is a little pricey, but well worth it,
I recently found World’s Best, too. The cats like it, and the dust is nearly nonexistent, unlike the clay litters I had been using. I’m very impressed by its clumping ability as well. I do disagree, however, in that there’s no smell. To me, it definitely has an odor that takes a bit of getting used to. They make a lavender scented variety, but I’ve not tried it yet. It just smells very heavily of corn, and when it mixes with cat urine, the aroma takes on yet another form. If you keep the box scooped well, it’s fine, and I’ve continued to purchase the brand.
A lot of your viewers/followers are dog owners. What’s the best way to clean after the dogs. I foster and hence i get dogs that are not yet trained. While I train them, accidents are bound to happen. Please post a video to clean the carpets after our dogs. Thanks a lot in advance!
I did it! I took your advice, scrubbed out and sanitized the litter boxes, tossed out the “odour absorber” that was supposed to be de-stinking the place… With an almost 20 year old probably senile feline, I didn’t chance actually moving the boxes (i.e. to more open airy spots — and yes, I have two although only the one aforementioned cat) or to changing the type of litter, but the rest of it I did. And what do you know? The funky smell is gone! …even now, days after I did the big clean. Woo-hoo!
Clumping litter is actually bad for the cats. If it sticks in their paws, and then they lick their paws, well, it clumps in their belly. I use the litter that comes in a big paper bag — it’s non-clumping and odor-resistant.
We have 6 cats and two chihuahuas. we also have a historic Victorian house that is toured not infrequently by people that while not strangers, are not close enough friends to overlook a hideous cat box odor.To keep my house from smelling like the bog of eternal stench, I use a combination of the clumping cat litter mixed with those crystals that you like. there is almost no smell, except when our oldest Tom decides to leave his poo uncovered.
There are two cat boxes one upstairs and one down, and each are scooped twice daily. To remove hair I use one of those garden gloves that have been rubberized. I pet the cats with it to remove extra hairs on their body, but it also works remove hairs from furniture.
We use the crystal litter as well and I have found they are the best for odors…I can’t say personally about the maintenance as that is my husbands department [since ill be pregnant “some day” 😉 lol], my husbands only complaint has been that the urine seems to “sink” down through the crystals and collects in a sticky mess at the bottom of the pan. We (He) has been lining the box with newspaper to help contain this, but that can be quite messy as well…have thought of trying another litter for underneath to see if that will be helpful. Has anyone else had this issue with the crystal litter, and if so any ideas on what would help this issue?
I enjoyed your litter product suggestions and litter box suggestions too. To show my appreciation I have a suggestion that if you follow through on it will all but eliminate all of the cat litter smell you refer to so often in your posts….. AND improve if not get RID of your allergies! It is all explained in the book, THE NATURAL CAT by Anitra Frazier. It involves improving your cats’ diet so that it mimics as closely as possible what cats would eat if they ate what Nature provides for them.By doing so their dander will be less allergenic.
I’ve used Anitra’s natural health suggestions for 20 years and saved thousands in vet bills and my cats have lived longer and been the healthier for it. If the truth be told, conventional veterinarians know precious little about feline health. Anitra Frazier and a handful of other authors and veterinarians thankfully DO know. Another great book is NATURAL HEALTH FOR DOGS AND CATS by Dr Pitcairn.
I just bought a bag of Blue Buffalo cat litter made from walnuts…..have yet to try it though
I bought a Litter Genie. Basically, it’s a variation of a Diaper Genie. It’s a cylindrical container and has a continuous bag inside. You tie a knot in the end of the bag to start. Then at each litter box scooping, you open the lid, dump the doo doo inside. It goes into the bag. Then you pull a little thing that looks like a shelf and the little dumps into the bottom of the bag in the bottom of the container and the shelf slides back to temporarily close off the top of the bag. When the container is full, you open the cylinder, cut the top of the bag off, and tie it off. The bag is specially made with five layers. After my first tie off, I stuck my nose right up to the bag to see how is smelled and I didn’t smell anything! And last week, I accidentally got too close to the open bag and I could smell EVERYTHING!!! But nothing gets out of the bag walls itself. I do clean the box with bleach and water as often as I can, but the Litter Genie really helps keep the smell out of the house. http://www.drugstore.com/products/prod.asp?pid=416423&catid=187041&aid=338666&aparam=goobase_filler&device=c&network=g&matchtype=
I LOVE Boxi cat litter!! One of the best things about it is you ‘subscribe’ online and they shit you your litter via priority mail!!! 1 bag lasts our one cat family a month. No odor and not too much mess around litter box! Check it out http://www.boxiecat.com. Best thing I ever did!!
