Cats are meticulously clean and sensitive to texture and change; they can be surprisingly picky about their litter boxes. This can make them picky when it comes to their bathroom habits. Set yourself up for success by following these tips. Ideally there should be one more litter box than cats in the environment.
Cats eliminate as a fundamental need and to mark territory. To make sure your cat does not “claim” your home by eliminating in undesirable locations, provide an attractive litter box.
Keeping it Clean
Cats are extremely clean animals and will avoid using a dirty litter box. To make sure there are no accidents scoop the litter box twice daily and wash it once weekly with a MILD detergent like Ivory dish soap. Do not use strong or odorous cleaners. Some are toxic to cats and the strong odor may force your cat to find a different area to eliminate.
Size and Type
Cats generally like large, uncovered boxes. This allows them to escape if they get startled. As a general rule the box should be 1 1/2 times the length of your cat (excluding the tail). Boxes with high sides or rims around the top may be appropriate for cats that tend to scatter litter over the side while digging. Low sided boxes are appropriate for small kittens and older cats that have trouble getting in and out of the litter box.
Research has shown that cats like fine-grain unscented litters. Many cats are put off by the odor of scented litter or litters containing scented deodorants. This is also a good reason not to place room deodorizers or air fresheners near the litter box. Scoopable or clumping litters have finer grains and are easier to keep clean.
Location and Number
Cats like quiet and private places to use their box. Don’t place the box near noisy appliances like the washer and dryer. The box should also be easily accessible not hidden in a difficult area for them to access. Ideally there should be one more box than cats in the environment (i.e.; if 3 cats, 4 boxes…) Each cat needs a place to eliminate and mark their territory. In multilevel homes there should be boxes on each level, especially if there are older arthritic cats present that may have difficulty using stairs.