How Often Should I Change a Cat Litter Box?
When owning cats, you need to be well aware of the fact that you will be taking care of them in ways other than the fun and enjoyable part of playing with them. Just as you would do for any other pet, you are going to need to clean up after your cats. For some people, this will also include cleaning up hairballs and even cat puke every now and then. However, for most people, the bulk of cleaning up after your cat will come in the form of scooping the cat’s litter box. Unless your cat is primarily outdoors and does its business out there, it is up to you as the owner to keep the litter box clean.
With that being said, you might begin to wonder exactly how often you need to clean your cat’s litter. Most people can generally agree that you should be scooping the remains out on a daily basis, but what about physically changing the cat’s litter? Unfortunately, this answer is heavily dependent on the lifestyle you and your cat live. A good rule of thumb is to change your cat’s litter out completely on a weekly basis and see what you will need from there.
Why Change the Cat’s Litter?
Some people may believe that, because they are scooping their cat’s litter out on a daily basis, that they don’t need to completely change the litter. The truth is that changing the litter of the litter box is an absolute must if you want your cats to be both happy and healthy. When you use a traditional scooper for cat litter, there are often little slats for the excess litter to fall through. While this doesn’t happen as much with cat feces, pieces of the clumped cat urine can fall through these cracks. Over the course of a week, these pieces of cat urine will accumulate in the litter box, not to mention any other pieces of litter that you may have missed. Cats have very sensitive noses and will notice the leftover droppings still in their litter box. If they decide that this means that its litter box is now “too dirty” to use, it will mean that your cat no longer chooses to use the box. This will leave you with an even larger problem of your cat urinating inappropriately around the house.
Because of this cycle of events that can occur if you do not change your cat’s litter on a weekly basis, you are ultimately going to want to try and make sure that your cat gets its litter changed regularly. You will want to try and see what routines work well for both your life and your cat’s, as some cats will have different levels of tolerance than others for how much dirt and grime their litter boxes can get before the cat finally cannot take it anymore. Plus, you will have your own limits as well. Trying to replace all of the litter daily can get expensive, but so can carpet cleaning products.
It Depends on the Type of Litter
The idea of cleaning out litter once a week is a rule of thumb that can be a safe starting point for anyone. If you have come to realize that your cat is perfectly fine with waiting once a week for its litter to be fully changed and replaced, then you are going to want to consider seeing how long it could tolerate not having its litter changed for. The type of litter also plays an enormous role in this. Some types of litter can remain odorless for long periods of time, while the least expensive litter types may need to be changed out even more than once a week.
The bottom of the line clay litter that many people start out with should be replaced closer to a twice-a-week basis because of the fact that it doesn’t clump nearly as well as higher end litters, and the fact that it does not have a lot of resistance to odor. Not only is that going to be unpleasant on your end, but it will increase the risk that your cat will decide that its litter box is too dirty to use on its own and will seek out other, inappropriate, places to urinate instead.
For standard litter, as long as you are scooping it on a daily basis, you can usually wait about once a week to empty out the whole litter box and replace it. If you notice hesitancy in your cat’s actions, or you notice that it may be looking for another spot to consider urination, you may need to up how often you clean the litter box or how often you replace the litter. Most cats, excluding the most sensitive ones, will be perfectly fine with you changing out the litter completely once every week.
There are some types of litter out there, especially the specialized clumping litters, that are designed to last in the litter box for a lot longer than others. This makes it easier on you, especially if you have larger litter boxes, as you won’t have to empty out the litter nearly as much so that you can replace it. With these types of high-end clumping litter, there’s a chance that you will be able to get away with only changing the litter out once every two or three weeks. After the two-week mark though, you should pay attention to how your cat reacts to its litter box so that you can try and gauge when you should begin replacing the litter. While this type of litter can be more expensive at the start, it generally lasts longer than litter that you are replacing twice as often, making the price well worth it for some families.
If you have some of the best of the best litter that doesn’t hold any odor and keeps your bathroom smelling fresh, as well as helps to clump the litter, there’s even a chance that you can go approximately four weeks without changing your cat’s litter completely. In the end, how often you should be replacing the litter depends on what you are using, but replacing the litter once a week is often a good starting point.