Choosing a litter box and knowing where to put it are not trivial decisions for the well-being of your cat. In this article, we'll help you understand what criteria are important for optimal litter box use!
Why is the choice of litter box and its location important?
When they are in the litter box, our feline friends need to feel comfortable and above all, safe. Just like us, they don't want to be disturbed or upset when they relieve themselves.
An ill-adapted litter box or one in the wrong place could lead your cat to abandon it to relieve himself elsewhere.
⚠️ Beware: the litter box and the location of the litter box are not the only reasons why your cat may urinate or defecate outside the box! So before you change anything, make an appointment with your veterinarian first!
How to choose a litter box
Format, size, number of litter boxes, type of litter, ... these are all criteria to be aware of when choosing a litter box.
🔢 The number of litter boxes. There should be one litter box per cat, plus one. Even if there is only one cat in the household, two litter boxes are needed. Some cats like to do their feces in one place and their urine in another, for example.
📏 Litter box size. Cats should be able to get in and out of the litter box easily, without straining. It should be longer than your cat, from head to long tail.
🤔 The type and amount of substrate. We often forget that cats have a very developed sense of smell (they perceive 50 to 70 times better than we do!) and will therefore be very sensitive to odors. As a result, cats prefer unscented litter. Many cats will run away from the litter because they are bothered by the added scent. Fine-grained substrates, which are more pleasing to their paws, are also preferred by cats.
The amount should be large enough to allow your cat to dig deep and cover his needs.
🧹 Cleaning. Scoop the droppings once or twice a day. A clumping litter box will make the job much easier. Clean the box thoroughly every two to three weeks, using soap and water only, not bleach!
📐Litter box shape. Cats prefer open litter boxes without doors. It's simply more pleasant and allows them to observe their surroundings. Raised rims will prevent splashing when digging and covering.
For kittens, handicapped or elderly cats, consider adapting the box. A box with a top entry or high edges can quickly become an obstacle course to relieve themselves.
Where to put the litter box
Once you have the right boxes and the right litter, you need to find the right places to put them. Here are the important criteria.
😌 A quiet, accessible location. Cats won't like to be surprised by the dishwasher, the boiler, ... or by the passage of the dog.
The litter box must also be in a room easily accessible to the cat, even at night or when you are away.
👁️ A place with a view. When he is in the litter box, your cat must be able to see from a distance everything that could disturb him. It should also have several safe escape routes, should it need them.
A box positioned on the opposite side of the door, in a room with several "escape routes" is ideal.
You can also position the crate high up, especially if you have a dog in your home as well.
❌ A place away from food and water. Do you want to eat in your toilet? Your cat won't either! This is normal behavior in nature. Animals eliminate away from their food.
Each cat will have its own preferences. So watch yours, and adjust to it. It may take a few tries before you know what works best for him.
However, if you are having difficulty, a cat behaviorist can help you and accompany you.