Obviously, you need to bring the cat litter box home before you get your cat. And if you have more than one cat, you’ll need more than one box. The basic rule is one box per cat, plus one for the house. While you can probably get away with one box if you have only one cat, the optimum is to have two boxes in different places in your home. And if your house has more than one floor, there should be a clean box on each level.
You might consider asking what sort of litter box your kitten or cat has been using before she comes home with you. Generally speaking, a cat will do well with a large, open, uncovered litter box. If you have only one cat, you can buy a covered box as one of the two options in your home, and see what your cat likes best. Cats prefer privacy when they eliminate, so you can put up a screen in front of the uncovered litter box if you have placed one in an open area, such as your family room.
There are several options when selecting a litter box. You will also need a scoop for all boxes, even the electronic or automatic boxes, since they require an occasional scooping if litter gets stuck on the sides or the bottom of the box. The scoop choices are plastic or aluminum, deep or shallow. Which one you buy is purely a matter of personal preference.
Uncovered Cat Litter Box
This is the plain box you can buy at any pet supply store. It’s not very large but is sufficient for most cats. It’s very easy to scoop and clean.
Covered Cat Litter Box
The oblong covered boxes seem to be getting harder to find, while the round ones are becoming more popular. The problem is that the round ones are kind of cramped, and cats don’t like that in their bathroom any more than we do.
Electronic or Automatic or Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box
These are the boxes that scoop themselves. They are activated a couple of minutes after the cat leaves the box. These, too, come in covered and uncovered versions, round or oblong, depending on the manufacturer. These boxes are made for people who don’t particularly like scooping a box. When the box is activated, it rakes through the clumping litter and drops the waste into a bag set into a bottom shelf under the box, then combs the litter so it is once again fresh. You replace the bag when it’s full, and how often that happens depends on how many cats you have. All you handle is the bag when you put it into the pan or shelf at the bottom of the box and when you remove and dispose of it. Some models have a tub instead of a bag.
This can be an excellent option for pregnant women who don’t have someone else to scoop the litter box, as well as for some multicat households. But not all cats will accept an automatic box (they don’t like the idea of moving parts in their bathroom) and some cats find them to be too small, while other cats actually prefer them and enjoy watching them move.
Do-It-Yourself Plastic Cat Litter Box
If you have a large cat, like a Maine Coon Cat or a Norwegian Forest Cat (or just a really big cat!), your best bet may be a plastic storage box, like the kind you buy to store sweaters. Take off the top, and if the sides are very high, cut down one side so the cat has easy access. For an older cat, be sure the opening is low so there’s no problem getting into and out of the box.
Disposable Cat Litter Box
These cardboard litter boxes are perfect for travel. You can buy them in multipacks at pet supply stores and supermarkets. They last about a week, or less, depending on the number of cats using them. These boxes also need to be scooped daily and at the end of their use put into a plastic trash bag and thrown away.
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