Litter & Litter Box Recommendations

Litter Recommendations
Your choice of litter may require a bit of experimenting. The price of different brands does not seem to vary quite as much as with food and we have found that more expensive does not necessarily mean better quality in this area. You should be able to find a litter that almost completely contains the odor and also does well when you clean it. We currently keep a couple of litter boxes in a room joined to our bedroom and do not normally have any odor problems (and we are pretty sensitive to smells, too). Here are a couple of things to consider followed by our recommendation.

  1. Go for a litter that clumps. If when you clean the litter box you are not removing solid masses, try a different litter.
  2. Try a few different brands and see which one agrees with your olfactory glands the best.
  3. Make sure your cat likes it. Yep, it's hard to believe that they would be picky - but we have had some cats that will refuse to use certain litters. They might refuse it based on the strong smell (Fresh Step was bad in this area - as well as being very dusty which I didn't like) or they might not like the feel of the litter.

We use Tidy Cats Scoop for Multiple Cats / Long Lasting Odor Control - it works great! And the cats seem to love it. We actually had 5 litter boxes with 5 different types of litter to figure out which ones the cats liked best - and they really liked this one the best.

Corn, Wheat, Pine Litter vs. Scoopable Litter
Some might ask why we are recommending a scoopable litter when there are natural biodegradable litters out there. Believe me, it's not for lack of trying them. We have experimented with every form of natural litter we could find. Here are a few notes regarding some of these:

  1. Pine
    The pine pellets were useless because we couldn't scoop them. There may be a special scoop available, but the store we bought our bag at didn't have special scoops and I was left wondering how I was going to remove the waste. This was never a problem I encountered, though, because the cats refused to use the pellets in the first place!

    The fine pine litter wouldn't have the scooping problems but made allergies in this household act up so bad we had to end it before the cats could even try it - we don't know if they would have, though, because they didn't even step foot in the pine pellets.

  2. Corn
    We had really hoped that corn litter would work for us, but after trying 3 different brands we are convinced that it will not work. Allergies again became a problem, as well as the cats not wanting to use it. But the main problem was that the litter smelled before it was even used. We couldn't see how it could get any better after it had actually been used.
  3. Wheat
    We have wheat allergies in our family and so never tried this personally. But what I've heard from other breeders is that wheat litter is very sticky. It makes almost a glue that can make the waste stick to the litter box.

Litter Box Recommendations
Many people ask us what kind of litter box we recommend for their new kitten. We use both open and covered litter boxes here (so your kitten should be used to whichever you chose), but here are some recommendations. First, open litter boxes are often fairly shallow. If you decide to go for an open box make sure to look for one that is fairly deep, otherwise the kitten will probably get a lot of litter on the floor when digging around in it. There are two main benefits to an open box. First, they are easier to clean daily. It is much faster to not have to take the lid off a box before scooping. Second, they are easier to clean out monthly. Without a lid, there is a lot less to wash with soap and water. A covered box has does have some benefits of its own. First, a cover significantly cuts down on the amount of litter that gets knocked out of the box. Second, it gives the cats some privacy. It also cuts down dramatically on the amount of dust that gets out of the litter box. This can also be helped by picking a non-dusty litter, but no litter is completely dust free, so a cover can help in this area. We get most of our litter boxes at Walmart, but I know that they can be found many places. When choosing a covered box for your kitten make sure to keep in mind the size they are going to get, not the size they are now. We've also had people ask us about the dome litter boxes. We tried one but didn't like it at all. Most scoops for litter boxes are square and it's difficult to remove all the waste from a litter box that has curved sides if you have a square scoop. Plus, most of the dome litter boxes we've seen would be too small for a full grown Ragdoll. People have also asked about the automatic scoop litter boxes. We've never used them so are not a very good authority on them. Several of our customers have mentioned how much they like them, so we know that some people are very happy with them. It does seem that they could be more difficult to clean thoroughly. So far our favorite litter box has been the Marchioro extra large.

Litter Care
How often should you clean the litter box? How often should you change the litter? Is there a right way to clean the litter box? These are very common questions and good ones. There are many helpful hints that make litter cleaning less of a chore. First, to take care of your litter box we have found these supplies helpful:

  1. 1 or 2 litter scoops
  2. Small trash bags (We get the little 4 gallon bags from Walmart)
  3. Clorox wipes
  4. Paper towels

It's best to scoop the litter box once a day (at least). We really like this litter scoop: http://www.litter-lifter.com/. There are many good reasons to do it daily, whether you think the litter box is full or not. It is much more sanitary to remove the waste from it daily. The litter can go a lot longer without needing to be changed because it stays cleaner longer. Also, If it gets too full the kitten/cat will scrape up waste that will break into small pieces and will be almost impossible to remove unless you change all the litter. So scooping daily is very helpful. When we scoop we make sure to start at the edge of the box so as not to break up any clumps. We then proceed to start from where we've already scooped for the same reason. If some of the waste gets stuck on the scoop, we use a Clorox wipe to clean the scoop before continuing to scoop. We also use Clorox wipes to clean the side of the box if any waste is stuck to it. Paper towels are then used to dry the side of the box before moving the litter back so the litter doesn't get stuck to the side. After we're done scooping one box and making sure it is clean, we move to the next box. As a general rule it's good to have at least one litter box per cat in the household. Some say one litter box per cat plus one. So if you have 2 cats you would want 3 litter boxes. Make sure you have enough litter boxes in the house that the boxes are not completely full when you scoop them. You could also try scooping fewer litter boxes two times a day. You might need to add a little litter to the box every once in a while to keep it at the correct depth. Most types of litter will tell you how deep to keep the litter, so follow the recommendations that of the brand you choose.

Once a month or so, you will want to change the litter completely. Even after being very careful with litter - making sure not to break up clumps and keeping the scoop clean - there will come a point when the litter will start to smell. Remember, if you think it smells your kitten probably will too. We try to change litter before it gets to the smelling point but a lot of practice has gone into identifying that time. You'll need to see what works best in your own home. A good way to clean litter boxes is to do it in the shower right before you clean the shower. We pour the old litter out (usually saving the pails the litter comes in for this purpose), then put the litter box in the tub and run hot water into it. We use dish soap to wash them out. Some people think Clorox is better to use, however some cats don't like the smell of Clorox and may stop using the litter box if you use Clorox to clean them (this doesn't work the same with the Clorox wipes - they don't have much Clorox in them, so cats don't seem to mind them at all). After washing and rinsing the box, dry it off and pour new litter it. Your cat will be so happy! One of their favorite days is litter box cleaning day.

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