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April 26, 2022 |0 min read

How Often Should You Replace Your Cat’s Litter Box?

Written by

Sharilyn Vera

Life is a whirlwind and comes at us fast. Nowadays certain tasks may slip from our minds and fall through the cracks. As humans, we may be living fast-paced lifestyles and sometimes forget to take out the trash or throw out expired bags of salad from our fridge. But after a while, these situations will become smelly ones and eventually will have to be dealt with. As cat owners, we care for our little ones as best as we can, but sometimes we can forget to do certain things that need to be done on a regular basis. Sure, you change our cat’s litter as often as you do, but how often do you change their litter box? Don’t worry; this is a judgment-free zone, and we’ve all been there. Read on to learn about how often you should replace your cat’s litter box and other litter box cleaning hacks.

In order to keep your cat happy and healthy, maintaining a regularly cleaned-out litter box is essential. Imagine how upset you’d be if you came home to a backed-up toilet that had difficulty flushing every day. Now think about how your cat might feel if they have to deal with an over-crowded litter box that hasn’t been changed out, cleaned, or replaced. Cats who become uncomfortable using their own litter box will quickly begin to use other not-so-cat-feces-friendly places to go to the bathroom such as your closet or beside your bed. Soon they won’t be the only ones uncomfortable with the situation. 

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How often should you change out their litter?

A happy and healthy cat will generally pee anywhere from two to five times a day. Many factors like age, fluid intake, and home temperature come into play when taking this into consideration. They usually expel solid waste about once a day, maybe even more. A cat’s pooping habits are affected by their diet, medications, exercise habits, and overall health. For when to change cat litter, if your cat’s using the litter box three to five times a day, then you should be changing out the kitty litter for fresh litter quite regularly as well.

In a perfect world, cat owners should scoop out the box about twice a day, but it's okay if it's just once a day depending on you and your cat’s lifestyles and habits. Just don’t let it sit there for more than a day as the kitty litter can get really gross and uninhabitable for your cat… remember the backed-up toilet analogy! 

To properly dispose of the soiled litter and poop, use a litter scoop sifting tool to scoop out the leftovers of your cat’s bathroom visit. Drop all items into a plastic bag, tie it up, and throw it out in an outdoor trash can. Wash the scoop thoroughly with water and baking soda.

How often should you wash and change out the litter box?

When doing so, it’s important to wash the box and litter tray itself with warm water and soap, or water and vinegar. The types of cat litter matter, too. Sometimes clumping litter gets dried up and is really hard to remove from the box itself when you’re changing out the litter, so washing and scrubbing the box out thoroughly is important. Never use bleach to wash the box and cat litter tray because it can interact with the ammonia in your cat’s pee and that can be hazardous. Also, you should never dispose of your cat’s litter by flushing it down the toilet. If you are pregnant, you should never be the one changing out the litter as you can risk contracting toxoplasmosis. 

Consider investing in a stainless steel litter box for your cat. Litter boxes come in many materials, but most are plastic. Plastic and wood-based litter boxes are more porous and can absorb bacteria from urine and cat feces. So even though you may regularly clean out and wash your cat’s litter box, it's never fully clean. A stainless steel litter box won’t be porous and will be easier to wash thoroughly when the time comes. A stainless steel box will also have to be replaced less than a wood or plastic litter box, which is recommended to be every few months.

Cats are very territorial animals and sometimes they’ll react strangely and assertively when you move their litter box for cleaning. Keep an eye on this cat behavior, and just remember that they’ll be happier and healthier cats once their litter box has been properly taken care of!

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Sources:

https://www.drelseys.com/2015/05/08/how-often-should-i-change-the-litter-box/

https://www.armandhammer.com/articles/how-often-change-cat-litter

https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/preventing-litter-box-problems#:~:text=Twice%20a%20week%20is%20a,every%20two%20to%20three%20weeks.

https://modkat.com/blogs/modkat-purrr/how-often-do-i-really-need-to-clean-my-cats-litter-box

https://www.petsradar.com/advice/do-you-know-how-and-how-often-to-clean-litter-boxes

Written by

Sharilyn Vera

Sharilyn is a proud cat owner, long time storyteller and researcher. Her work spans beloved podcasts, television shows, media outlets, and independent documentaries. She likes to strike a balance between education and comedy, which you can hopefully tell when you read her articles!

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