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Basic Knowledge: Cat's Litter Box

Types of Cat Litter Boxes A litter box can generally be classified as either "covered" or "open." The covered litter box (one with a hood that covers the litter box) has advantages for both you and your cat or kitten. If your cat is "shy," then a cat litter box cover may help encourage her to use it. The benefits to you of a covered litter box include a more aesthetically pleasing look and less mess, as the litter is more likely to stay in the box when your cat covers his waste. On the down side, some cats find a covered litter box too confining and unappealing. Your cat may feel trapped and vulnerable. She may not like having only one escape route if startled by a loud noise or if another animal approaches. The cat litter box may also be too small for some cats to feel comfortable. And although many covered boxes come with a replaceable charcoal filter on the hood to help reduce odor, covered cat litter boxes do tend to hold more odor. Many cats find the odor too unappealing to enter the box. However, if you clean your cat's litter box often, you should be able to avoid an odor problem. An open cat litter box allows your cat to keep an eye on her surroundings as she takes a bathroom break. The open box will most likely mean more clean-up for you as many cats tend to kick some of the litter outside of the box as they cover their waste. You can avoid a little bit of the mess by using an open litter pan with a frame. This will catch some of the litter. Keep a whisk broom and dust pan handy to make clean-up a bit easier.

Litter Box Problems Many cats will not use the litter box if the litter is dirty or if other cats are using its same box. The solution here is simple: Clean the litter box daily and provide the cats with multiple litter boxes. Sometimes a cat simply dislikes the litter. Many cats are repelled by perfumes or deodorizing pellets found in litter. If the cat won't use the litter box, try other different types of litter. Perhaps one will have the right texture and scent to bring the cat back to the box. Location can be another cause of litter box problems. Most cats are modest and prefer to do their business in solitude and peace. If the litter box is in the center of the living room or next to the washing machine, chances are it won't get much use.

Location of the Litter Box Place your cat's litter box in a location that is easily and always accessible to your cat. It should not be too close to your cat’s eating or sleeping areas. Make sure that the cat litter box is in a location where your cat will not be interrupted or surprised by another animal, human, or sudden loud noises. If your cat feels stressed and unsafe when using the litter box, she will choose another place more suitable to her liking, but not necessarily yours.

The following materials are good for litter training older feral cats # Clay litter (good for kittens) # Fine-grained sand-type litter (mirrors the outdoors) # Loose soil (good in making the transition) # Leaves (used cover up waste in the wild) # Newspaper

Your cat does not simply need a litter box - she needs a clean litter box with fresh litter. Your cat will be inhibited from using her litter box if it smells of urine. Think about it from the cat's viewpoint. When she soils your dining room carpet, the area is immediately and thoroughly cleaned. Given the choice between a regularly cleaned place and a litter box that gets changed only once or twice a week, your cat will naturally prefer the carpet.

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