Cat Litter - Your Questions Answered

Dr Alice Marshall - Veterinarian profile picture

Dr Alice Marshall - Veterinarian

BVSc (Hons)

Alice is a honours degree veterinarian who has worked across private mixed veterinary practice, the animal nutrition and the animal pharmaceutical industries. She loves to communicate with owners about the importance of pet health and provide useful information to help them enjoy life with their pets.

Cat Litter - Your Questions Answered

As a new cat or kitten owner, choosing the kitten can seem like the easy part. Then there is the litter tray and all the different types of cat litter to navigate. From natural litter to open or closed trays, we'll help you find the right setup for your furry friends. 

Here are some of the common questions on cat litter trays to help both you and your cat settle in! 

Where should I put my cat's litter tray?

The best place for a litter tray is in a quiet, low traffic area of your house. Many people choose their laundries or bathrooms. These are both excellent options as long as doors remain open when not in use. 

How far away should my cat's food be from their litter tray?

If possible, do not place your cat's food bowl and their litter tray in the same room. If you absolutely need to, place the litter tray in one corner of the room and the food bowl in the corner that's furthest away. Covering the littler tray can also help to provide some degree of separation if they have to be kept in the same room. 

Do I need two litter trays for two cats?

Yes. One litter tray per cat is good, and the addition of an 'extra' tray is ideal. For new cats, an extra tray can be particularly helpful, as resident cats can chase newcomers away from 'their' litter trays. 



How much cat litter should I put in a tray?

About 3 - 4 cm depth is a good amount for most cats. A cat needs to be able to dig around and possibly also cover their urine or faeces. However, some cats may have a different preference, so if this is not working for your cat, experiment with other depths of cat litter and note which one makes your cat happy.


Can my new kitten/cat find their litter tray?

Cats are attracted to the scent of urine, and they will find the litter tray. Kittens naturally understand the litter box and will be drawn to use it as long as you provide them with the proper encouragement. As they settle in, it can help to show your new cat the litter tray as soon as they arrive, and place your cat in the tray immediately after meals and after waking from a nap.  



Do cats prefer open or closed litter boxes?

This really depends on your cat. The location of the litter box can also affect preference; if the area is a little bit busy, a cat may prefer a closed litter box. The best way is to experiment until you find the type that is right for your cat!

Open Top Litter Tray

Closed Top Litter Tray


How often should I scoop out (clean) my cat’s litter?

Cats are fastidious creatures, and their litter trays require regular cleaning. Faeces and clumps of urine should be scooped out daily, while a guideline for cleaning and replacing the entire box of cat litter is once or twice a week. If you clean the litter box daily, you might only need to change clumping litter every two or so weeks. Take care not to use harsh or strong-smelling chemicals when cleaning as this can lead to avoidance of the tray by your cat.

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