When you get a cat, you may not think much about their litter box and other supplies. Simple right, get a litter pan, a scooper, and litter. These days there are so many different product choices when it comes to the cat box. It can be overwhelming. You may even by now have found out your cat or cats, can be pretty particular about their bathroom.
I have been a cat owner for 33 years and a professional pet sitter for 14 years. So I have scooped many a cat boxes! I even pet sat for a cat that went pee in the toilet, pretty cool! I have seen many different types of litter boxes, scoopers, and cat litter. So of course I have my preferences on what products I like the best. Before I get into that, I would like to go over a few helpful tips.
As I mentioned, cats can be finicky. If you find your cat is going to the bathroom outside the box, you have some investigating to do. First you want to make sure your cat is not sick, they often will do this to “show” you something is wrong.
If your cat is healthy:
Let’s start with the least.
Scoopers: The flimsy thin cheap plastic scoopers often break mid scoop. My least favorite is the small metal spatula type scooper. Sure they are sturdy and good to unstick litter clump from the side or bottom of the box. But they are usually too small and with no sides, makes scooping a slow process. The clumps you just scooped tend to fall off the sides easily. Included a picture to show you the scooper I am talking about.
Litter Boxes: I am not a fan of the litter boxes that have lids and lock. I do understand their intended purpose especially if you have a dog that likes to “snack”. Again, I like cleaning the litter box to be a relatively quick task. Having to unlock the 4 locks on these boxes, lifting the lid, and finding a place to put the lid to scoop the box is kind of an ordeal. Then lining the lid back up when you’re done and locking all the locks again. If you really must use a lidded boxes, their a better options out there. The ones that just sit on top are good. They even have ones now that are tall and the lid has a hole on top.
Litter pan liners: First off I don’t think these are needed at all, especially if you do daily scooping’s. If your cat has claws (which most do), these are completely a waste as they puncture holes in the liner. So you go to lift it out for easy disposal and the litter falls right out creating a huge mess! I often find these liners don’t stay in place or fit the box well. So then you have cat urine puddled on them.
Litter: There are so many litter choices on the market; it could make your head spin! You have the traditional clay litter, clumping litter, crystals, pine litter, pellets, recycled paper, wheat, corn, and etc. I have personally tried most of them for my own cats. Clients use all different types. My least favorites are the traditional clay, crystals, and any litter that you can’t easily scoop through. Sure the traditional clay is a very economical option but the only good use for it is to clean up an oil spill in your driveway. It doesn’t clump and you can’t scoop out the urine. The crystals make a mess just like any other litters but now you have larger grains all over the floor. It too doesn’t have a great clumping factor and I find it doesn’t stay fresh for long. Most generic clumping litters don’t stay fresh for very long. They are hard to scoop through.
Now what I prefer:
A metal scooper that looks like the plastic ones or a sturdy plastic scooper. The metal ones are best because you can still break loose the hard clumps without the scooper breaking. Now some of these scoopers handles can bend easily after a while, so look for ones with sturdy handles.
Any box without lids. I have seen people make their own using a Rubbermaid tub and cut an opening for their cat. Tall sides help keep litter in. A mat under the box helps but I have realized you will still probably find litter all over the floor. Some people use one of those washing machine trays under their boxes. Kind of keeps the litter in one area. Regardless, keep a broom and dust pan nearby.
Litter: My favorite by far is Tidy Cats Clumping Litter. It’s worth the extra $2 it sometimes cost me over a store brand. If you scoop this every day, you could easily get up to 2 weeks without having to completely change the litter box. My cat’s boxes are in the basement, so once in a while I do forget to scoop for the day. But I don’t find it to be a problem with this litter. My second brand would be Arm & Hammer. I have also used World’s Best Cat Litter. Its okay but I honestly don’t like the smell of it.
A helpful tip to keep in mind is I often see people either put too little litter in the box or way too much. Too little will cause a big mess and make it harder to clean. Too much is like you are digging in a sandbox. That also makes it hard to scoop.
The alternative to all this is you could train your cat to use the toilet but I am guessing not many people have the time or patience for that!