Cats

How to Safely Clean a Cat’s Litter Box

posted: 05/14/13
by: Alison Kim Perry
108912129-250x150
Read more Read less
Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

Cleaning the litter box. It's one of the most dreaded jobs of kitty lovers everywhere. If you're saying Urgh! over the smell of your cat's box, rest assured, he is too. Seriously, though. It's important to regularly clean your cat's litter box for two reasons: one no one wants a stinky house, and two - more importantly, no one wants a sick pet. Since the job has to get done, and you haven't been able to teach Tiki how to clean his own mess, we're here to tell you how to safely clean your cat's litter box.

It's imperative to remember that the feces and urine in your cat's box can be harmful to the person cleaning it. That's why it's important to have the right tools on hand.

Before you clean, make sure you grab a pair of rubber gloves and a mask. The mask is to reduce the risk of toxoplasmosis, a dangerous virus that can be contracted through cat feces. Another word of caution, if you're pregnant, you need to recruit another volunteer for this assignment.

You should scoop feces (or the urine that clumps together from clumping urine) from your cat's box at least once a day. You should clean your cat's litter box once a week.

Read more on the next page »

Cleaning entails throwing out the old litter, scrubbing the box clean and adding fresh, new litter. If you use a liner in the litter box, pull the liner (remember our gloves, here) off of each corner and place the entire contents of the bag in a trash bag. If your cat is one of the persnickety creatures that hate litter liners, dump the entire contents of the unlined box into a trash bag. You might need to use your scooper to scrape the dried litter off the box. Open the bag wide enough for the litter to fall inside and not on the floor. A mask is key here because litter dust will begin to scatter. Make sure the trash bag is tied or sealed, and any litter on the floor is swept into the bag too.

The best place to ditch your cat's business is not in your kitchen or bathroom trashcans. It's the in the outdoor receptacle that's waiting patiently for the garbage truck on Friday.

Now it's time to clean the box. Don't be surprised to look over and find Tiki inspecting your work. He's just making sure you are in fact using soap. Using your gloves, wash the litter box inside and out with a sponge, warm water and dish detergent. Include the lid too if it has one, and the scooper. Other harsher cleaning products can be harmful to your kitty. Don't clean the box in your kitchen or bathroom sink or tub. You can use your laundry sink, or better yet, take the litter box outside and use the house bucket. After you scrub, rinse all of the soap. You can scrub repeat the rinse again process if you would like.

If the box is outside, it's okay to let it air dry or dry it with a towel. Add a new liner or just add no more than two to three inches of new litter to the unlined box.

After you put the box back in its familiar place, don't be surprised again to see the Tiki for the final inspection of your handy work.

More on
Cats