SIZE & TYPE OF LITTER BOX
The Bigger the Better: Most
cat boxes are too small. They are designed for the convenience
of humans, not felines. The litter box should be at least
24 inches wide or long.
Here are several ways to make
a great litter box. Those large under-bed storage boxes
for sweaters and such make wonderful litter boxes. Theyre
large enough for Kitty to have ample space and the sides
are low enough for easy access. You can put the lids underneath
them to help catch extra litter.
If you have a cat that tends to go over the side of the
box, you can use the large plastic storage boxes and cut
out an entryway. Some cats like the extra privacy provided
by an opaque box that cant be seen through. Others
prefer a clear box so they can view their environment
while in the box. If unsure, try both. Your cat will show
you if she has a preference.
Covered Litter Boxes:
These, too, are designed for the convenience of humans,
not cats. Though they do help keep odor from permeating
a room, they concentrate odor in the box. Kittys
sense of smell is so much keener than yours that the intensified
odors in her box may discourage her from using it.
Some cats do prefer covered boxes because of the privacy.
If you use a covered box, you should scoop it out twice
daily. You should also provide an open box in close proximity.
I have used covered boxes without the lids in areas where
I could not fit a large sweater box. (You might want to
cut an entryway in the front for easy access since the
sides are so high.) It serves as an extra box in a different
location. The high sides help keep litter from flying
around when a cat gets enthusiastic about using the box.
Automatic Litter Boxes: Those
self-cleaning boxes are a great invention for humans.
For cats? Well, it depends. Some cats will appreciate
how clean their box is kept, but others may be downright
scared of this mysterious apparatus and not go anywhere
Automatic boxes have a sensor that indicates when Kitty
has left the box and enough time has elapsed for the cleaning
to begin. But here is the problem: If Kitty is still in
the room when the cleaning begins, the noise and commotion
in the box may startle her into thinking, Yikes!
Lucky I wasnt still in there, convincing her
to never to take that chance again.
Here is an example with two of my
own cats. Mickey and
Suki are siblings rescued from a late term spay and raised
as orphan kittens. They are extremely loving, well adjusted
cats. I thought I would try one of the new automatic boxes
as an alternative box. Mickey quickly took to it. After
his business was complete, Suki ventured in to use it
as well. Just before she was going to step in the box
the cleaning began. Terrified by the noise and movement,
she ran out and used my bathroom sink instead.
Since the noise is loud enough to hear in other rooms
of the house, I removed the box so it wouldnt stress
Suki any further. She quickly returned to her normal litter
box habits with her old box and all was well.
On the other hand, self-cleaning litter boxes are great
for finicky cats that wont use the box if it is
at all soiled, and many cats are not at all disturbed
by the noise. The key is to provide a regular box in addition
to the automatic box in a different location. If you notice
inappropriate elimination or agitation at the noise, I
recommend not using the automatic box.
of Boxes & Location