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Author Topic: How often do you clean your litter boxes?  (Read 11680 times)
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JustMe
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« on: August 06, 2008, 11:05:10 AM »

I'm curious as to how often you need to empty out litter, clean the boxes, and put in new litter and what litter you use  (if anyone wants to share this personal information).

I started thinking about it yesterday with the post from catmom? about Sammy who was peeing outside the box (what exactly that means I am not sure) and whose future is clouded.

I had come across this article recently where the vet mentions that some people using clumping litter are not emptying out their boxes often enough, and how it can lead to cats not using their boxes.  I think this holds true for any kind of litter, but I know when I used clumping I was guilty of that.  I'd sometimes not empty them out for 2 weeks, despite scooping twice a day.  I had to stop with the clumping litter because no matter what I tried there was just too much dust with so many litter boxes.  When I was done cleaning them out and dumping out bags and boxes of litter, there would be a haze of dust in my basement.  My cats and myself would cough after visiting their boxes.  And where does all the litter that gets stuck to their fur go when they clean themselves?

Now, I'm using the newspaper litter (which obviously has its drawbacks), but I do religiously empty, sanitize, and refill once a week, twice a week for the heavily used boxes.  I have no choice with this litter.  The cats tell me when it is dirty anyway by refusing to use it. 

So, when cats don't use their boxes, the first thing in my opinion, you should look at is getting the cat checked for health problems, but also looking at yourself and how clean your litter boxes really are before throwing the baby out with the bath water, so to speak.

Some have posted about a well known vet recommending clumping litter.  I have to argue with that since I found that clumping that sits for 2 weeks despite being scooped religiously twice a day will still have an odor.  So if it is sooooo clean, why does it have urine odor to it?  I don't smoke, so I can smell it. 

Of course the newspaper litter has it's own issues, I wonder about chemicals and ink.  Can't win.

I've gotten off topic, but the reason I even started was thinking about Sammy.

http://www.gadzoo.com/chicagotribune/Article.aspx?id=3578
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Eventually they will understand,
Replied the glorious cat
For I will whisper into their hearts
That I am always with them
I just am....forever and ever and ever.
Poem for Cats, author unknown

"A kitten in the animal kingdom is like a rosebud in a garden", author unknown
catbird
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« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2008, 01:00:18 PM »

Yes, this is some mighty personal info, JustMe!   Shocked Wink Grin

We use Worlds Best clumping litter, Multiple Cat Formula, and how often we change all the litter, rather than just scooping daily, varies according to how much "traffic" a given box has.  We have 6 boxes for 5 cats, and one is an automatic self-scooper.  The average is about every other week, but sometimes we do it more often if the box begins to look or smell dirty, or less often if that box is not being "favored."  We always wash down and deodorize the box when we change all the litter.  The self-scooper tends to stay cleaner, despite being the favorite box.  I think this is because the wastes are removed by the box itself within 10 minutes, and don't sit there until we can scoop.

When we used other types of litter in the past, we had to change all the litter much more often, sometimes as often as every 3 days.  The boxes themselves got dirtier, too.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2008, 01:21:37 PM by catbird » Logged
Bengal Circus
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« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2008, 03:53:59 PM »

We use World's Best Cat Litter for our two Bengals.  We have 2 litter boxes - 1 upstairs and 1 downstairs.  They favour the upstairs one.  We scoop several times a day whenever one of them goes because I am usually home.  Once a week we clean and switch boxes (upstairs one goes downstairs and vice-versa).  We sift through the existing litter in each box, then add fresh litter to bring the level up to 3".
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dingbat
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« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2008, 04:00:17 PM »

Quote
I'm curious as to how often you need to empty out litter, clean the boxes, and put in new litter

Usually when our eyes start to tear from the smell Grin Grin

Wife cleans it regularly, replaces what is gone etc. We use a clumping litter but we only have one inside cat, the outside ones don't need litter boxes.

db
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JustMe
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« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2008, 04:13:57 PM »

Usually when our eyes start to tear from the smell Grin Grin


 Grin Grin Grin
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Eventually they will understand,
Replied the glorious cat
For I will whisper into their hearts
That I am always with them
I just am....forever and ever and ever.
Poem for Cats, author unknown

"A kitten in the animal kingdom is like a rosebud in a garden", author unknown
TBOBINA
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« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2008, 05:25:02 PM »

I use Natures Miracle clumping litter and there is NO DUST whatsoever.
I scoop once a day. I clean it with a paprer towel and 1/2 bleach 1/2 water and wipe it all down once a week.  Then once a month I totally dump it, and clean.  Once I switch to raw though I probably wont have too much poop to scoop Grin
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August
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« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2008, 05:59:21 PM »

We're using Japanese brands, so I probably won't be of much help but....

We use The Silica in one box, and Wannyan White paper clumping litter in the other.

Silica - I remove the #2s as soon as they're out of the oven  Cheesy since the box is only several feet away from where I always am (my apartment is quite small).  Then I'll give the litter a stir (since the urine gets soaked into the silica).  If I only have my two, I'll completely change the litter at least once a week, and I wipe it down with a cleaner when I do.  Every other week I completely wash the box out with mild soap and water in the shower. 

If I'm babysitting and have all 4 monsters here, I completely change the silica every 2 or 3 days, or when I myself would feel squeamish to put my hand directly on the litter.

Paper - I've only just started using this so I'm interested to see how it will go.  So far only 1 of the 4 uses this box, and she never digs or covers, so all her deposits are very consolidated, making it very easy to get rid of everything (it doesn't clump very hard, but I tend to throw away the urine clumps with a lot of spare litter surrounding it, just to get it all out). 

