How Often Should You Buy a New Litter Box?
There are many aspects about caring for pets that a lot of people don’t imagine until it is too late, or that they may not financially prepare for in time. A good example of this is not having an emergency fund to take care of your pets when they get sick. However, a much more common occurrence is that people will usually underestimate exactly how much of a continuous expense a pet will be. Most people are aware that pets are more than just a one-time purchase of the pet supplies, as you will have to keep buying food for your pet throughout its life. A lot of people, unfortunately, do not realize that there are often other things in your pet’s life that you should be replacing.
One of the most common examples of this is that many people don’t realize that they should be replacing their cat’s litter box. It is a given that you will have to continuously purchase litter for your cats, as that is something they go through regularly, but what about the litter boxes? No matter what kind of material you purchase for your cat, it is slowly going to absorb the smell of your cat’s droppings. Of course, there will be some materials that will absorb this smell faster than others, but the point is that there will come a time when (to your cat’s delicate nose) the smell of droppings is too strong for the cat to feel comfortable using the litter box. When this happens and you are unable to wash the scent away, your cat may begin eliminating inappropriately, leading to more trouble in the house. Because of this risk, you should make sure that you purchase a new litter box every so often. Determining how often you need to purchase a litter box will be a bit more of an issue.
Before you can fully understand how often you are going to be replacing the cat’s litter box, you will first need to understand what goes into changing the box, what parts you should be replacing, and what factors will increase or decrease the frequency of the replacements.
Understanding What Goes Into Replacing a Litter Box
The biggest factor that goes into replacing the cat’s litter box is, understandably, a combination of two things. It is going to depend on how often a litter box is used and what material the litter box is made from. For instance, in a multi-cat household that is too small to have the full number of necessary litter boxes, it would make sense that the litter boxes are going to be used more often by multiple cats. This means that the litter box itself is going to wear down and absorb the smell of the cat’s deposits more quickly, leading to more frequent replacements.
Likewise, some materials are more susceptible to changes than others. Urine is known to be fairly acidic. Over time, even if it is mostly absorbed by clumping litters, the urine that hits the side of the box is going to wear into that material. With the common plastic litter boxes, this can result in chemical changes to the plastic. This won’t be dangerous for the cat, but it can be annoying and unpleasant for it, as the plastic can become rough and pitted, irritating their paws and noses. Other materials for litter boxes, such as stainless steel, will not have this issue so you may not have to replace a stainless steel litter box as often.
Some materials will also absorb the smell of the deposits more easily than others. Again, plastic is a common material for litter boxes, but it also has a nasty habit of absorbing the smell of the urine. When this happens, it will cause the litter box to constantly smell “dirty” to your cat’s delicate nose, no matter how often you have cleaned out the litter box in question. When this happens, the cat will be discouraged from using that litter box in particular, which will mean that you may find deposits elsewhere in the house and nobody wants this to happen.
Now that you understand what factors go into how frequently you may have to replace litter box parts, you can begin to focus on how often you should be doing this so that you can plan around any investments you choose to make.
How Often Do You Replace the Litter Box?
The general rule of thumb for the majority of litter boxes out there is that you should change out the box once a year. This includes changing the top cover portion of the litter box (if you have a two-part litter box for this) as well as changing out the portion where the litter sits. It is more important that you change out the bottom portion where the litter sits, as this is the part that touches the litter, absorbs the most smell, and has the most contact with the acidic properties of urine. With some litter boxes, particularly the ones that are meant to be more durable against this kind of damage, you could go about two years before you absolutely need to replace the litter box. The more durable litter boxes are often the stainless steel ones, as these do not absorb smells as easily nor are they as susceptible to urine damage.
It is not as important that you change the top portion of the litter box, but you should still consider it. You will want to give more thought to changing it out if you have a cat that tends to spray high, which is most common in male cats. When a cat sprays high, it will likely get urine on the upper portion of the cover for the litter, leading to the same problems that were mentioned earlier. If you see no signs of damage to it after a year, you may be able to hold off on replacing it for another year, but you should not go more than two years without replacing at least one portion of your cat’s litter box. By making sure that your cat has a fresh and appealing litter box to use, you can ultimately cut down on the amount that you will need to clean up “accidents” around the house, making everyone within the house much happier.