O M G!!!! I REALLY did mean to type SHIP instead of the Freudeun slip of shit…SORRY!! Still is the best litter!! HAHA
Too funny. Thank you for the laughs and owning up to your typo. It provided some fun here. Never heard of this litter. Thx.
I was very allergic to our cat (now cats) til I tried BioAllers Animal/Pet Dander – it basically builds your immunity. I want from giant hives to nothing in like 3 months! I think I found it at Whole Foods. I *totally* get putting up with allergies for your cats. 🙂 I hope you find a good solution!
I use a combination of corn derived litter (can’t think of the brand) and Fresh Step antimicrobial for small spaces litter and a ton of baking soda. And it is not too dusty. I have only one cat and I scoop the litter every day and change the litter every 2 weeks or so. I rarely smell it.
And I have a Bissell vaccuum cleaner that I bought from Target for $80 that works great on pet hair.
I use the blue organic walnut cat litter at petsmart I love clumps great and no bad odor I highly recommend it
Question: I do have a Roomba but I don’t use it that often because there’s so many cat toys, etc. to pick up. How do you run it while you’re not home when you have to pick everything up first?
Also, any tips on cleaning Roomba’s brushes? They’re always so full of cat hair!
The tool they give you with the Roomba is great. You just remove the brushes. One side of the tool has a cutting device, which cuts the hair that is wrapped around the spool, and then the comb collects it. It’s not so hard. Also I don’t have trouble with the cat toys. It pushes them around but does not suck them up. They are too light for it to go over. It just pushes them.
Wonderful article, BUT …. You were so detailed and even provided links but when it came to the litter box cleaning, you used the generic term, “disinfectant”. Well, that’s the reason I arrived at your site: I was looking for a homemade version of Mr. Clean or another more-or-less neutral smelling “disinfectant” to do the actual cleaning. I am looking for neutral. Plus I want to reduce my carbon footprint (always) hence homemade is usually the way to go (less packaging, less shipping, the whole chain of production being taken into consideration). Wonderful links and excellent writing. Thank you. ~ Joseph
Shaklee Concentrated Germicide works great!
Plain old white vinegar mixed with water, no soap. Vinegar is cheap, biodegradeable, and the smell goes away once rinsed and aired.
Great tips blurped1952!
I have four cats and will try the larger bins with the hight sides. My bins have lower sides and two of my “fur babies” love to throw the little hither and yon. Thanks for the tip .
I have used EVERY cat-hair remover out there to no avail. They really don’t work that well with my four cats. (Yes, I am a crazy cat lady). I am going to give you the BEST tip for removing cat hair (ALL the cat hair) effectively. Here it is: A rubber glove. Put the gove on and just rub the cat hair of the bed, couch, clothing, pillows….whatever. It is amazing!!! Really.
Love your videos!!
Have you considered getting a litter robot? I love mine!! It took a couple of friends to convince me to get one…but im so glad I did!!
I have 2 bengals-large water lovers bred from Asian Leopard Cats. Needless to say, cleaning the litter box was quite a challenge at first, but I’ve found that simplicity is key to keeping a tidy litter area.
1) Home Depot/Lowes/etc sells large bins with high walls that make great litter boxes. They are about $7 a piece so I replace the boxes about every 6-9 months–basically when the sides are so covered in claw marks that they become too porous to effectively disinfect.
2) Twice I day I simply scoop the boxes and place the excess in plastic grocery bags, then knot & toss them in the trash. Perhaps it’s not the most environmentally friendly option, but I find that it quickly and effectively gets the job done. Also, I only keep about two inches of litter in each box, and I refill them with a fresh inch of litter about once a week until the end of the month when the whole area gets tossed and deoderized.
3) Also, I find that it is easier to control the wayward litter pieces if the boxes are tucked into a corner area. This allows them only one entrance and exit. Ikea sells a small TV table for $20 that the litter boxes fit perfectly in.
