If the smell of your cats dirty litter box is driving you crazy, read on to find out if washing it is a good idea for you and your cat.
We love our cats but hate their dirty litter boxes. A box that hasn’t been washed in months can wreak urine. As this smell permeates your home, the ammonia in the urine can have negative health benefits for you and your family.
Cats however LOVE the smell of their pee and poop. It’s how they mark their territory and claim ownership of your home. If you are constantly cleaning his box, he could become confused and start peeing elsewhere, like in your bed.
So what’s a human to do? Well, we need to find a happy medium that keeps our homes somewhat pee smell free while at the same time, not completely removing your cats pee smell so that they have no sense of ownership of their territory. Compromise my friends, we need a healthy compromise.
How Often Should a Box Need to be Cleaned?
So how do we humans find a happy medium to keep us and our cat friends happy? We have 3 cats and 3 litter boxes in a 700ft 1 bed apartment. Yes, 3 litter boxes in a 1 bedroom apartment. Does it smell? Only when we’ve gone longer than a couple of months without washing them out.
So our happy medium is to wash them out roughly every 1 or 2 months depending how lazy we are feeling. Not all in the same week mind you. We try to spread them out, washing one box at a time a week to 2 apart so as to not completely confuse the hell out of our cats. That way their pee smell is still in the other two boxes making them feel like they are still in their territory.
This is a happy medium that works for us. As a general rule, I’d say wash out his litter box once you find the smell of urine becomes too unbearable even after scooping. A constant smell of pee is not a healthy environment for us humans and can lead to respiratory issues. We gotta keep our lungs clean especially in this day and age.
A word of caution. You want to find a cat friendly soap product to wash out your litter box. As I found out, using regular dish washing detergent leaves behind a harsh smell that will put off some cats. They may avoid using that box and pee elsewhere like on your bed, as our cat did to us. Again I found this out the hard way. Learn by my mistake and do not use a harsh smelling detergent. Use a cat friendly product and your bed will thank you.
Easy Steps to Clean that Nasty Litter Box:
Follow these simple steps to clean that litter box to pristine perfection.
- Wait until the litter in the box is running low before washing it out. When you can see the floor of the box, that would be a good time to wash it out.
- Scoop out the solids with a scooper first. Throw solids in the trash. I use an air tight trash receptacle that i keep outside.
- Take a plastic bag and dump the remaining litter into it. We’ll save it to pour it back in after we’ve finished washing the litter box. That way the clean liter box will still have some of your cats smell in it.
- Take the litter box outside and hose it down. You can clean it either with water alone or with a cat friendly detergent. DO NOT USE ANY SOAP WITH A HARSH SMELL.
- Avoid using harsh chemicals such as bleach or Ammonia
- Once you are done washing, dry the litter box using paper towels. If you are not pressed for time you can let the box air dry. After a few hours you should be good.
- Take the litter we poured into a plastic bag earlier and pour it back into the litter box. Add fresh litter to the desired level.
What Cleaning Product is Cat Friendly?
Remember, using the same type of soap you use for dishes will leave a harsh smell in your box that will dissuade some cats from wanting to use it. This smell usually lasts a couple of days to a week. You will have to experiment to see if this affects your cat. Just be prepared that if he doesn’t like it, he may pee somewhere that you don’t want him to pee. Just to be safe I highly recommend using just water or a cat friendly soap product. Click here to find some good cat friendly products.
Litter box cleaning is essential to maintaining a happy and healthy relationship between cat and human. Finding that happy medium of how often and with what products we wash our cats litter box is essential to maintaining our own health while still giving our cats a territorial sense of ownership that he needs for his own sense of well being. Only when we find that healthy medium can humans and cats be happy living together for long, healthy, stress free lives.