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Prevent litter box problems


Friday, June 6th, 2014
Issue 23, Volume 18.


INLAND EMPIRE – Cats make great companion animals, as they’re relatively self-sufficient and do not require large backyards in which to exercise. Cats can be content to curl up and sleep on their owner’s lap or occupy a cozy spot on a sun-drenched windowsill.

One of the less desirable responsibilities associated with cat ownership is maintaining the litter box to prevent odor. Litter boxes come in many varieties, but they are all intended to give cats a place to go to the bathroom. Cat owners typically place the litter box in a faraway spot to keep it out of sight and avoid any odors that may emanate from within.

However, this way of thinking could be counterproductive. If the cat cannot easily find the litter box or is not pleased with its location, it may opt to abandon the litter box, which can get messy. That convenient houseplant in the living room may seem more inviting than the litter box in the basement, after all.

The odor of cat urine, when it has a chance to penetrate carpeting or wood flooring, can be difficult to remove. Therefore, it is imperative to create a litter box environment that is accessible to the animal. This may mean placing it in a common area of the home. Avoid placing the litter box next to a noisy appliance, which may spook the cat. Also, do not place the litter box next to a heat source, as that may exacerbate the smell and cause the odor to spread.

Invest in multiple litter boxes, especially if you have more than one cat. The general rule of thumb is one per cat and then one more in another location as a Advertisement
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backup, in case the primary one is blocked.

It may seem tempting to try to mask litter box odor by using scented litter or placing an air freshener nearby. But this smell may actually repel the cat and force it to relieve itself elsewhere. Use unscented litter and then sprinkle baking soda inside the box to help absorb odors. Baking soda should not offend the cat.

According to the Humane Society of America, research has shown that many cats prefer fine-grained litters because they have a softer feel. Clumping litters may be preferable to clay litters. Picky cats who resist commercial litters may like sand. Once a litter material is found that the cat likes, stick with it.

The primary way to prevent litter box odors is to keep the litter box clean. If the odor offends you, it is likely it will offend the cat, too. Clean the litter box of waste at least once a day, replace the litter twice a week, and at least once a week remove everything and wash the box down with warm, soapy water. Make sure there is plenty of ventilation around the litter box so that odors will not build and fester.

Treat your cat to a new litter box once per year. Over time, a cat may scratch its litter box, creating small crevices where bacteria can thrive. This may make odors worse, and the box could be more difficult to clean. Think about donating the used litter box to an animal

shelter.

Cat owners don’t have to put up with litter box odor and soiling around the house. Maintenance and finding the right location and litter material go a long way toward having a happy, well-behaved

cat.


 

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