Guide written by:
Pauline, Self-taught handyman, Leeds
Litter tray or box: it's the choice every new cat owner is faced with. There's no shortage of choice when it comes to litter but if you want your kitty to do her business as cleanly as possible, you also need to choose the right type of litter tray! From jumbo trays to discreetly hooded boxes, read on for our top tips!
- Litter tray dimensions
- Litter box dimensions
- Litter type
- Litter box accessories
The litter box: a must in every cat owner's home
Your cat's litter box is vital to satisfying one of her most basic needs: relieving herself as tidily and hygienically as possible. As you probably know, cats are very clean animals who methodically cover their "deposits" to hide odours.
Outdoor cats have the option of relieving themselves in the garden, but to avoid accidents, you should provide them with an indoor toilet as well (this is especially important for ageing cats).
As far as indoor cats are concerned, the litter box is not optional: they simply can't go without it. The question is: how do you find the right loo for your kitty?
The box, tray and accessories should be selected based on your cat's build and preferences. Some cats are more comfortable using an open litter box, whilst others might simply be turned off by the swing door of a toilet house.
Likewise, some cats don't like the feel of clay gravel and have an easier time using plant-based litters,like wood shavings. Whatever your cat's preferences might be, make sure you heed them! Since your feline friend uses her litter box on a daily basis, providing her with a comfortable set-up and the right litter is essential to keeping her happy and healthy, and preventing behavioural problems.
Cat litter trays and boxes
Based on your cat's preferences and your own aesthetic sensibility, you can offer her anything from a simple open litter tray to a fully enclosed litter box with swing door.
What are the advantages of a litter box?
- More aesthetically pleasing, comes in a wide variety of colours, patterns and finishes.
- Enclosed design prevents litter from scattering.
- Better at containing unpleasant odours, thanks in part to a carbon filter inserted in the hood.
Stylish and discreet, a toilet house will blend so seamlessly into your entry area, bathroom or a corner of our living room that you might forget what it's used for!
Some cats are wary of the swing door, which they must nudge open in order to enter the litter box. In this case, simply remove the swing door to reassure her and let her go in and explore on her own terms, without having to worry about the door closing on her tail.
What are the advantages of a litter tray?
- Takes up very little space compared to a litter box (which measures around 40 cm in height).
- Very affordable.
- Easy to clean.
- No accessories needed, unlike a litter box, for which you'll need to buy carbon filters.
Always choose the right size of the litter tray based on the size of your cat. Remember, she needs to be able to move about easily (turn around, cover up after herself) in order to comfortably go about her business. In short: don't buy a small tray for a Maine Coon!
Here's something you might not know: in theory, a multi-cat household should have one litter box per cat. Following this guideline will keep your four-legged housemates happy and help prevent spraying and peeing outside the box.
Choosing the right cat litter
Cat litter can have a critical impact on your cat's well-being. Oftentimes when a cat pees outside the litter box, the wrong type of litter is to blame.
To keep your floors clean and your cat happy, simply offer her another type of litter: swap out large granules for finer ones or try replacing mineral pellets with wood shavings.
Before selecting a cat litter, you'll need to consider a number of features.
- Composition: plant-based, mineral or silica crystals.
- The size of the granules, pellets or shavings.
- Scented or unscented.
- Clumping (urine-moistened litter hardens into an easily scoopable lump) or just absorbent.
- Advanced odour-control (i.e. charcoal granules).
- How often litter needs to be changed (once every 10 days, once every 3 weeks).
- Non-tracking litter that won't stick to your cat's paws.
- Price per litre and usage.
Keep in mind: the more effective the litter, the less often you'll need to change it. With effective odour control, your cat will be willing to go longer between litter changes.
Litter tray accessories
Litter trays can be accompanied by a wide range of accessories. Some are essential, others more a question of comfort and convenience (both your own and your cat's).
The litter scoop is essential for removing your cat's excrement daily and keeping her box tidy. Scoops with a finer mesh are handy for removing small bits of clumping litter.
Litter tray liners make cleaning a cinch. When it comes time to change the litter, simply pull up the liner (taking care not to spill its contents), toss it in the trash and put in a fresh liner.
A word of caution: cats who dig vigorously at the litter after doing their business may tear the liner, causing litter to seep out into the tray. Be sure to choose a thick, tear-resistant liner to avoid unpleasant surprises!
Otherwise, you can go without liners entirely as long as you clean and disinfect the tray (try a white vinegar solution) every time you change the litter.
A litter mat will catch any stray bits of litter that your cat tracks outside the box. It's also an ideal scratching surface: when your cat scratches on it, she'll leave behind any residual litter stuck to her paws. Litter mats are, accordingly, a great solution to the problems of litter tracking and scattering.
Litter deodorisers mask the ammonia smell of cat urine and also help reduce stool odours, which can be quite strong. However, they should be used sparingly. If these odours become bothersome, your first recourse should be to switch to a good-quality odour-neutralising litter.
Cats are highly sensitive to odours, so scented products may drive your cat to find another spot to do her business... Toilet houses often come with a rectangular filter that inserts into the hood. These carbon filters need to be changed regularly in order for them to remain effective at neutralising odours. If the filters you've bought are too big, not to worry: they can easily be trimmed to fit any model of toilet house.
To make sure you choose the right litter for your cat, take note of her preferences and test out a few different types!
Guide written by:
Pauline, Self-taught handyman, Leeds, 89 guides
With a handyman-father, I grew up with the soft sound of the sander and hammer on weekends. I am both manual and cerebral (yes, it is possible.), I learned the basics of DIY and the customization of furniture because I was passionate. The salvage mentality is a true way of life that allowed me to know how to use all the tools and products needed to give something a second life, from sander to varnish. I have two favorite activities: the transformation of old furniture and decoration tips. I am always ready to lend a helping hand to revamp a table or to restore a mirror that was intended for the trash that will become a friend’s centerpiece. I’m convinced that it’s possible to reinvent an interior by small, regular modifications, I constantly research low-cost, test ideas.