Litter Box Etiquette — As Explained by Cats

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Everybody poops. Like us humans, cats prefer a clean, quiet place to do their business, and we can provide the litter loo experience of their dreams if they could give us a little direction. With that in mind, here are eight key litter box etiquette commandments as explained by cats.

Photo: Lightspruch | Getty Images

Thou shalt not skimp on box size
We like a big box, and we cannot lie. Experts say the litter box should be 1½ times as long as the cat. Many commercial boxes are way too small, especially for large breeds and those who are a little, um, chunky. An easy alternative is a storage container. Either cut an opening in one of the sides of a high-sided one, or grab one of those under-the-bed containers that’s long and short-sided. And while you’re at it, we’d love an extra empty container, just for play.

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Thou shalt not provide limited choices
Listen, the general rule is “one box per cat and then an extra one.” Not all of us like to share a litter box, you see; however, even if we were into that sort of thing, it’s nice to have variety. What if one of the two boxes is occupied? Or what if they offer two completely different views? On Monday, we may desire a relaxing garden view, while on Tuesday, we perhaps want to gaze at the birdbath while we take care of “business.” Variety is the spice of life, after all.

Related: 6 Common Litter Box Issues — and How to Fix Them

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Thou shalt not gawk
Caring is not staring. We don’t stare at you while you use the bathroom. Oh, wait.

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Thou shalt not maintain dirty digs
Like most, we enjoy a clean bathroom. This means we’d appreciate a nice dump-wash-refill of litter at least every couple of weeks. Clean the box with warm water and soap — no need for anything fancy. Please note: We may try and use the litter box the second we hear the fresh litter being added. Do not try to stop us — we know what we’re doing, and you are not fluent in cat logic.

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Thou shalt not place a litter box in Rowdy Town
We are sensitive, and trying to use the litter box next to something loud or jarring can be scary! So scary that we avoid the box altogether! Please don’t place our boxes beside loud furnaces, washing machines, music speakers or anything else that creates less than a relaxing litter box
experience. Give us a little Zen, people.

Thou shalt not produce a litter box scent event
Honestly, we prefer litter without the big, powerful scents. The fancy smells that waft from the box are for your benefit, not ours. If you want to smell like a flower, buy some perfume — we’ll stick with the litter, sans aroma.

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Thou shalt not spare the scoop
What’s the scoop on scooping? Well, we don’t particularly enjoy stepping around clumps when we use our litter boxes. Guess what? Humans can help prevent this annoyance! If our box becomes too clumpy, we may decide to hold in our urine, which can create blockage issues like crystals and urinary debris. This could lead to a life-threatening medical issue like feline urethral obstruction. Let’s just avoid all that, and scoop once or twice a day.

Photo: Seregraff | Getty Image

Thou shalt not “fence us in”
Some of us like to really move around freely in our boxes and poo al fresco. Litter box covers can really cramp the style of free-wheeling cats, making us feel trapped. Speaking of trapped, sometimes litter box covers can trap smells. Would you humans want to use a stinky toilet? We didn’t think so. Thank you.

Read Next: 10 Weird Cat Litter Box Habits

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