When Samantha first saw the little fur ball that followed her on the street, she knew that she was going to adopt that kitten no matter how difficult it was going to be.
It was a match made in heaven as she probably saved the cat’s life and she found a life-long friendship. But when she moved from her parent’s house to a small apartment, things got a bit more complicated.
They both had to adapt to the new circumstances and the kitten, which was now a 2 year old beautiful black cat, found the window view and litter box perfect.
Samantha on the other hand, found it tricky because cleaning a litter box meant that she had to know how to do it safely, where to discard the waste and other “job specific” information.
If you are in a similar position, we have you covered. We will tell you everything you need to know about managing a litter box in an apartment.
Before we start, we will tell you one thing: You can do it, no matter how small the apartment is.
All about litter boxes
Before you think about cleaning one, you should think about the box itself.
Different cats have different needs and particularities. Some cats are very picky about how they want their litter box to be, and even if most of them will accept it easily, they might still find it uncomfortable.
One of the mistakes that cat owners make is buying a litter box that is too little for their cat. This leads to having litter around the box and the cat to be forced to use a rather small toilet.
Let’s look at the most important features of a litter box.
This is directly dependent on the size of your cat. If you have a kitten, do consider the fact that it will grow and investing in a larger litter box may be better than choosing a small one.
Ideally, the litter box should be 1,5 times larger than your cat. We know that the human toilet is definitely not 1.5 times larger than an adult, but your cat needs to move around and dig a bit.
Cats are weirdly private. They will lick their intimate parts in public, with no shame, but hate it if you stare when they go to the loo.
However, you obviously can’t have a litter box under the bed, but you can use a covered one if your cat is particularly prude.
A shallow litter box will cause litter to be thrown out of the box. Cats also like to have a bit more litter to dig, so most of them will love higher litter boxes.
However, old cats or those who have medical conditions that don’t allow them to move around with ease might find it difficult to jump over the edge, so they need a more shallow litter box.
Of course, since the litter box will be in your apartment, you should also consider the space that it will occupy, and decide keeping in mind all these factors.
While outside cats enjoy using dirt as their toilet, and they make sure to cover all their tracks, inside cats will use what you offer them.
This doesn’t mean that any type of litter will do. This will have to be proper for both you and your cat, because you will be cleaning the litter, and your cat will dig in it, and its paws need to feel comfortable with it.
There are many choices out there. Most of them are environmentally friendly, with a few coming from recycling materials.
You can choose from:
- Simple dirt or sand;
- Clumping litter – not suited for kittens that may swallow it;
- Silica granules;
- Litter made from nut shells;
- Litter made from byproducts of wood or pape;
- Litter with or without a fragrance.
When Samantha first moved to her new apartment, her cat used clumping litter, but she forgot that she should never flush clumping litter and she did. Needless to say, this caused a serious problem, which was later fixed by a plumber.
After that she completely changed her approach and her cat is now using a litter that we are all familiar with and that we will discuss in a few short moments.
In order for you to decide what litter to use for your cat, you need to run a few tests and see what your cat likes, but you also need to think about the price, the smell (silica for example absorbs most smells) and the way you are going to dispose of it.
Are all these factors really that important?
Most cats will use any litter box because they are clean by nature and have been trained to use it.
But, if a series of factors line up, you could be faced with accidents that translate into your cat not using the litter box and choosing other, hidden, places.
If the granules of the litter are painful for the cat’s paws, it will eventually refuse to use the litter box.
Other reasons for cats fouling that you should consider are:
- The litter box is not clean enough;
- The litter box has a strong odor (chemical or natural);
- The litter box is too small or in an uninviting place;
- Health problems, with a UTI being the most common. If you suspect this, talk to a veterinarian as soon as possible.
How to clean a litter box in an apartment
Cleaning a litter box in an apartment is not difficult at all. You should just pay attention to a few important safety concerns, and make sure that your cat enjoys its litter box.
On a daily basis you will only need to scoop the feces and dispose of them, and turn the litter to help it absorb all the moisture. If you will be using clumping cat litter, you should also remove the clumps.
Depending on the litter type that you chose, you will need to completely replace it from time to time. The frequency depends on the number of cats and the type of food they eat. Those who eat kibble will urinate less frequently, so the litter will have to be changed less often.
Pregnant women who clean litters should always use gloves to do it, and thoroughly wash their hands afterwards.
Cats that have not undergone a deworming program may transmit Toxoplasmosis, a parasite that is relatively harmless to healthy adults, but that can be very problematic for pregnant women.
Where to dispose of the litter?
Some litters are flushable, and most people who live in an apartment prefer this option. Silica litter is most often flushable, but the one made from wood or paper is too.
However, there are concerns that animal litter could pollute waters, especially if the pet is not dewormed. So, it would be best if the litter went in a bag, and in a trashcan, rather than down the drain.
What about Samantha, what cat litter did she use for her cat?
Samantha ended up not using any litter at all. She used a special litter box that goes over the toilet, to train her cat to use the toilet. It took her a few weeks, but in the end she was litter free.
Of course, you can do the same if you have the determination needed. It is definitely a great way to save space in an apartment, by not having a litter box taking up space.