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Cats and Their Litterboxes

A description on how to handle kitty's litterbox.

When cats are born, their mom teaches them how to use their litter box as their bathroom.

Litterbox behavior is a simple thing for a cat to learn after mom has introduced them to it. But, you will want to follow some guidelines to make sure that everything goes well in the introduction to your new home.

After kittens are weaned from mom and go into their forever homes, the family who adopted the cat should pretend that they are its mother.

When the family introduces the cat into their new home, place him or her into the litterbox so they know where it is. If one ever notices that the cat is struggling to find its litter box, pick him or her up and place the kitty into its litter box.

If it involves a very young kitten, the best steps you can take is to place many litter boxes around the home so your kitten does not have to go searching.

Remember that location is key. What may be convenient for the cat, may not always be convenient the family.

Try to work around what the cat prefers. Also remember to place a mat under a litter box on a slick surface, so that it does not slide around. If the family chooses to place the box in a closet, the closet doors must be open on each side.

Whether or not the family litterbox is covered, depends on what the cat prefers. Try it out and see what the cat prefers.

My recommendation is to have two boxes out, one covered and the other uncovered. This way the family can determine which litterbox is getting used.

Clean the litter box at least one time a day to rid the box of the clumps. Imagine if toilets did not have flushing functions, you would want your toilet to be cleaned at least once a day, too.

Using a simple litter box scooper is all that is needed. Tossing the clumps into a throw away bag is simple.

If one person is creative and good at gardening, they may choose to compost the cat feces. More information on that subject is available through other resources online.

Once a week, the litterbox should be completely dumped out and washed with a gentle detergent. Refill the box with fresh litter and place it back in the spot it was previously.

Lastly, one may be confused about which litter to purchase, especially since there are so many options. As I have mentioned in previous articles, I recommend checking that the family checks their local Pet Food Express or their veterinarian.

At Valley Humane Society, we do not use clumping litter for kittens because they can eat it and get sick. It's better for adult cats.

All in all, litterboxes are one of the most important things involved with having a cat. Make sure to remember what kitty wants, kitty gets.

 Valley Humane Society

Valley Humane Society is a no-kill, non-profit animal shelter in Pleasanton. We have over 200 volunteers and six staff members. We pride ourselves in being a resource center for the community, providing knowledge of responsible pet ownership and humane education.

Adopting and owning a pet is a lifetime commitment. Here at Valley Humane Society, we assure that before we adopt out any animal, they are vaccinated, microchipped, spayed or neutered and tested for feline or canine illnesses, such as leukemia, AIDs or heartworm.  

All of our adoptable animals can be found on the Valley Humane Society website at www.valleyhumane.org, or you can come meet them at 3670 Nevada St. in Pleasanton. Our phone number is 925-426-8656.

Penandra April 12, 2011 at 10:22 PM
Used cat litter should NEVER be used in a garden ---- never, never, never. I cannot believe that the Valley Humane Society is encouraging people to use dirty cat litter in their garden!
srjanssen September 20, 2011 at 06:03 PM
One of my cat books provided a useful tip for me about litter boxes: most of the boxes you buy from pet stores are actually too small. I bought a really large shallow storage box from Target that is at least twice the size of the largest "litter pan" in the pet stores. My cats love it and they never have "misses." I also have two standard size litter pans located around the house, but they are rarely used. Having experimented with various litters, a bag of wheat litter mixed with a box of the shaved pine works best for me in terms of ease of use, odor control, and clumpability. Also noticed that once I was able to wean my cats onto raw food that the fresh excrement has minimal smell.

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