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Cats provide us with unconditional love, curling up our laps during movie nights, purring softly while we rub their ears and providing us with some hilarious kitty moments. But as cat guardians know all too well, keeping the cat’s litter box area clean and odor-free is an important part of living with a cat and may be one of the (very few!) drawbacks of having a cat companion.

Despite how unpleasant cleaning the litter box may be, cat lovers deal with it without question because we love our cats. Not only do cat guardians have to scoop the litter box to keep in clean, cat lovers also have to find a way to keep the odor to a minimum and make sure the cats actually use the litter box. Whether you just adopted a new feline (congratulations!) or you’re a seasoned cat lover, here are some handy tips and tricks for litter box upkeep to keep both you and your BFF happy and healthy.

Keep it Clean 

This goes without saying but we’re going to say it anyway: keep the litter box clean! No one, especially cats with their ultra-sensitive sense of smell want to go to the bathroom is a stinky, dirty box. Ideally, you should clean the litter box at least once or twice daily. If possible, try to scoop the litter box right after your cat is finishing with their business.

Change the Litter Often 

While you should scoop out the litter box once, sometimes twice, daily, you’ll want to change the entire litter box about once a week. Dump out the entire contents of the litter box and give the box a good, thorough cleaning. Be sure to stay away from harsh chemicals such as bleach or fragmented cleaners, though. To wash the litter box, simply use hot, soapy water and rinse well. Voila! A clean litter box.

To help ease the task of changing the litter every week, investing in litter box liners is a good idea. To cut back on your plastic waste, you can just as easily put used magazines or newspapers down at the bottom of the litter box. This will make clean up so much easier!

Quiet, Please! 

Cats like peace when going to the bathing. Keeping your cat’s litter box by the washer and dryer, for instance, is not a good idea. Try to keep your cat’s litter box in a quiet room. Otherwise, the cat may get scared by the loud noises and go to the bathroom outside of the litter box.

Lots of Cats = Lots of Litter Boxes 

You’ll want to adhere to the kitty rule of thumb which is to have at least once more litter box than the number of cats in the house (i.e. if you have three cats, you should have four litter boxes). It’s also important to spread out the litter boxes. If you have two litter boxes side by side, a cat sees one big litter box.

New Year, New Box

Even the most well-maintained litter boxes will naturally get dirty. Not only that, but your cat’s nails can scrape the plastic, creating tiny grooves in the box where bacteria can form. Buy a new litter box every year, but don’t change things up too much. Get a box that is similar in size and appearance to what your cat is already accustomed to using. If you don’t want to buy a new litter box every single year, consider using a cardboard box or making a DIY litter box. Your cat will love it, plus you’ll be helping the planet!

Use Unscented Litter 

Using unscented litter may seem counterintuitive to keeping the litter box odor down, but it’s ideal for your cat’s health. Cats have 67 million scent receptors, while humans have only five million, according to cat behavior consultant Pam Johnson-Bennett. So using scented litter may deter your cat from using the box. Putting baking soda at the bottom of the litter box, under the litter can help cut down on the odor.

It’s also important to remember that while litter box duties aren’t all that fun, it’s a great time to keep an eye on your cat’s health. You may notice constipation, diarrhea, a larger-than-normal urine clump, or no urine clump at all, all things to pay attention to! Got any other litter box tips? Leave a comment below for other cat lovers!

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