Litter Box 101: A New Cat Owner’s Guide

It's official! You’ve recently become a proud cat owner. As you know, there are a number of supplies you’ll need to take care of your new furry friend (not the least of which is a vacuum cleaner). One of the most important items you’ll need is a litter box. A litter box is where your cat goes to the bathroom. 

Unlike dogs, cats don’t spend much time outdoors. Therefore, they need an indoor space to get rid of their waste. Many new cat owners are either unaware or nonchalant about the importance of a quality litter box. This is a beginner’s guide to choosing the perfect place for your cat to use the bathroom. 

What if you had to go through a series of obstacles to use the bathroom? Chances are, you wouldn’t be too thrilled when the time came. The same applies to your cat. Choosing a litter box is relatively similar to designing a bathroom for yourself.


For instance, how difficult would it be for you to use a bathroom that was too small? When purchasing a litter box for your cat, take their size into consideration. Find one with enough space to comfortably use the bathroom and still has room to spare.

Litter Box

If your cat sprays or kicks litter, you’ll want to invest in a box with higher walls. Also, make sure they can still get in and out comfortably.

Covered vs. Uncovered 

As for the covered versus uncovered debate, it all depends on your cat’s preference. If possible, bring them box shopping and allow them to test drive both models. If you choose a covered model, make sure they have more than enough space to go in and out. Otherwise, they have a greater chance of developing arthritis and asthma.

Manual or Self-Cleaning 

Although it may be tempting to invest in a self-cleaning litter box, you may regret it. Your cat may get scared of the automatic feature, making it less likely they’ll even use it. Not to mention they require a specific, often expensive, litter. 

Manually scooping may be inconvenient and gross; however, it provides insight into a number of things. For instance, it allows you to notice any changes in your cat’s bowel movements or urine related to underlying health problems.


You’ll likely need more than one litter box, even if you only have one cat. More litter boxes reduce the chances of an accident. Many cat owners mistake having less than enough litter boxes for their cat having potty problems, leading to expensive vet bills or even giving them to a shelter. 

When it comes to choosing the right amount of litter boxes, use the “n+1” rule. This rule suggests buying one more litter box than the number of cats you have.

How to Pick the Right Kitty Litter 

The type of litter you use can also make or break the success of the box. Each type has its pros and cons. For instance, clay litter may be the most popular because it eliminates odor and clumps well, but it leaves your home dusty and isn’t biodegradable. Other types include crystal, sand, paper, and pine. Of all the types of kitty litter, pine is arguably one of the best choices. 

Pine litter is dust-free and absorbs odors very well. This makes it easier to quickly clean the box and keep allergies at bay. When your cat uses the bathroom, pine litter quickly absorbs the urine scent, replacing it with a fresh pine aroma. While it’s a bit pricier, pine litter saves money because it’s biodegradable, and its odor-eating ability requires fewer changes. 

As a cat parent, your little one deserves the best. While going to the bathroom may seem like a minor detail, the quality of their litter box contributes to their quality of life. Therefore, make an honest effort in choosing the perfect box. 

One of the best ways to choose the perfect litter box is to bring your cat. Let them test out a number of boxes and buy the one they respond to best. This way, you can spend more quality time with your furry friend. 

If problems with pooping or urination occur, be sure to contact a vet immediately. 

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