Great advice! Those wayward litter pieces can certainly be a pain to clean up all the time, but it is actually best to allow for multiple entrances/exits for the box if you have a multicat home. Some kitties will stalk another who is using the litter box. The one in the box will then be easily snuck up on, startled, and have no good way out. He/she will often associate the fear/anxiety from all of this with the box itself and begin to eliminate somewhere safer where he/she can watch for other cats, humans, dogs, whomever. If you have cats that get along fantastically this may not be an issue, but for most multicat households tensions can build up at some point or another between the cats.
I loved your video. It didn’t make me as irritated as most do. Your suggestions are good and varied and I think your saying that constant maintenance is the best is true. We do get lazy about litter boxes now and then which causes most problems.
hi melisita, i´m fan your web, ideas of cleaner, i send your ideas my frends your great teacher, ha ha ha, sorry my english es very bad but i thing melissa is very very amazing. i have question for you? i need killer spider home, do you understand? in spanish is very quick, tengo arañas caseras puedes darme un mata arañas diy y uno que las ahuyente, en la ciudad hay mucha humedad y en invierno es muy frio , se meten en los cajones de la ropa, son arañas grandes, peludas y su picada es toxica no matan pero si son dolorosas… help me please melissita, kisses LOLY
I love my Breeze system by Tidy Cat w/ Arm&Hammer technology. It is a two tier system of clay pellets, a pee pad where their #1’s drain down and their #2’s are like usual burried in the pellets. My boys are thirsty so I change the pee pad more frequently but packaging states it is good for one week of use per cat (I have two of these systems) and with daily scooping my pellets last about 30 days its crazy but true and also stated as such on the packaging. My method for disposing of litter and scrubbing down the box are the same but the maintenance other than the day to day litter scoop is a nearly effortless process and the most odorless method of any I’ve tried. No grit on my floors, powder paw prints on my couch, or and clean up is well… A breeze.
I haven’t heard of this. Where did you get it? And the pad doesn’t get stinky?
I change litter box once a week.
I love the Breeze system!! It’s only sold at PetSmart (which is kind of annoying that you can’t just grab some new pads from the grocery store) but it’s the best I’ve found after having cats for 14 years. The smell from the pad is trapped under the litter so it don’es smell until you open the little drawer where it’s kept. I can make the pad last 2 weeks if I flip the tray around (my cat seems to pee in the same spot everytime) but I’ve forgotten about it occasionally and it really pools up when it’s full. Here’s the link to check it out:) http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3446912&f=PAD%2FpsNotAvailInUS%2FNo
Thank you for the info about the Breeze system.
I love the Breeze system too! Walmart also sells it and so does Amazon. There is a $10 off coupon in the box which you can use to buy another box. The initial investment is high, but well worth it. Also the supplies are not as heavy to carry from the store. No smell. Maybe a pellet or two outside the box from time to time but nothing like all the litter and dust with regular litter. I too turn the pad around and get more time out of it. And those pads can hold a great deal of moisture. Even very full it is easy to roll up and dispose of. I keep the pellets for about a month. Some dirty ones do end up still in the box after scooping and this probably isn’t so great for the cats. I wash down the box about once a month.
DH and I were contiplating litter option in Target one day and a lady with 6 cats recommended the Breeze system to us. We bought one at Pet Smart that day and bought a second one a week later. We have 2 cats…Love that box! Better than Crystal litter for sure.
I used the Breeze system until I read posts on the internet about cats that died after swallowing some of the Breeze litter. I now use Cats Pride unscented Fresh & Light which I purchase from Amazon Smile. I have Prime membership so there is no shipping fee, This clumping litter works great and it’s nice that a small donation goes to my designated charity every time I purchase cat litter.
Thank you for all the tips on the litter. I have been trying to figure out how to keep it at bay for more years than I can count. as for the hair… I vacuum every day. But that is mainly out of habit and partly due to OCD. But we did have 4 dogs and 2 cats and hair was always everywhere. Now that we are down to one cat I still find my self vacuuming everyday. And it really is the best thing to keep the hair down to almost nothing. I use the lint roller tip as well. My baby is black and white so no matter what color clothing I have on it shows.
We’ve used Feline Pine for years but those crystals sound amazing! I will definitely have to give those a try!
