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How Often Should I Replace My Cats Litter Box

Your cats litter box won’t last forever. It will eventually need to be replaced. We’ll go over how often and when your cats litter box should be replaced.

little cat on top of her litter boxes


Replace your cats litter box when you find that its smell is unbearable even after giving it it’s monthly washing with soap and water. There is no time criteria here. It’s dependent on how much of your cats funk you can stand once it’s been washed.

Despite what they say, plastic does not last forever. At some point in your cats litter box life, it will need to be replaced. When that happens is dependent on a few things. Let’s go over what causes a litter box to need to be replaced in the first place. And then we’ll go over the difference the material of the litter box can make in extending its shelf life. And finally we’ll talk about some things you can do to make it last long enough to get your money’s worth out of it.

Why do litter boxes go bad

Litter boxes don’t necessarily go bad so to speak. Most commercial made litter boxes today are made of plastic. Plastic can endure just about anything your cat throws or pee’s it’s way. The problem arises when your cat goes to bury whatever just came out of its body. His claws will hit the sides or bottom of the litter box and potentially create tiny scratches. Even though plastic is non-porous, over time urine can absorb into the tiny cracks and crevices created from the constant clawing of your cat as he attempts to bury his waste. If you have multiple cats, that’s a whole lot of tiny scratches.

We use Nature’s Miracle brand of high sided litter boxes. These boxes have some called Nature’s Miracle Plastic Technology that blocks odors and inhibits bacteria, mold and mildew. Now whether or not this is some BS marketing gimmick I have no idea. Until I finish my degree in chemical engineering, I’m just going to have to trust them and take them at their word that their plastic is awesome at preventing odors, mold and mildew. We’ve had these boxes over 5 years now and while they do pick up the smell of urine, after we give them their monthly washing, they’re good to go. No smells or anything.

The shelf life of your cats litter box depends on the material that it’s made out of

Plastic litter box –

Litter boxes made out of high quality plastic will last you a few years if you do your chores and wash it monthly. Even if you have more than 1 cat in your household, higher quality plastics that can withstand the constant clawing of your cat will last you years.

If on the other hand you purchase your litter box at dollar tree (do they even sell litter boxes) I would imagine those boxes won’t last as long or take the abuse as our Nature’s Miracle boxes have. ICheaper plastics will not be able to take the clawing as well, and over time those scratches will absorb your cats urine and feces, allowing bacteria to grow and stink up your whole home. No bueno my friends.
Keep in mind we’re only talking about plastic litter boxes here. Disposable litter boxes made out of recycled paper will last you about as long as a roll of toilet paper. Ok maybe just a tad longer. Theoretically, any type of high sided tray made out of metal, glass, or ceramic could be used as a litter box, however, keep in mind some types of metal may have an adverse chemical reaction to your cats urine.

Metal litter box-

The ammonia present in your cats pee could corrode galvanized metals such as cast iron, copper, brass and various metal alloys. The best type of metal for a litter box is a stainless steel litter box. (And it just so happens that iPrimio sells a stainless steel litter box here. How convenient.) These will last forever and practically no amount of scratching will harm it. Unless you have a really cool liger. You don’t have a liger do you? If you do, LUCKKKKY.

Glass litter box –

You could go the glass litter box route just for the cool factor, but remember, it’s just a damn litter box. This is something your cat will go pee and poop in. The cool factor can only go so far here. But hey to each her own. With glass you don’t have to worry about scratching and with a flat surface, cleanup would be supper easy. But they are heavier than plastic so keep that in mind. Not only that but these litter boxes can also do double duty as a lasagna pan should you get the hankering for some Italian. Ha ha kidding kidding.

Ceramics –

If it’s good enough for your toilet then it’s good enough for your cat. They will be more expensive than plastic but design wise, you can’t beat a nice looking ceramic. Imagine the conversations you’ll have with your guests when they see this litter box. A ceramic litter box will last you years and years but like glass, they are heavy so good luck having to move this thing.

What you can do to protect your litter box and increase its life.

With metal, glass, ceramic or higher quality plastic litter boxes, you shouldn’t need to take any extra steps to give them a longer life span. These boxes may even out last you. But if you decide to go with a cheap plastic box, you can follow these steps to help prolong its life.

Clean it regularly –

Once a month is fine in a 2-3 cat household. (Read these tips on the right way to wash your litter box.) Washing it with the right product will disinfect any bacteria that can accumulate in any scratches your cat may have made on the surface.

Use litter liners-

You can also use litter liners to help protect any liquids from seeping onto the box itself keeping it dry. It will hold the litter and waste away from making contact with the box itself. These liners work especially well with non-clumping kitty litter since it tends to scatter all around the box. With a litter liner you don’t have to scoop anything up. Just pick up the contents and throw it away in one swoop.

Use a heavier clay based clumping kitty litter-

If you use a heavier clay type of clumping kitty litter, the chances of your cat scratching the bottom of the box lessens. And because his waste clumps, the chances of any liquids hitting the box itself also lessen. Just keep in mind some of the clay based clumping kitty litter can cause breathing issues for some cats and people. I use Nature’s Miracle corn based kitty litter that is mostly dust free. I like it and haven’t had any breathing issues even though we have 3 of them scattered around our home.

Buy a high quality litter box –

The better the plastic used to make the litter box, the longer it will last. I like Nature’s Miracle High Sided litter boxes because they are strong, durable and can withstand our three cats constantly scratching from all sides. And believe me, do they scratch. You’d think they were burying a secret treasure with the amount of hard clawing they do once they’ve finished their business. Geez.


So litter boxes come in all shapes, sizes and materials that affect the lifespan of your cats litter box. Buying a high quality plastic, metal or glass litter box will last you and your cats years and years. If you buy a cheaper plastic based box, you can extend its life by washing it regularly and using a litter liner and heavier clumping kitty litter. Now how about some lasagna.

CoolKittyCondos is a cat lifestyle site dedicated to enhancing the physical and mental well being of our feline friends.

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