Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Potty Time

The genius is in the simplicity.

There is a vast number of litter pans, litter boxes, even litter rooms? Here are a few thoughts and observations on the topic. Happy pooping!

Before getting adopted by a lovely feline (and surely you're diligently doing your research ahead of time!) knew often finds oneself lost amidst all the choices! Ranging from simple litter pans to elaborate private bathrooms with elaborate prices to boot. So how would one choose the right one? Here are a few criteria to consider.

Area Size. While it's hard to predict the size of a kitty that will win your heart, one can safely bet that they will grow up to be larger than just mere kittens. An average cat (assuming the common Domestic Short Hair breed found in most animal shelters) grows up to be 10 lbs - 20 lbs depending primarily on age and sex, among other contributing factors. To fit the kitty comfortably and leave some room for diggin', this translates to a medium litter pan. For example for my sweetie (her being on the lower end of the aforementioned spectrum) the litter box measures  and allows her to fully get inside and dig and turn around with ease.

If still unsure, I would suggest getting a box as big as your space allows for it. One advantage of this, as I have recently discovered, is that the cat would be able to cover up while staying inside the box. This prevents smelly paw stains all over the surrounding area on the floor.

Height. The height of the litter box is also important, particularly for older cats. Much like older humans have more trouble to move, climb and jump, cats also become less agile with age and high litter box walls can be very discouraging.

Cover. A covered litter box has its advantages - it better contains the smell, covers up the unsightly view and arguably provides more privacy. While I would argue that there are other ways to make this a private affair, please not that none of the other reasons are targeted to benefit your cat.

When thinking of the covered litter box, I can't help but imagine that it is similar to being in that gross Port-a-Potty portable toilet. Sure it doesn't smell or look that bad on the outside but it's quite uninviting and I always feel bad for the kitties who are forced to use it. It also costs a whole lot more than it should! I vote to rid the cover and instead find a more appropriate location in your house.

Location. When deciding on the litter box, location trends to play an important role. It is important that the place is big enough to fit the box. It should be secluded enough so the feline feels safe to do it's business but also does not feel cornered, with an "emergency exit" available. I would say that a corner of a bathroom is a poetry sweet spot.

Tips. Place a rug or a rubber mat (easier to clean) that is at least 3" bigger than the litter box on each accessible side (it's irrelevant on the sides that are adjacent to walls). This way the kitty will unwittingly "wipe" her paws as as gets out of the box. A rug will also help to prevent some litter from spreading (some, of course, will get out anyway).

If you own your walls or are allowed to do as you wish, I would strongly suggest to glue some contact paper on the walls around the "kitty toilet area". It's easier to clean than the wall and will camouflage the splatter.

Products. Here are some of my suggestions from Amazon:

Have suggestions or tips? Post them in comments!

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