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Cat litter tray basics

Cat litter tray basics

Cats are very clean creatures and pretty finicky ones too! So it’s important for owners to get things ‘just so’ when it comes to their litter tray.

We’ve got tips on everything from where to put a cat litter box, to choosing the best cat litter to how to stop cat litter from smelling.

Choosing a litter tray

It can seem like there’s an overwhelming amount of choice when it comes to litter trays.
Start by thinking of size. Unsurprisingly, this depends on how big your cat is – a small kitten needs a very different litter tray to a fully-grown Maine Coon. The rule of paw is that the litter tray should be ‘one and a half times the length of your cat, from their nose to the base of their tail’. This means your cat can move around, dig and cover without feeling restricted. As well as size, you need to consider if the litter tray is easy to get in and out of. A litter box with high sides will pose problems for a kitten or an older, arthritic cat.

The other big litter tray decisions are whether to go for one with a hood and whether to try a self-cleaning model. Both can be attractive to cat parents but not all cats will take to them. Some don’t like hooded litter trays because they can’t see ‘threats’, for example, whereas the noise made by self-cleaning models can startle cats of a more sensitive disposition.

Choosing the best cat litter

Broadly speaking, there are two main types of litter: clumping and non-clumping. One isn’t better than the other and really it’s just a matter of which one your cat prefers (as a cat parent you’ll know almost everything is about what your cat prefers!). To get the lowdown on the differences, check out our article Clumping cat litter versus non-clumping litter cat litter: The scoop.

Where to put the litter tray

Once you’ve chosen the right litter and litter tray for your feline friend, you need to decide where to put it. Don’t choose an area that’s too noisy or busy as this will discourage your cat from using it. It’s also important not to place the litter tray too near to food and water bowls – cats are way too clean to want to go to the toilet near where they eat!

The other issue to consider is accessibility and, once again, this is especially important if you have a kitten or a senior cat. Placing the litter tray in a remote basement may well mean they don’t make it there ‘in time’.

How many litter trays do I need?

Cats don’t like sharing their litter tray with other cats, so you need to have one litter tray for every cat plus one extra.

If you have a kitten, you might want to think about having a litter tray in every room. Just like baby humans, kittens are often too busy having fun to realise until the last minute they need to go to the loo!

Keeping litter trays clean

As a cat parent, you’ll obviously want to know how to stop cat litter from smelling, and your cat, who has a sharper sense of smell than we humans do, will also be very invested in this. In fact, if their litter trays don’t meet their exacting standards of cleanliness, a cat will often refuse to use it all!

Your cleaning routine will vary depending on whether you use clumping or non-clumping litter. Non-clumping ones, such as Catsan™ Hygiene Plus litter, absorb a large volume of liquid. This means, as long as you remove faeces daily, the litter tray will stay fresh for about a week. Once a week, you’ll need to empty the litter tray completely and fill it with new litter.

As their name suggests clumping litters, such as Catsan™ Ultra Plus litter  or Catsan™ Natural Clumping litter, form a clump around urine or faeces. All a pet parent has to do is remove these clumps daily. This means less frequent thorough cleaning (probably about every 2 – 3 weeks). 

Want more detail about how to meet your cat’s exacting standards? Check out 4 things you need to know about keeping a cat litter box clean.

Do I need a litter tray if I have an outdoor cat?

If you have a cat that has access to the outside world, you might think a litter tray isn’t necessary. However, it can still be a good idea for times when it’s pouring with rain or your furry friend just doesn’t feel like going outside. Simply put, having a litter tray as well gives your cat choices – and we all like those!

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