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Litter Box Tips

Petmate Academy

October 18, 2022

Having a litter box in the house is likely the least pleasant part of owning a cat. The litter box is one of your cat’s most important possessions. Indoor cats don’t have ready access to dirt or sand, which is easy to dig in. Cat litter serves as an alternative for taking care of your cat’s needs. While it seems simple enough to provide your cat with a litter box and litter, there are a number of things to keep in mind regarding the size of your litter box. The kind of litter you use, and the number of cats you have in your house. Below are some litter box tips for selecting and maintaining a litter box that is right for your cat.

Why Litter Boxes are Important

Cats are territorial creatures, and the litter box is an extension of that instinct. In the wild, large cats like lions and tigers don’t bury their waste, in order to mark their territory. When housecats go to the bathroom, their natural tendency is to bury their waste because submissive cats don’t want to challenge dominant cats or be tracked. This drama plays out in the litter box. If you have more than one cat, you might see a difference in how your respective cats handle their waste, depending on their place in your house’s hierarchy.

Size of the Litter Box

The size of your cat’s litter box needs to accommodate her. As a rule of thumb, a litter box should measure one and a half times your cat’s length from its nose to the base of its tail.  You might be tempted to choose a litter box small enough to fit in a designated space. Your cat’s comfort should be the top priority. Having a large-enough litter box will allow your cat to turn around, do her business, and bury it. A larger litter box will also hold enough litter for your cat to go to the bathroom, without you having to change the litter as often.

How Many Litter Boxes Should You Have?

For every cat you own, you should maintain that number of litter boxes, plus one. You should have at least one litter box available on every floor of your home. For instance, a cat that lives in a two-story house should have two litter boxes available.  One on the first floor and one on the second floor. A house with three cats should have four litter boxes available.


an image of a hooded litter box with litter in it. A hand is shown holding a litter scoop and scooping litter up to clean the litter box


Cleaning your cat’s litter box is an unpleasant but very important task. Just like us, cats don’t like using a dirty bathroom. More important, not scooping the litter regularly could expose your cat to preventable diseases and illnesses like Bartonellosis, salmonellosis, toxoplasmosis, and worms. You should scoop your cat’s waste at least once per day. Perform a thorough cleaning of the box weekly, replacing the litter and liner and scrubbing out the box. We also recommend replacing your cat’s litter box once a year.


While cleaning the litter box is not at the top of everyone’s to-do list, it’s a very necessary task to get done. A clean litter box will keep your cat’s bathroom habits healthy and clean. Cats can easily get stressed out when their litter box is not a pleasant destination for them and will find somewhere else to use the restroom. So be sure to scoop your cat’s litter box once a day, replace the litter completely once a week, and replace your cat’s litter box once a year.

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