Hello dearest human—this is your much beloved cat speaking. 

I’ve been told you want to ensure my litter box habits are strong, and my aim is accurate. According to the team at Walnut Creek Veterinary Hospital, you are prepared to give me what I need to be as successful and productive as possible. You’re in luck—although many owners describe their cats as finicky, naughty, or spiteful, the truth is we prefer to use our litter boxes, but we have certain demands—I mean, requests.

Since you and I have the same goals—my happiness—let me describe what I’m looking for in a litter box.

Location, location, location—cats want prime real estate

No one wants to have to schlep to the bathroom, but no one wants their bathroom in the middle of a high traffic public space, either. Take a look at your floor plan, and select a location that’s quiet enough for me to have some privacy, but not so isolated that I must hike to get there.

My “musts” for litter box location include:

  • Easy access — Don’t make me have to ask for directions.
  • Quiet — I do not want my box near that unpredictable washer and dryer, please. Loud noises can cause me to stress out.
  • ExclusiveGated communities are preferred, to keep out nosy dogs.
  • Good visibility — If I’m being watched, I want to know.

Occupancy limits—every cat has their box

The unwritten rule about litter boxes—you can’t have too many. We all need options to prevent overcrowding, dirty conditions, bullying behavior—yes, some thug cats like to guard the litter box, can you believe that?—and allow for privacy. One litter box per cat plus one additional box is typically sufficient. Station the boxes with a visual barrier between them—otherwise it’s like someone staring through the crack in the stall door. Disturbing!

Spacious interior—your cat needs room

When I have to go, I’d prefer not to cram myself in a small box. I need one that is one and one half times my body length—not including my gorgeous tail—so that I may saunter in, turn around, dig to my heart’s content, and posture without feeling like I’m balancing on a tuna can.

Open concept—cat litter box design

Now, cats love to argue around the scratching post about what makes the best litter box. It really comes down to personal preference—for instance, I’m firmly against letting a self-cleaning box put my human out of a job. Common design options include:

  • The uncovered litter pan — These are the most popular option. Pans allow odors to dissipate quickly, and let the user watch their surroundings, and enter or exit from all sides. 
  • Covered boxes These hooded boxes offer privacy for shy felines, but they can trap smells and are difficult for senior cats to climb inside. And, don’t get me started on the flap door option. If I had a pinch of catnip for every time that thing has slapped my hind end on the way out …

Something’s afoot—cat litter selection

If you had to be barefoot all the time, you’d be selective, too. Clumping litter made from fine granules that has a soft feel is the best. Ignore the advertisements for perfumes and fragrances, because those are a big turn-off for us cats. Choose a dust-free formula to prevent harmful particles from triggering respiratory conditions such as asthma. 

Also, one to two inches of litter is enough—I’m not burying a body. At least not in there.

Cleaning service—scoop your cat’s litter box

I can compromise on some litter box features, but I insist on regular and attentive housekeeping services. Dirty litter boxes force cats to look for pristine properties elsewhere—including your closet, the laundry basket, or your soft plush rug. Solid waste must be scooped from each box at least daily, and more frequently in multi-cat homes. A complete litter change and box scrubbing weekly with warm water and soap is ideal.

Neighborhood youth—kitten considerations

If we’ll be welcoming little ones to the family, ensure you provide them only non-clumping litter in a shallow pan. Babies will put anything in their mouths, and non-clumping formulas prevent dangerous intestinal obstructions.  

Amenities—for the fabulous feline

If you’ll honor my requests, I promise to keep my business in the box—unless I’m experiencing a medical condition. For that, I expect to be taken to Walnut Creek Veterinary Hospital, where I’ll receive exceptional care. If you’re so inclined, the following final touches would put my litter box experience over the top:

  • Cat-friendly pheromones — Feliway diffusers release calming messages into the air, mimicking the facial pheromones I grace you with when I rub up against you. These messages create a relaxing and secure environment, and help me feel more comfortable.
  • Walk-in entry — High-sided litter boxes are for young cats. Please trim my box so that I can go inside without having to scale a wall. Also, please cover the rough edges with duct tape, so I don’t scratch myself.
  • Litter mat — Nothing says hospitality like a doormat. In this case, a woven mat will pull litter granules from my paws as I exit, helping me keep my feet—and your carpet—clean.

See, I don’t ask for much—a clean, spacious, easily accessible, well-appointed litter box in a quiet but central location, and I’m in business to do business. For additional questions about litter boxes or inappropriate urination in cats, contact Walnut Creek Veterinary Hospital.