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Some questions about litter boxes

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
We are (family and me) new to the cat business -- our first cat.

Just some questions about litter boxes, litter, etc:

- Is a covered litter box better than a "pan" style box? What are the advantages of a covered box?

- How do you prevent kitty litter from getting all over the floor around the box? We have a towel underneath our cat's box and he still gets it all over the floor.

- What's the best litter? We bought a sack of "Feline Pine" (http://www.naturesearth.com/) and it makes the room smell great and it's apparently flushable -- though we've never tried flushing it. It does not clump very well so when we scoop out the waste we're taking a lot of the litter with it.

- Are litter box liners a good idea for the box?

Thank you.
post #2 of 11
hi, congrats on the new addition!

i am no expert in this area but this is what i have learned from my two kitties.

covered boxes are not a good idea...blue developed a bladder infection because frodo would wait outside the box to pounce on her so she started holding it. i know that you only have one cat, but i heard that a cover makes the box extra smelly to the cat and is generally not a good idea.

if your cat is not currently using feline pine you should switch the litter very slowly. i tried feline pine clumping and blue did not like it. i am now currently switching from clumping clay to swheat scoop very slowly! i first put some swheat scoop on the bottom and put a layer of the clay on top and i am slowly making the mixture more wheat and less clay. it is going well so far. swheat scoop is SO MUCH NICER than the clay!

as for the tracking...i have the same problem and cannot figure out how to stop it! i am going to get an indoor-outdoor mat to put under my litter box so i can clean it easy and hopefully that will help with the tracking...

i do not use liners, but i honestly don't know if these are good or not. i don't use them because i don't see the point in them. frodo is a little obsessive-compulsive when it comes to the litter and will scratch A LOT! so, he will just shred the liner and that would make it useless anyway. i also use a larger, clear, tupperware style container and not a traditional litter pan since i have two cats and only room for one litter pan, and one of my cats is a monster! i just dump the litter and wash the whole thing with hot water and dish washing detergent (sunlight) and rinse really good.

i hope that i was a little bit helpful!

good luck with whatever you choose.
post #3 of 11
We use covered boxes here--the cats don't seem to have issues with them--I think with proper cleaning smell inside shouldn't be an issue. We scoop once a day (two boxes 2 cats) and the boxes get completely dumped and washed once a month. We use clay clumping litter--off brand, usually Meijer brand or Kroger brand.

The covered box helps quite a bit with the tracking issue. We made our boxes out of 18 gallon rubbermaid totes, cutting holes in the sides for entrances--$4 a piece much cheaper than petstore boxes. We also keep a litter broom and dust pan nearby and each time a scoop I sweep up what has been tracked (our boxes are in the basement so its not a big deal when we have tracked litter)

I don't believe that feline pine is a clumping litter--you may want to reread the package--I'm not real familiar with it.

Liners are a waste--at least for most cats--perhaps a declawed cat wouldn't shred them but most cats just shred them when they dig.

Leslie
post #4 of 11
feline pine does have a clumping litter.

i also scoop my litter every day and wash the pan out every month. the smell is not bothersome to me, but my nose is nowhere as sensitive as my kitties' noses so i can only imagine that a dark, stuffy place with even a little smell would be way worse for the cats! there can't be much circulation in there.

but, i guess it is what works best for your cats.
post #5 of 11
I have both open and covered. However, with a lot of litters if you use the covered one, you will "trap" all that dust they dig up and then they are breathing it into their lungs. We took the cover (top) off of ours.

We use wood stove pellets (which is like the Feline Pine pellets) and sift it do that the unused pellets will not be thrown out in the trash.

I don't flush ANY kind of litter. You may do it a few times, but sooner or later you are looking at a nice size plumbing bill when it gets clogged up!
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
That's all great advice. I don't think I'll mess with getting any liners.
post #7 of 11
litter liners don't work for cats that have claws [in my experience] - they just tear them up.
many people on this site like the large [66 quart] sterilite or rubbermaid containers for litter boxes. good for kitties that have a tendency to fling litter or pee over the side of the lower-sided traditional boxes.
i like clay clumping litter best - ScoopAway is my preferred brand, but i often have difficulty finding the unscented variety [the scented is TOO scented].
i have 4 litterboxes for 5 cats - but mine are automated boxes, so there's almost always a 'clean' box available. this works well for me, since i lived alone & work all day.
post #8 of 11
I agree with litter liners, clawed cats just shred them.

As for kitty litter - it depends on what you/the cat like.

I use large Rubbermaid storage tubs. For one kitty, you can pick up 2 18 gal totes. Simply cut a hole in the lid large enough for kitty to fit down in the tub. It's big enough for most cats, & with the lid - it helps keep litter from tracking. (For me, I use the tubs that are like 60L or something?)

I prefer "natural" litters over clay. Clay is dusty & heavy. Some cats will use pelleted litter, some won't. I've used Swheat, but it doesn't do much odor wise, so I mix in FP scoopable.
post #9 of 11
Yay for your first kitty!

