At previous article, Dr. Maria Grazia Calore, veterinary surgeon and animal behavior expert, explained to us what motives lead cats to make their needs out of their litter box. One of those reasons may be improper maintenance of the box. In this article the doctor offers us valuable advice to avoid problems with the box.
The evacuation: a delicate moment for the cat
In nature the cat is a predator, but it is also prey, and evacuation is a time of great vulnerability for him. The first thing we have to keep in mind is if we have chosen a good place to place the litter box. From his point of view, the ideal is a quiet place, with little traffic, and somewhat separated from other areas of its territorial responsibility (for example, from the place where you eat or sleep). Placing the cat's box next to the entrance door, where everyone goes, is not a good idea! Nor is it located next to the washing machine, which, as we know, when they spin, they make their environment more immediate and noisy and moving.
If we have more cats in the house, we must anticipate the possibility that they need The sandbox at the same time. Sometimes the best relationships between them are broken because one attacks the other while using the box. Try not to place it in such narrow places where it is difficult for the micho to move. The appropriate thing is to have as many boxes as pets in the house, having even one more would be perfect.
1. Sodium bicarbonate
Sodium bicarbonate absorbs bad odors And it is disinfectant. However, in large quantities it is toxic to the cat. Therefore, it will be necessary to use it carefully and in a specific way that we will indicate below:
- Distribute a thin layer of baking soda along the bottom of the clean tray or the container used to house the sepiolite or any variety of cat sand.
- Cover the thin layer of baking soda with six or seven centimeters of cat litter.
In this way, the sand will deodorize more effectively. Every day extract the solid waste with the grating shovel. The baking soda you must buy it at the supermarket, since it is much cheaper than in pharmacies.
2. Activated carbon
Mix activated charcoal with sand It can be an excellent method to reduce the smell of feces. Many owners use this absorbent That has proven to be very effective.
In addition, a study was conducted to verify whether cats liked or not the presence of activated carbon in the litter box. The results of the study showed that cats use sand with activated carbon more times than without this product. Therefore, this problem can be very effective when it comes to prevent health problems related to disposal and can even help prevent the cat from urinating outside the box.
Another study was conducted for the preference between sand with sodium bicarbonate and activated carbon, which showed that cats preferred litter boxes with activated carbon.
However, each cat is a world and the ideal is to try different alternatives, providing different litter boxes, so that you can perceive which type the cat prefers. You could, for example, place two sandboxes, one with sodium bicarbonate and one with activated carbon and see which one you prefer or use most frequently.
3. Binder sands
In the market there are some types of agglomerating sands that form balls on contact with urine. By tracking the feces every day, with this type of sand we will also eliminate the balls with urine, leaving the rest of the sand very clean. It is a somewhat more expensive product, but it is quite efficient if all agglomerated waste is eliminated on a daily basis. The trick of sodium bicarbonate or that of activated carbon can be used or not.
4. Self-cleaning sandboxes
In the market there is an electrical device that is a self-cleaning sandpit. It costs around € 300, but do not change the sand as it washes and dries. The stool liquefies them and they evacuate down the toilet pipe, as well as dirty water.
Periodically, the sand that is lost must be replaced. The company that sells this sandbox also sells all its accessories. It is an expensive product, but if someone can afford it it is an interesting product for its hygiene and comfort.
According to the information there is a period of 90 days to check that the cat gets used without problems to make depositions in the device. This self-cleaning sandbox is called CatGenie 120.
5. Self-cleaning cat litter
Much more economical and quite efficient is a self-cleaning sandpit. It costs between € 69 and € 95. This self-cleaning sandbox allows a very neat cleaning of all waste, as it is used with binder sand. It carries an ingenious system that by means of a simple lever precipitates solid waste that falls inside a biodegradable plastic bag to the bottom.
It is worth watching the demonstration video. This sandbox is called SmartSift CATIT. It is ideal when there is more than one cat in the home. There are other cheaper self-cleaning sandboxes, but they are not as complete as this model.
6. Weekly and monthly cleaning
It is advisable to clean the sandbox thoroughly at least once a week. It is advisable to use a enzymatic detergent (without bleach, perfume or ammonia) as it will prevent the cat from having constant urination. Remember that scented sands on many occasions do not like cats and make their depositions outside the sandbox.
The monthly cleaning of the sandbox can be done in the dishwasher (no dishes, pots, glasses, and cutlery), just in a wash before the monthly cleaning of the dishwasher itself. The temperature and the powerful detergent will sterilize the sandbox tray.
Is it possible to remove the smell of cat at home?
It is not always possible to achieve an odorless cat litter, but you can minimize odors if you follow one or more of our tricks. Don't forget to share your experiences and tips so that other users can benefit.
If you want to read more articles similar to Tricks for the bad smell of cat litter, we recommend that you enter our Curiosities section of the animal world.
Open or closed?
One question that they frequently ask me is whether the litter box should be open or closed. There is no definitive answer, as this will depend on your cat's individual preferences. Something very important are the dimensions of the litter box: these should allow not only that the cat fit inside, but that it can spin comfortably. In my consultation about pet behavior problems I have seen many times that, for reasons of space, the size of the litter box was inadequate, and being uncomfortable, this was the only cause for which the cat did not use it. If yours is not used to using a closed box, I invite you to put a cat entrance at the front door to facilitate access and prevent a prisoner from feeling.
What type of sand to choose?
There are many types of litter boxes for cats in the market. Many times we choose scented boxes, without taking into account that the sense of smell of cats is much more developed than ours, and that, in some cases, what for us is a perfume, for them it is nothing more than a squeaky smell and nasty. In my experience, the vast majority of cats prefer colorless sandboxes. To avoid unpleasant odors, in addition to a good cleaning, of course, we can use cleaning substances that contain enzymes, which literally "eat" the smell, which constitutes a good balance between our needs and those of the myth.
Even the size of the sand grains is important! For the cat to dig, it should not be too fat, because sometimes more than sand they look like small stones. If the sand exceeds a certain thickness, this can be annoying and irritating to the animal. If you can't find sea sand, which is probably the best, we should at least try to find one as thin as possible.
Another aspect to consider, so that the cat can develop comfortable evacuation habits and strongly associated with the box, is the thickness of the layer of sand deposited. This should have a minimum height of between 5 and 7 centimeters.
How and how often do you clean the box?
While we can find in the market litter boxes that supposedly should last between 21 and 30 days without being recycled, often one of the most common causes of the rejection of cats to use them is the lack of care and maintenance of these containers.
The litter box should be cleaned at least twice a day, carefully removing both feces and urine. Instead of using conventional pallets, through whose holes dirty sand escapes, I recommend using a beach pallet, or even a shovel made by ourselves: a plastic bottle cut obliquely whose neck we use as a handle can serve us very well to this task.
At least once a week It is necessary to replace all the sand and clean the box: this will greatly contribute to the health of your cat, as it will eliminate the parasites preventing them from multiplying and cutting their life cycle.