On a side note, I was wondering what product(s) you use for cat puke. We have a lot of carpet and I’m always wary about using harsh chemicals around the cats. Also our carpeting is a light tan or “natural” color so even after I clean up the puke a lot of times I feel like I can still see a faint outline. I’ve tried lots of “pet stain” removers but haven’t really found one that does the job well.
Plain old peroxide cleans stains well, but does not affect carpet color (pre-test a spot in inconspicuous area).
I keep a 50/50 mix of plain old white vinegar & tap water in a spray bottle. Best overall household cleaner, safe on all my carpets including the Persian rugs, no nasty perfumes. I use it for cat puke and whatever other bits of nasty that fall on my carpets. I’ll never go back to any of those commercial cleaners.
I work in a laboratory and protein stains are cleaned using hydrogen peroxide. Test the carpet or fabric first to be sure it does not lose color. I have used it on new found old stains too and it did the trick. What is especially nice, there is no odor.
oxyspray (accelerated hydrogen peroxide) will take 36 hours to dry but will take away all stains. use a spatula to clean up the mass/bulk, without pushing too much into the fabric, spray and leave. there is also a janitorial product called literally Spray and Leave which is wonderful and cheaper than Oxyspray (altho that can be found in grocery stores more easily).
I used the S’wheat Scoop when I was in a condo on the third floor and didn’t want to run the dirty litter down the stairs twice a day. It’s flushable! (use common sense. Don’t dump a whole litter box in at the same time. Scoop some, flush. Scoop some more, flush, then flush again, just to make sure it all went down.).
Now I have an electrical one that rotates very slowly and cleans the waste all day long. The house can still get a little stinky if I don’t take the waste bag out every couple of days, but it reduces the maintenance I need to do. I use regular Tidy Cat now because the S’wheat Scoop didn’t clump well enough for the automatic liter box.
As a multi-house cat owner, I have found an easy way to deal with the litter that is scooped. I use an empty large litter bucket with lid and a handle. I line it with a scented kitchen garbage bag. Each scooping I place into the bucket and place the lid on when finished until the next scooping. When full, I carry it to the garbage can outside, pull the full bag of dirty litter out and toss it. It can be heavy, so a quality bag is important so it doesn’t tear.
This is what I have been doing too but by garbage day it smells soooo bad! I have tried using charcoal in the bucket and baking soda. I scoop twice a day and keep the litter bucket outside, but I feel sorry for the sanitation workers lol!
I solved that problem by getting a Litter Locker. (They also sell one called a Litter Genie.) I don’t buy the expensive liners that go with it; I bought a roll of small, lightly lavender-scented trash bags at the grocery store, and I just refill it with that. No smell, even in my studio apartment, and I take it out once a week or whenever it gets full.
Hi Melissa! First time commenting, but love your blog so much! Thanks for the helpful tips!
I used to hand scoop twice a day as well, but got so tired of it, I looked into other alternatives. Without spending too much money, I found the easiest, quickest way to clean up after my dear Phoebe was the Omega Paw litter box. no fancy mechanisms needed, you just roll the entire box over by the handle to flip, and it sifts out the scoops for you. It has saved me so much time, and let’s face it, getting on your knees to scoop poo is a task I was ready to give up. I recommend the Omega Paw to everyone I know with a cat. The only caveat is that it is covered, which you said your kitties didn’t like. I did find that if you roll it over and dispose of the yuckies twice a day, there isn’t an opportunity for odor to build up in there, though.
I also swear by the Litter Genie. Instead of taking out the poo in little baggies all the time, you could keep a litter genie next to the box. If you know what a Diaper Genie is, you have the litter genie. Basically, is seals the waste in its little compartment, so there’s no smell.
Coupled with the Omega Paw, my daily routine is SO simple and fast! I love it. I sound like I’m employed by these guys or something… but I’m just a girl who loves her cat and hates cleaning. (But I’m learning to love it! Thanks!) I just happened to do A LOT of research on kitty litter products before I settled on these two.
I use a squeegee before I vacuum, kind of like the edge of your cat brush, but the one I have has a long handle. It does pile up the hair on the floor in one spot, then I just vacuum it up. I also have tried the squeegee after I vacuumed, and found the vacuum missed a lot of hair. I got it through flylady.com. I also got a rubber brush like yours, which my cat loves as well! I figure the more hair I brush off her, the less hair gets transferred!
