Cat Litter Boxes Buying Guide

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One of the essentials (though perhaps one of the most dreaded essentials) of owning a cat is providing your feline with a litter box . Cats and kittens are usually quick to understand how to use the litter box, mainly because burying their feces in dirt or sand is instinctual. The type of litter box you buy is really up to you-- and your cat. Small kittens will have trouble getting into a hooded litter box or any box with a high edge. Hooded litter boxes  are not ideal for training a cat to use the litter box. A simple tray litter box  is best for first time litter box users, as many kitties can be intimidated by larger, more complex boxes. Once your cat gets the hang of it, you can choose whatever type of box you want, provided that your cat accepts and understands it as their litter box. Elderly cats that have used simple tray litter boxes their entire lives will often have trouble acknowledging a complex hooded litter box as his or her bathroom area.

Litter Box Styles

Tray Litter Box 

  • Simple and ideal for litter box training.
  • Requires a lot of cleaning on your part.
  • The smelliest of them all.
  • Try to find one with a guard  to prevent excess litter being kicked out, unless you have a small kitten unable to enter high litter boxes.
  • Usually the least expensive.

Hooded Litter Box 

  • Prevents a lot of odor.
  • Gives your cat privacy and hides the "show" from guests and everyone else who doesn't really enjoy observing that.
  • Can confuse and intimidate young and elderly cats.
  • Often a pain to clean.
  • Usually moderately priced.

Self-Cleaning Litter Box 

  • Keeps the box clean and your house smelling nicer.
  • Usually very expensive.
  • Easier to clean.
  • Less work for you!
  • Not recommended for cats or kittens being litter box trained.
  • If you have multiple cats, helps prevent the spreading of illnesses and parasites through feces and urine.

Tips for Litter Box Training

  • Keep the box within the kitten's site at all times.
  • Keep the box away from the food.
  • Place your kitten or cat in the box and gently take his paw and make a scraping motion in the litter.
  • Try to supervise your kitten as often as possible. When your cat appears to need to go (like when he stops playing and sniffs around), place him or her in the box and repeat the scraping motion.
  • It is easiest to train the cat when it is limited to one room. Keep your cat in one room until he or she gets the hang of using the litter box.
  • Reward good behaviour. Give your kitty a treat and friendly pat after he or she correctly uses the box.
  • Use a simple plastic box that is low enough for your cat to climb in and out of.
  • Keep the litter box in a quiet area.
  • Clean the box often.
  • Never scare or scold your cat or kitten near or in the litter box.

Cleaning Tips

  • Scoop  out the box one or more times a day.
  • Use cleaners  that specifically say they are safe for pets.
  • Thoroughly clean and empty the box at least once a week.

Other Tips

  • Buy a litter box for each of your cats, especially if they are not from the same litter. Diseases and parasites are easily spread through contact with another cat's feces. Many cats are territorial about their litter boxes, while others will refuse to use a litter box that another cat used.
  • Don't invest in expensive litter boxes that are hard to clean. Chances are it will get quite messy and you'll end up throwing it out sooner than you would a cheaper, easy to clean box.
  • Try using litter box liners  for easy cleanup. Avoid litter box liners at all costs if you are training a kitten. They will think that the liner is a toy, and boy, will you have a mess on your hands.
  • Buy a litter box large enough for all your cats if they are sharing. Make sure you are capable of lifting the box filled when it is filled with litter .

External Links

  • Cats.About.com-- The essentials of litter box training and solving litter box issues.
  • HSUS.org-- The Humane Society gives tips on solving litter box problems.
  • Litterbox.org-- Information on a variety of litter box topics, from products to re-litter box training.
  • CatInfo.org-- The litter box from your cat's point of view.

Related Guides

Curl up and take a catnap because we've got all your bases covered!

Bowls/Feeders
Food

Cat Care
Litter

Grooming
Cat Toys

Bedding
Scratchers
Stain Removers

Collars
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International Resources

For this resource in your home country, please see:
NL: Kattenbak Shopgids