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What You Need to Know About Litter Boxes Part 1

In part one of this blog, we will look at some handy litter box tips.

While it’s no one’s favorite part about being a cat owner, having the right litter and litter box for your cat can make life easier for both of you. In this first part, we will go over the different types of litter boxes, where to place them, and the best practices for keeping them clean.

Types of Litter Box

The two most common types of litter boxes are covered and uncovered, also called open pan. Often, cat owners will prefer a covered litter box that will reduce smells and excess litter on the floor. However, some cats don’t like covered litter boxes. Especially if it’s not cleaned regularly, a cat will not want to use a litter box that holds in smells. Also, in a multi-pet household, your cat may feel trapped in a covered litter box because they will instinctively want to have an escape route if another pet intrudes on their potty time. While finding the right spot for your litter box will solve some of these problems, cats will generally prefer an open pan litter box. Most pet stores will carry litter boxes with a removable cover, so if you want you can try both options at home.


Your cat’s potty preferences are similar to a human’s in that they like places to go in privacy. Find a low traffic area of your house that is still easily accessible. If your cat is bothered by dogs and small children, you can block the room to their litter box with a child gate that is only high enough for your cat to comfortably fit under. Also, cats don’t like their litter box too close to their food and water. If you are keeping your cat in one room, such as for a new cat, it is good to put their food on one side of the room and the litter box on another. This technique also works for temporarily isolating a cat that goes in places other than the litter box. You will rarely have this issue since cats naturally bury their waste and will usually opt for the litter box by their choosing. Just as important as where you place your litter box is the number of litter boxes you have. If you live in a large or multi-level house, you could invest in having one litter box at the top and bottom floors of your house. This will help keep your cat from trying to improvise their own litter box if nature calls. For multiple cats, you should consider having one litter box for each, and keep them separated well apart.


It is important to clean your cat’s litter box daily for several reasons. First, cats do not like to use a dirty litter box, just like you wouldn’t feel comfortable using a dirty toilet. However, cleaning the litter box daily means that you can also keep an eye on your cat’s health. You’ll gradually learn to recognize what is normal and spot usual changes in your cat’s stools, like signs of worms or diarrhea. For male cats especially, you should watch out for signs of a dangerous urinary tract blockage, such as blood or lack of urine after using the litter box, which needs immediate treatment by a vet. By taking note of your cat’s litter box habits, you will catch warning signs earlier. For the litter box itself, depending on the type of litter you should try to wash the litter box monthly or every couple of weeks to rid it of bacteria build up.

Now that you are confident in your litter box knowledge, we will look at how to choose the right litter to put inside it in the next post.


For 20 years, the Catonsville Cat Clinic has been providing quality veterinary care to the cats of Catonsville and beyond! Dr. Pam Nesbitt, who purchased the practice in July of 2011, runs the Catonsville Cat Clinic with compassion in mind. A team of professionals with an advanced level of veterinary medicine is at your service to make sure your cat is healthy and happy. So stop on by; we’d love to get to know you and your cat!

For more updates and advice, be sure to follow our Facebook, Twitter, and Google+! You can get in touch with the Catonsville Cat Clinic by giving us a call at 410-869-0800 or visiting our contact page.

This entry was posted on Monday, February 25th, 2019 at 9:04 am. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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