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When it comes to litter boxes, and litter box problems, most emphasis is placed on the type of litter, cleanliness of the box, and the box's location. Don't get me wrong, these considerations play a crucial role in your cat's litter box habits. One consideration that often gets overlooked, however, is the size of her litter box.
A common mistake that cat owners make is using the same sized box for a cat's entire life, disregarding the fact that most cats change size and shape quite a bit throughout a lifetime. So, how do you ensure that your cat has the right sized box?
Choosing the right size.
Your cat's litter box should be longer than her (preferably around 1.5 times her length). The box should also give her ample room to turn around and dig. Giving your cat a comfortably sized place to eliminate will greatly decrease the odds of her creating her own bathroom under your kitchen table.
Of course, the length and width aren't the only things to consider when choosing the right size. It's also important to choose a box that your cat can easily get in and out of. For kittens or mobility-challenged cats, choose a box with low sides that can be easily stepped over.
Think outside the (traditional) box.
Part of the reason that many cat owners choose the wrong sized box is that the choices are slim. Many stores only have a few options. If you find that your cat doesn't fit into a one-size-fits-most box, make your own! Clear storage bins make a great (and cheap) alternative to traditional litter boxes. Choose one that is long and approximately 6 inches tall for a box that is spacious and easy to access.
The bottom line is that you want to do what you can to encourage consistent litter box use. By choosing your cat's preferred litter, scooping daily, and placing a correctly-sized box in a private and well-lit area (cats can’t see in absolute darkness), you're well on your way to creating a litter box that your cat can feel good about.
Who is Mieshelle Nagelschneider?
Meet Mieshelle Nagelschneider, ACCBC, a cat behaviorist and author of the science-based cat behavior book, The Cat Whisperer (Random House Publishing). Her passion and curiosity about cats, along with her study in animal behavior, has enabled her to help thousands of cat owners solve their cats' behavior issues for over two decades.
Learn more at The Cat Behavior Clinic, and look for her new book!