How often do you clean your cat's litter tray?

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.

How often do you clean your cat's litter tray?

Cats are self-sufficient creatures. They love to groom and keep themselves clean. As owners, we must recognise this and keep their litter tray clean.

A clean litter tray is important for both your cat's and your family's health.
Why litter trays?

Cats have evolved to cover up their urine and faeces, which helps to conceal their location from predators. Because of their instinct to cover waste in dirt or sand, many cats will use a litter tray without needing to be taught.

How often should you replace litter?

How often you replace litter depends on the type of cat litter used.

  • With clumping litter, it's easy to scoop and remove waste at least once a day. If you remove the clumps, the remaining litter can stay in the tray, sometimes for up to two weeks, as it will remain relatively odour free.
  • Non-clumping litter types (such as crystal) absorb more of the waste and usually require completely changing the litter at least once a week.
How often do you clean a litter tray?

Cats have millions more smell receptors than humans. If you think a litter box smells bad, imagine how awful it smells to your cat! A horrible smelling litter tray can lead to issues with inappropriate urination, so it's best to keep them clean.

If you are using non-clumping litter, thoroughly rinse out the tray with warm, soapy water once a week. Take care not to use bleach or commercial kitchen sprays, as these may irritate your cat's sense of smell and can contribute to litter tray avoidance.

As cat owners, we know some cats are fussier than others. Sometimes a weekly scrubbing might not be enough to keep your cat happy. If so, try clumping litter instead. Scooping out the clumps of waste once or twice a day can make all but the most sensitive cats happy.

Benefits to your cat and to your family

A dirty litter tray, old smelly litter or not enough litter can lead to avoidance issues and inappropriate urination as your cat searches for other locations to relieve themselves.

Ultimately, you and your cat will have to reach an agreement on the cleaning frequency.

A regularly cleaned and appropriately placed litter tray is essential for your health and your cat's health. It will help ensure your cat/s continue to use the litter trays and help to keep your family well and your home clean and hygienic. Pregnant women are advised to avoid litter trays as cat faeces can carry a parasite that causes toxoplasmosis, an infection that poses a danger to developing babies.

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