Interesting! Two step process for vacuuming. If it works better it is totally worth a shot!
Our vet said to only use bleach and water to clean cat litter boxes, crates, floors and rooms they hang out in.
The vet said that cats have very touchy livers and some disinfectants are real cat killers.
Good to know – I am surprised that bleach is OK though…but if your vet told you that I am sure they are sharing good info! I will speak to my vet too the next time the cats have a visit.
Bleach…ya, ok. That’s incredibly dangerous for pets. Good ol’ white vinegar is best. Bleach + cat urine (ammonia) = huge disaster. Just because someone had the time and money to become a vet, it doesn’t mean they actually know what they’re talking about. You’ll find this in human doctors too. I once had a cat with a UTI who was diagnosed by the vet as simply being twitterpated for spring. Vet refused to do blood or urine tests until I threatened to report him to the governing college. What does that say to you?
Bleach is just fine to use as long as you are rinsing well. Veterinary clinics use bleach to disinfect and clean litter boxes that are used by patients so as not to spread disease. The key is to spray the bleach water solution onto the box and let it dry for full disinfecting effect. Then rinse well.
Also, Bob, your vet is one of very, very few that sounds like he was not practicing good medicine. A veterinarian gets most of his/her information from blood work, urinalyses, and other diagnostic tests since animals cannot tell us what is going on with them. I am currently in veterinary school and have learned so much about what diagnostic testing can tell you. It is amazing the wealth of information that comes from all those different numbers. Overall, I am trying to say that the majority of veterinarians are good at what they do and want what is best for their clients and their pets. Perhaps, it is time you seek out a different vet if you are not pleased with your current one. We really aren’t all bad.
What about people who are allergic to bleach? I am very allergic to bleach. 🙁 I wonder if peroxide is safer? I think vinegar is a good idea and I will start doing that. I have three cats….one outdoor and two indoor. Cleaning out cat boxes is a challenge for me esp with our outdoor cat. I am trying to find a way to go down to one box and making it more efficient when it comes to cleaning it out regularly. Please advise.
Hi Swoosie. I don’t like bleach either, so I for regular cleaning (once a week) I use 1 part 91% alcohol to 4 parts water. It cleans and deodorizes well (and use for my bathroom daily cleaning too). Also, the alcohol smell dissipates better than bleach or vinegar. For a deep clean I prefer vinegar – again, 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water. My cats don’t seem to mind either smell. 🙂
spray with vinegar and then after five minutes spray with hydrogen peroxide. rinse out. I also have a veterinary disinfectant called peroxygard which kills everything. You leave it on to dry or wipe it away, sterile after 30 seconds. The vets use it to clean the steel exam tables.
[…] it can get! If you want some great maintenance tips and a no-foolin’ litterbox routine, check this blog post out. To deodorize the litterbox, simply sprinkle some baking soda into the litter box every time to […]
I’ve been using Feline Pine now for 10 yrs and love it. It took 3-4 weeks to adjust from regular litter when I adopted the cat initially. The key is gradual small steps. I buy mine at Target (20 lbs bag, $9 when on sale) which is lowest in price comparison so far. Amanda, you can find Swheat at Petco. Take a look at Wag.com for online option. Melissa please keep up with pet related cleaning posts as I enjoy reading them. Thank you!
Thanks Mika! I will – I keep sharing new pet related info that I come across. Goodness knows, they require a lot of maintenance (but I think it’s a worthwhile exchange)!
I have two very hairy cats at home and very allergic bf. I wanted to share a product that I love so much. It’s a mitten and as it’s not rigid it works very well on couches and pillows. I also own ikea rollers but try to use them less because I don’t think it’s very eco-friendly to toss many sheets every time. I’m including the link for the mitten that I’ve talked about. Thanks for great tips.
Very interesting product! I have not seen it before! I also agree it is wasteful to use lint rollers all the time. I was sent something called a Lilly Brush recently and it seems to work nicely without any waste. I keep the cats out of my bedroom, which seems to help manage my allergies. http://lillybrush.com/
Thanks for the tips! We’ve had a cat for several years now, and I’ve got a pretty similar cleaning routine. But I’ve never liked the litter. I haven’t heard of Shweat Scoop but I’ll give it a try! Any idea where I could find it?
Hi there, I found it at Petsmart…good luck!