Litter is one of the most essential parts of owning a cat. Cats learn to dig and cover their poop and pee. This is because of the Raw Cat that is innate in all cats wherein they cover their scent to prevent predators from finding or following them. A cat’s litter box has two components: the box, and the litter filler.
What’s in a box?
Choosing what box is best for your cat is fairly easy but might take some trial and error. Boxes come in different sizes and styles and it could be overwhelming to someone who is exploring all of the options for the first time. Depending on what your new cat is used to, they may be particular with the size, depth, and texture of the box you’re getting them.
If you’re getting a kitten, it’s good to note that they grow fast until 12 months, and then the growth starts to slow. If at all possible, check how big the parent cats are to gauge how big they’re going to grow. This is to make sure that they have enough space to pee, walk around in the box to find a position, and enough space to dig.
Essentially, any box can work as a litter box. As long as the dimensions are enough to cater to the size of your pet and are high enough to catch the flying sand particles when they’re digging. The box should also be durable enough to withstand the digging and have an opening accessible enough for them to get in and out of.
Is one litter box enough?
A good rule of thumb is having one litter box PER cat. Based on my own experience, when we only had one litter box (I have 2 cats!), my cat Reese hated the scent of my other cat and would pee everywhere (particularly the sofa!) when the litter box had Sai’s pee all over it. Getting another litter box for Reese really solved that for me. For others, the count would be 1 per cat plus 1 more for the household. This is also helpful in ensuring that there are available litter boxes when one of them is being deep cleaned and sanitized.
Which filler should I use?
The filler should have these main features: it should be able to absorb both moisture and odor. This means virtually anything that absorbs can be a filler. Some people use paper, wood pellets, or even silica gel. Clay and sand are the most common fillers used in litter boxes because of their absorbing properties. The issue with clay (bentonite) fillers is that they are landfill fillers and are not biodegradable.
Biodegradable fillers are those that are plant-based. One of the most common is Tofu or Soy Pulp-based pellets. Other biodegradable fillers are wood pellets, paper, sawdust, barley, orange peels, and others. Most of these are not as accessible and can be more expensive than their clay counterparts.
Other things to consider is that some cats have asthma (yep!) and some fillers have high dust content. If your cat exhibits any of the following symptoms: difficulty in breathing, wheezing, coughing or hacking, open-mouthed breathing, or vomiting; best to take them to a vet for validation and change your litter fillers to no dust or those that don’t crumble easily.
This really takes a lot of patience and experimenting to see what works for you and your cat. But finding the right setup really prevents any issues later on. Hope this helps! 🙂