Cat Litter Box Tips - Do’s & Don’ts of Litter

Updated: 2/9/20242-4 minutes
cat litter box tips hero

Litter box tips can be useful to anyone who shares a home with a feline companion.  

Of course, choosing a box your cat likes (and cleaning it properly) will keep them comfortable and healthy.  

Being thoughtful about the litter box benefits you too, however. By keeping it tidy, you’ll avoid unnecessary messes in your home. 

Whether you’re a first-time cat owner or just need a little refresher on best practices, here’s a guide to litter box basics, as well as a simple list of litter to-do’s and not-to-do’s. 

Litter Box Basics

As you probably know, a litter box is where cats go to the bathroom indoors. It contains cat litter, which you purchase separately and pour into the box. Your pet does their business on the litter, which you then remove. 

Boxes range in size and type. Ideally, they should be at least big enough for your cat to turn around in. Some have covers while others are open.  

When choosing a box, make sure your pet can enter and exit it with ease. This is especially important for senior felines who may have mobility issues. 

Also, don’t forget a scoop for removing and replacing litter. As an alternative, you can re-use a plastic bag from, say, the grocery store, and pick up waste and litter like you might do when cleaning up after a dog on a walk. 

Litter Box Tips – Do’s & Don’ts

Here are some cat litter box tips to create the best possible experience for your cat (and you). (If there’s an issue you need to troubleshoot, learn the possible reasons why your cat isn’t using the litter box.) 

Do

  • Scoop waste daily. Cats prefer a clean area to do their business. So if you’re using clumping litter, scoop and toss clumps every day.
  • Clean litter boxes regularly. Wash the litter box monthly with water and a mild detergent and refill with fresh litter.
  • Refill the litter box with fresh litter. For clumping litter, fill about three to four inches deep. This ensures enough litter will cover their waste (if they prefer to do so) and allows enough depth to form tight clumps. (Non-clumping litter should be filled to about two to three inches).
  • Provide enough boxes. Each cat should have their own box, plus one. (So, one cat = two boxes. Two cats = three boxes.)       

Don't

  • Flush litter clumps down the toilet. Your house plumbing is not made for cat litter. Also avoid emptying the litter box in the garden (it could attract flies or other cats).
  • Use cleaning products with ammonia. These can irritate your cat.
  • Neglect the boxes. Cats like clean. If a box isn’t tended to, your cat may avoid it, resulting in more “accidents” outside the litter box.
  • Place the boxes in undesirable areas. Undesirable can mean a few different things: too small, too hard to get to, or too close to their food—just to name a few. General rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t want to do your business there, neither does your cat.  

Cat Litter Tips

If you’re looking for cat litter tips, there are a few topics to consider. 

Clumping vs. Non-Clumping Litter

The two types of litter are clumping and non-clumping. Clumping is generally easier to scoop out of the box because it can easily be formed into a solid mass. Non-clumping litter can retain odor well but may be harder to clean.   

Scented vs. Unscented Litter 

Scented litter is designed to mask the smell of waste, while unscented simply means the litter is odorless. Again, this is personal preference but keep in mind many cats are sensitive to smell.  

Make Space for Diggers

Many cats like to dig. Two to three inches for non-clumping and three to four inches for clumping litter in the box should provide enough space for them to have fun. 

How to Switch Cat Litter

Cats are sensitive to changes in their environment. If you’re wondering how to switch cat litter, do it gradually rather than all at once. Otherwise, it might stress out your pet and cause them to reject the box. 

Begin by replacing about one-third of the box’s old litter with the new litter. Then increase the new litter over time so your cat can get used to it. 

Tips for Litter-Training Kittens 

If you’re litter-training a kitten for the first time, start by providing enough litter boxes and adding an appropriate amount of litter.   

Show them the box or gently put them inside. When they figure out how to use it, reward with praise and treats (but avoid punishing them for accidents). 

Learn more about how to litter train a kitten.  

Remember, if you have questions or want more cat litter box tips, you can always ask your veterinarian for guidance. 

You can also find additional insight on cat training and other topics from our experts on our Pet Expertise page. 

Related articles

Cat on the litter
A cat may stop burying poop for several different reasons. Learn why cats stop burying waste and find more litter box tips & advice here.
Cat scratching litter box
solutionstrackinglitter
Petivity litter monitor - cat in litter box

Unlock Cat Health Insights with Petivity

The Smart Litter Box Monitor tracks your cat’s litter box behavior & weight—and alerts you when changes could require a vet visit.