Getting your cat to soil in the litter box and not go around peeing on your carpet is every cat owner’s nightmare. But, do you know what’s worse? Having to go change that litter so often! “How often should I change clumping cat litter?” You ask.
The short answer is that you should scoop the box daily and change it every two weeks to a month, depending on factors like the litter’s type, the number of cats, and their health condition.
I’ve experienced a handful of cat litter options from regular clay to non-clumping pines and clumping bentonite. I’d confidently say that clumping cat litter is the best option for you and your cat.
In this article, I’ll be diving into the details of how often you should change clumping cat litter, how to do it in steps, and what happens if you don’t commit to it.
How often do you need to change clumping cat litter?
The whole idea of clumping litter is that it allows you to separate waste from clear litter, thus, having a clean litter box at all times. According to that, you should scoop the box once a day so that your cat doesn’t get repulsed by it if it finds waste still there the next time it soils.
Using a litter scoop, you can clear your cat’s clumping litter in a matter of minutes. All you need to do is follow these steps.
I highly recommend you wear gloves while doing so to prevent contact with bacteria this litter be might carrying.
- Use the scoop to dig into the litter and take a scoop of the soil that your cat has dug into.
- Shake the scoop over the litter box so that clear litter will fall off and the clumps will stay in the scoop.
- Empty the scoop into a plastic bag that you’ll be disposing of in a minute.
- Repeat the previous steps to make sure there are no more clumps.
- Once you find that all the litter passes the scoop, that’s your cue; the cat litter is now clean.
- Dispose of the sealed plastic bag.
- Clean your scoop using soap and water and leave it to dry.
When it comes to the whole box itself, you can change it every two to three weeks, or in some cases, once a month. You might need to do it more frequently if more than one cat uses it. However, we don’t recommend that. It’s better to have multiple litter boxes in this case so that each cat uses a clean box by itself.
Remember that it all boils down to your observation skills when it comes to when to change clumping litter. One of the primary advantages of clumping litter is that it’s odorless. By clumping feces and urine, it suppresses their odor, so if you can smell the litter, then it’s definitely time to change.
You can also know it by checking the litter itself. If there are more clumps that clean litter, then it’s time for fresh litter.
Finally, the last factor that affects the frequency of emptying your litter box is your cat’s health condition and output. Big cats can have bigger output (in terms of size and volume) in the litter box, so you’ll need more frequent changes. It all depends on your cat at the end.
The process is straightforward. You empty the box and give it a good wash before replacing litter.
There are two ways to go here; you can either carry the litter box and dump its components in a large trash can or you can cover the edges of the box with a trash bag and tilt it till it’s empty of all litter.
The next step is to use the scoop to get any stuck litter or residue. Then, use soap and water to give the box a thorough wash. Stay away from chemical cleaners as cats are sensitive to their smells, and they might abandon the litter box altogether when they get a hint of bleach or ammonia.
Leave the box to dry for a few minutes. Make sure you dry it well using a paper towel. Then, add the fresh litter.
[Related Article: 5 Best Cat Litter Box For Messy Cats & Buying Guide]
You probably know that there are two types of cat litter; clumping and non-clumping.
Since cats soil in a pretty messy way, choosing a convenient litter type is essential especially that they might throw some litter outside the box, which is a nightmare for every cat owner!
Here’s when clumping litter comes in handy, where your cat’s waste clumps together, forming lumps that you can easily remove from the box.
This way, the particles soaked in urine clump together, making it easy for you to distinguish them from clean particles, and scoop the box afterward unlike non-clumping litter where it’s impossible to separate waste from clean particles.
The genius of clumping litter is that it allows you to keep the litter box clean at all times, which is essential to cats that like to toilet in a clean place, so once they detect urine’s presence or odor, they might not use the litter box at all. You know what this means for you!
Clay is the most popular choice for cat owners because of its versatility and affordability; you can find clay litter in fine clay particles or large clay chunks, scented or odorless, everything!
There’s clumping and non-clumping clay litter for cats. The cluming clay litter is usually made of bentonite, which has the ability to absorb liquid, and thus it absorbs urine and forms clumps.
Rule of paw is that you change your clay clumping litter twice a week. Lucky for you, bentonite increases in weight and volume when it absorbs liquids, so you’ll realize that your cat’s litter need a change even if you forget it.
The downside to clay clumping litter is that it’s non-biodegradable and it provides a whole lot of waste to the environment. They do liken it to toilet paper and the resemblance is uncanny!
You probably know silica crystals like the ones that come in small packages with your new shoes or bag to remove bad odour, and that’s pretty much what they are.
Silica-based litter is made of sodium silicate sand which prevents humidity through absorbing liquids efficiently. It also prevents bad odour. You can see why it acts as a perfect cat litter.
When it comes to classification, silica litter doesn’t strictly belong to either categories; clumping and non-climping litter. While it does absorb urine, it doesn’t form actual clumps.
The competitive edge of silica-based cat litter is that crystals can absorb liquid up to 40% of their weight, which is a huge amount. This means less frequent litter replacement, which is every cat owner’s dream.
Besides, most silica-based litter changes color when it absorbs liquid, so basically the litter tells you when it’s time to change it. Genius!
All this comes at a price of course, silica-based litter is more expensive than both clumping and non-clumping litter. Needless to say, it’s not environmentally friendly at all.
Although cleaning your cat’s litter box is arguably the worst aspect of having a cat, it’s essential, as exposing your cat to dirty litter is dangerous to both you and your cat.
Cats are super picky and sometimes overbearing for a reason; they’re protecting themselves. Your cat will avoid a dirty or badly odored litter box at all costs, not only because it doesn’t like it, but because it puts it at the risk of developing urinary tract infections and bladder issues.
Nothing major, though, but you don’t want to put your cat in such a situation because you forgot to clear its litter. Do you?
Toxoplasmosis is an infection considered to be the leading cause of death from a foodborne illness. In most cases, the patient carries the parasite but doesn’t show symptoms, thanks to their immune systems.[Source]
However, pregnant women are vulnerable to Toxoplasmosis and might experience flu-like symptoms or even miscarriages.
Cats harbor the Toxoplasmosis parasite and excrete it in their feces. If you come in contact with these feces, you’re prone to infection with Toxoplasmosis.
CDS or Cat Scratch Fever is a disease only transmitted through direct contact with dirty cat litter. In some cases, patients are required to spend some time in the hospital until they recover. So, this is no joke.[Source]
Salmonella is another nasty disease that you get from eating uncooked meat or when you’re in direct contact with animal feces, something you can easily develop when you’re in contact with dirty cat litter. Symptoms include nausea, stomachache, and diarrhea.
Scooping your cat’s clumping litter daily is unquestionable. You can do it every other day at most if it suits you. As for the whole litter box, I’d say changing it every two weeks would be optimal.
I know it’s a silly chore, but it’s a small price we pay for having our little feline friends around!