So, you’ve decided to adopt your first kitten or cat. Congratulations! Cats are amazing little furballs that provide an immense amount of unconditional love and have even been known to lower our blood pressure and decrease our stress and anxiety. A cat’s purr is very soothing and conveys happiness and content and of course their fur is oh so soft. What’s not to love about that?
First things first…let’s talk about what you need to have to be ready for your new feline friend.
Litter Boxes & Litter:
You will need a minimum of one litter box, preferably uncovered. Cats prefer being safe in an uncovered box so that they can see potential threats and escape them. Covered litter boxes do their job of containing odors, but they don’t really work for cats.
The general rule regarding the number of litter boxes needed in a household is 1 litter box per cat, plus one. So, if there are 3 cats in the household, you should have 4 litter boxes. If you have only one cat in your house, you should be fine with just one litter box, or you can have one litter box on each floor of your home.
Each litter box should be scooped at least once or twice a day, and it’s even better if you can get to it as soon as your cat has finished his/her “business”. Each litter box should also be emptied and washed with soap and water at least once a week. There are self-cleaning litter boxes available that use a sensor to tell when a cat has entered and then left the litter box. In fact, there are so many litter box options available today that it’s enough to make your head spin. I recommend to start basic and see what your cat prefers.
Speaking of head spinning…what type of litter should you buy? It seems that every cat owner has their own preference. I personally use unscented clay litter for ease (it’s all that my cats have ever used and switching litters can be disastrous for some finicky felines!). Here is a summary of the various types of litters available. Whichever one you choose, make sure it is unscented. Most cats don’t like the scents, which can be quite strong.
- Clay clumping: Usually made from bentonite, clumping clay litter is easy to clean up and most cats like this type of litter. Unfortunately, it isn’t biodegradable, is heavy, and creates a lot of dust. Also, note that you may not wish to use clumping litter for kittens.
- Clay non-clumping: These types of litter are made from clays other than bentonite. They are not as easy to clean and require more frequent and diligent cleaning because they don’t form into nice scoopable clumps.
- Crystals: This type of litter is usually made of silica. They often control odor better and last longer than clay litter. However, they’re more expensive, and they are dangerous if a cat ingests too much of them when they’re cleaning their paws.
- Corn, wheat, and pine: Litters made from recycled corn, wheat, and pine are all available. They usually don’t clump up but are mostly low or no dust, and the great thing is that they’re biodegradable. If a cat has a food allergy to any of these ingredients, however, he may develop a reaction when this litter is used because cats always ingest some litter while grooming.
Tip: If your cat is eliminating outside of the litter box this could be an urgent medical issue. Please have your cat seen by your veterinarian to rule out any medical issue before switching litter brands.
– Veronica (LGAR Cat Lady)