I've read that clumping litter can last up to a month without being changed  Shocked which would be incredible...but I'll see how it goes.

(The first week I tried paper, I mixed it with some used silica to get the smell in there, so I through the entire thing out after a week.)
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Orange Fuzzball
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« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2008, 08:36:32 AM »

I scoop daily, dump and replace about every two weeks. I use clay clumping litter with litterbox liners, and have one cat.
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petslave
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« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2008, 09:32:12 AM »

I'm from the wrong side of the tracks when it comes to proper litter box decorum.  I have one box and 6 cats due to lack of space for a second box in the one no-dog zone in this tiny house. 

The pet food bill every month is astronomical, so the litter box ends up being the place where I cut costs.  I've tried all the litters, and combinations of them too.  I always come back to the horse stall / wood stove pellets because of cost and it's the only one that works under these conditions.

I change it every 3-4 days, usually when it is past due to change.  Their wet food + water diet really increases urine output, so it gets soaked fairly quickly.  Luckily it rarely develops any ammonia smell, and the box dumps cleanly.  If I didn't wait too long, I can usually just refill without washing, but I do try to wash it out every 2nd or 3rd changing. 

I don't like the shape and texture, seems like it would hurt their feet but all of them use it except Tony, who poops right outside of the box with every litter except clumping.  I also don't like how it tracks and how dang heavy it is in the garbage can, but I don't have a way to recycle it on site here.  It works better and is cheaper than anything else though, so I'll stick with it for now. 

I actually considered using peat moss, could spread that around plants when dumped and lightweight, but I couldn't find anything on the internet about it so was afraid to try it.  Also not very environmentally sustainable of a choice. 
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JustMe
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« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2008, 09:41:35 AM »

Whatever works, petslave.  Are the pellets corn based?

A friend who has multiple cats uses pellets and found out there are corn based pellets used for horse bedding.  Is that the same stuff?  She paid like $7 for 40 pounds of it.  I was going to looking it since the newspaper stuff is too darn expensive. 

I was thinking of cutting down on boxes and emptying/cleanng everyday because I have no room for anymore boxes.  Definitely can't have one per cat.  I have them on 2 different levels now since Bette Davis guards the basement like a fortress and the seniors mostly stay upstairs now.
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Eventually they will understand,
Replied the glorious cat
For I will whisper into their hearts
That I am always with them
I just am....forever and ever and ever.
Poem for Cats, author unknown

"A kitten in the animal kingdom is like a rosebud in a garden", author unknown
ranger
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« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2008, 09:55:07 AM »

I've been using World's Best in the covered box and Tidy Cat non clumping in the open one.  The covered box get changed usually every two weeks and when I change it I have an extra one so I fill the extra and wash the used one and then it has plenty of time to dry. 

Same with the regular litter I change it every day (if used).  I only have one cat.
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catbird
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« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2008, 10:07:06 AM »

Petslave, there are days when I wish I was where you are in relation to litter boxes.  At times I think my house looks like a showroom for different types of litter boxes!  Plus every time I buy a bag of that World's Best, I wonder if it would be cheaper to fill the boxes with gold nuggets!

One of my cats will eat and puke peat moss, BTW.  I had it around the base of a large plant, that's how I discovered this.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2008, 10:16:11 AM by catbird » Logged
Meowli
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« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2008, 10:48:24 AM »

We have two boxes for three cats, and use Simplicity Plus clumping from Costco. The boxes get scooped several times a day - and I do a complete change and hot water/soap cleaning maybe every five to seven weeks. Depending how bad they smell.
Meowli
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petslave
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« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2008, 11:01:59 AM »

catbird - thanks for saying that about the peat moss.  I bet mine would eat it too since they are constantly hungry for greens, being the deprived indoor kitties that they are.  I know in the garden you have to wet it first for it to become absorbant, so not sure if I would have to do that for the litter box too.  I've seen coconut husk fiber for gardens as a subsitute for peat moss, but if they ate that, they would probably get blocked.

JustMe - the pellets I use are sawdust, around $3.50-5 per 40lb bag.  Lowest price is the horse bedding at feed store, highest is wood stove pellets at the convenience store near me if I run out.  They turn into sawdust after a day or so, then wet sawdust if I wait too long to change. 

There is a newspaper pellet product that is cheaper than the Good Mews type, called Crown Animal Bedding, around $7-8 for a huge bag.  I can't use the newspaper products because they don't absorb that well and really smell after a few days.  Nice that they don't track like the sawdust though.

I haven't seen the corn pellets, will have to look for those.  I'm surprised the horses don't eat them!
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kittylyda
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« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2008, 04:08:30 AM »

I think how often boxes are changed really should depend on a few factors such as, how many cats in the household, how many boxes and what kind of litter is used.  I'm a pet sitter and I see a lot of different things work for different situations.  This is what I have observed:

With clumping litter it seems like scooping daily and then changing and cleaning the boxes every couple weeks (or even every 3 weeks depending) works well for most.  Again, it depends on how many cats vs how many boxes.

With non-clumping regular clay litter scooping poop daily and changing the boxes every 4 to 7 days seems to work.  However, I have one client with 4 cats and one litter box, non-clumping litter and you would think this would be an awful situation.  She simply changes the box daily and everyone is happy.  She uses liners so changing the box is not a big deal.  I'm not a big fan of liners but it seems to work for her.

With non-clumping litters like pine pellets or yesterdays news pellets scooping daily and adding more pellets seems to work but I also notice that the boxes need to be changed more often like every 3-4 days or so.

I have 2 cats and 3 boxes, currently use a combination of Vetbasis litter and Sweatscoop and I change and disinfect about every 2-3 weeks.  I'm crazy with scooping though.  I must scoop like 3 or 4 times a day!
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