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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Pet Care Library > Articles > How To Properly Clean The Litter Box

How to Properly Clean the Litter Box

PetSmart Chris Brownlow

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Cleaning the cat’s litter box is a dirty job, but somebody has to do it. According to veterinarians and animal behaviorists, cats can be fussy about where they do their business and if their plastic potty is too full, messy or smelly, they may decide to go “outside the box” on flooring, in the bathtub or some other place you’d rather they didn’t.  And who can blame them? Don’t you prefer to use clean, fresh-smelling restrooms over dirty, foul-smelling ones?

 

Of course there is more than one way to clean your cat’s litter box and everybody has their own system. If you’ve just adopted a cat or kitten and are new to the cat box cleaning routine or if you think your method could use a little tweaking, here are some helpful tips on how you can safely and effectively clean and maintain your kitty’s litter box:

 

 

  • Scoop daily, at least. When we use the bathroom, we have the luxury of flushing – your cat does not (unless you’ve trained her to use the toilet and press the flushing lever). While it may not be realistic for you to scoop the box every time your cat uses it, try scooping it daily to help reduce the amount of waste and control odor.
  • Deposit the soiled litter in a disposable bag and place it in your trash receptacle, preferably outside to help control odor.
  • Use soap and water to wash away any waste on the scooper. Just like a toilet brush, the litter box scoop can be unsanitary - try wrapping it in a plastic bag between uses.
  • Use soap and water to wipe the rim of the litter box or inside of the hood if you use a covered box as necessary.
  • Empty the litter box entirely as necessary or at least once a week.
  • Clean the interior of the box with soap and water. Avoid using chemical cleaners like ammonia or bleach. According to Dr. Robyn Jaynes, PetSmart vet expert, cats are extremely sensitive to smells and more specifically, changes in smells. Chemical odors, even those that don’t smell strong to us, can dissuade her from using her litter box and some chemical cleaners can be dangerous to your cat. 

If your cat is eliminating outside her litter box, consult your vet to rule out any health issues.

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