Cat litter boxes provide a safe, clean place for felines to relieve themselves. Although not an obvious choice for all owners, they can be an absolutely essential purchase for nervous indoor cats, especially those pestered by neighbourhood rivals or dogs.
And to ensure that your cat has an agreeable, clean environment in which to perform its daily ablutions, the litter in the box needs be changed often.
Why is It Importance to Change Your Cat’s Litter?
Cats are very hygienic animals who like to keep themselves clean. But dirty litter can put your cat off using the litter box and may lead to health problems.
For instance, their sensitive respiratory systems could get aggravated by the ammonia found in urine. Dust, bacteria and other nasties can also emanate from dirty litter.
Additionally, it’s possible that the waste matter left behind in the litter will cause an infection in your cat’s urinary tract or kidneys. This can result in frequent unproductive visits to the litter box.
So, if you want your cat to live a healthy life, it’s good practice to change his litter regularly to avoid these problems.
Keep in mind too that ensuring a fresh cat litter will help to prevent your cat rejecting his litter box. In turn this will dramatically reduce and prevent unpleasant odours in your home.
How Often Should You Change Cat Litter?
How often you should change cat litter depends on the litter material in use. Cat litter tends to come in two forms: clumping and non-clumping.
How Often to Replace Clumping Litter
As indicated by the name this type of litter forms clumps when coming into contact with urine or feces.
This can help with litter boxc cleaning while also reducing odors.
Clumping products are made from materials such as walnute shells, wheat, corn husks and clay.
The clumping material in the litter works by absorbing liquid from urine or faeces and then forming hard clumps that can be scooped out.
Replacing clumping litter is recommended every two to three weeks. This is because the clumps of urine or faeces it absorbs can be easily removed with a scoop, while leaving the unsoiled litter in place.
How Often to Replace Non-Clumping Litter
As the name indicates, non-clumping litter is a type of cat litter that doesn’t form clumps when it gets wet.
Usually made from the same materials as clumping variants, non-clumping litter is less expensive, more lightweight and generates less dust than clumping varieties. It’s also highly absorbent.
Non-clumping litter should be replaced about once a week, assuming it’s used by one cat. For multiple cats, you’ll need to up the frequency, perhaps to a couple of times a week.
This is necessitated by the fact that your cat’s urine will pool at the bottom of the tray as the litter becomes saturated. Because it doesn’t form clumps, all of it must be removed.
Common Types of Litter
Cat litter is either clumping and non-clumping variants. The most common types of cat litter are listed below.
- Coconut Husk
- Walnut Shells
- Recycled Newspaper Pellets
- Silica Gel Crystals
Other Things to Consider
You’ll want to take into account some of the other factors in determning the frequency with which you change your cat’s litter.
Your Cat’s Toilet Habits
Your cat’s bowel and urinary habits can have an impact on how often you replace the litter. Although age, diet and exercise can have an impact, as a general rule of thumb, cats have between one bowel movement a day to three bowel movements a week.
It’s estimated that felines pass water two to four times daily. Again this is dependent on diet, exercise and also the levels of humidity in the air.
Number of Cats
As already mentioned, the number of cats you keep is another important consideration. Obviously, the more cats you have, the more urine and faces will accumulate in the litter tray/box.
This of course means that you’ll have to replace the litter more often. For multiple cat households, consider investing in additional litter trays so that the waste is distributed more evenly. One litter tray per cat is recommended.
How Will I Know When My Cat Litter Needs Changing?
An unpleasant odour is a major hint that the litter needs to be replaced. However, if you use clumping litter, keep in mind that it holds odours very well.
So don’t just rely on your sense of smell. Lots of clumps in the litter is a good indicator as are large wet patches.
Cat Litter Management Tips
Proper cat litter management ensurs that your cat stays healthy and happy.
It will also hlep to ensure that your home is free of bad odors.
Try to observe the following tips.
Washing the Litter Tray
Actually washing the litter tray is often overlooked by owners who, understandably, can become preoccupied with keeping the litter fresh.
But cleaning the litter box or tray is very important as well. A lot of experts recommend a once-monthly cleaning routine.
Be sure to only use soap and water, avoiding cleaning products with toxic ingredients and strong scents.
Replacing clumping litter should be performed every two to three weeks.
But the actual scooping and removal of solid waste should be done at least daily.
This will ensure a more pleasant environment for your cat while encouraging more regular toilet habits.
Choose a specific day to replace the cat litter and try sticking to it. If you establish a routine, there’ll be less chance that you’ll forget.
Protect Your Health
Wear a protective mask when replacing cat litter. It can generate a lot of dust, especially when disturbed. Alternatively, dispose of it outside.
Please remember too that there’s a risk of contracting toxoplasmosis when replacing cat litter. So if you’re pregnant, get somebody else to do it.