- Is a covered litter box better than a "pan" style box? What are the advantages of a covered box?
Generally, covered boxes should be avoided. They are sort of like the cat equivalent of an outhouse. All the smell gets trapped inside and makes the cat hate using it, which could lead to them finding other places in your house to eliminate. We have a covered box only because we have a dog that likes to get into the litter box (gross, I know). If you do go the covered box route, make sure to clean it twice a day instead of once a day. I like large uncovered boxes, like the Cat's Rule boxes. If a covered box works best for your home (which I totally understand, because who wants to look at a litter box?), then just clean it more often with bleach and change the litter more often.

- How do you prevent kitty litter from getting all over the floor around the box? We have a towel underneath our cat's box and he still gets it all over the floor.
Some litters are worse than others for this. The regular Feline Pine pellets are great for this because there isn't much to scatter around. The clumping Feline Pine is awful for this, it gets everywhere. You'll have this issue with most clay litters and natural litters. Try Feline Pine pellets, crystal litter, or Yesterday's News. OR they make mats that you can put for cats to step out onto after they use the box and the mat catches the litter pieces. A covered box might help with this problem too. We have the Booda Dome with the little ramp on the side and that catches all the excess litter.

- What's the best litter? We bought a sack of "Feline Pine" (http://www.naturesearth.com/) and it makes the room smell great and it's apparently flushable -- though we've never tried flushing it. It does not clump very well so when we scoop out the waste we're taking a lot of the litter with it.
I liked the Feline Pine pellets because they were cheap and environmentally friendly. My issue was that when the cat pooped, they wouldn't cover the poop like they did with other litter and so the scent issue was worse. The pellets aren't a clumping litter so you just shake the box so the broken down pellets settle at the bottom and scoop out the solid waste. I never flush litter, even though it says you can. I HATED the Feline Pine clumping stuff, it tracked everywhere.

My favorite litter is World's Best Cat Litter, and I've tried a lot. Actually, I also really liked the Dr. Elsey crystal litter but it was just too expensive.

- Are litter box liners a good idea for the box?
No, these are pretty much useless. Cats scratch them up and the litter gets through the holes on the bottom. You will have to clean out your litter box with bleach or white vinegar at least once a month, liner or no liner.



I highly recommend buying a stainless steel scoop, they are much better than plastic scoops.
post #10 of 11
Consider this product:

http://www.omegapaw.com/Images/Roll&...l'nLrg.jpg

I've had cat boxes for more than 40 years now and this is the first one I've ever raved about. It really works. Use a good clumping litter. Roll it once a day and dump the contents of the pull-out drawer into the trash (I actually keep a sealable plastic bucket lined with a trash bag for dumping the drawer). Completely dump and change the litter maybe once every four to six weeks.

Video demonstration:

http://www.omegapaw.com/RAdemo.html

The key to any cat box is to actually scoop it at least once a day.
post #11 of 11
Hmm..
Covered box-
Pros- keeps more litter IN the box, you don't SEE what's in the box (important if it's in a public area), It helps contain some of the smell

Cons- you have to remove the lid to scoop (takes longer), you can't see in the box (to know when to scoop), some cats are freaked out by the lid, some cats don't like the smells being contained in the box

Open boxes- really only con is that litter goes EVERYWHERE if your cat is a flinger and that you can see in the box (if it's in a public area).

I have a covered box (on the back porch), an open "sifting" feline pine (non-clumping) box and an omega paw rollaway box (both in the waterheater room). I LOVE the rollaway, but if you get one, get the LARGE one. The open FP sifting box isn't so bad with flinging litter out as the FP pellets are large and heavy. I only have a tracking problem with the covered box...I put a catlitter mat in front of the opening and that solves most of it.

What kind of litter? I have tried the FP scoop litter...liked the price, liked the light-weight of it...BUT hated how easy it was for the cats to toss it everywhere (lightweight), didn't like the poor clumping, and didn't think it did much for the urine smells.

What I use now is world's best cat litter...it's a corn litter, clumps, and is flushable. It smells "corny" (if you've ever smelled "sweet feed" it smells similar), but clumps great and contains odor well...heavier than FP, so doesn't get tossed as much. BUT it's also very expensive....Although pound-for-pound, you get more coverage than the clay litters. It's also very low dust.

As to how to prevent the flinging of litter everywhere...a few suggestions.
1. Buy a good cat litter mat. I have some that I think are petmate...they have a soft texture and catch a lot of litter.
2. Either get an open box with high sides or get a covered box
3. Sit the box inside a large cardboard box (that has been cut so that the top is open and there is an entrance for the cat).
4. Sit the box inside a litter box cabinet (there are many on the market, but I like the ones on refinedfeline.com).


I would not use litter pan liners, as so many people complain about them getting torn, etc.

Good luck!
Art
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