Keeping the litter box and litter liners clean goes a long way toward seeing your cat happy and healthy.
Dirty litter boxes can lead to serious feline health problems. Two illnesses in particular plague cats that have to do their business in an unscooped, unwashed box.
The first is called Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD), which causes pain and difficulty with urination in cats. Animals with FLUTD may experience blood in their urine, and many sufferers will urinate on a cool, smooth surface (i.e. your kitchen floor) to alleviate the burning sensation.
The other feline ailment associated with a dirty litter box can actually kill a cat. Called Feline Urethral Obstruction (FUO), this disease affects between 1.5% and 9% of cats that show up for veterinary care. Treatment requires days of hospitalization at significant expense to the cat's human family. Almost half of sufferers experience a second bout of the disease. The most likely cats to suffer from FUO? Middle-aged males who live inside.
Both FLUTD and FUO require veterinary care, and both diminish a cat's sense of well-being.
Not only can a dirty litter box cause a cat to get sick, but it can also affect a human's quality of life. People can contract diseases such as salmonella, cat scratch disease, fungal infections, and toxoplasmosis. Even if you don't get sick from an unscooped, unsanitary box, the clumps of urine and feces can still make your house smell unpleasant.
Some people believe the answer to a dirty litter box lies in more air freshener plug-ins. It doesn't. The secret sauce combines a solid cleaning schedule, the right odor control tools, and top-shelf, heavy-duty litter box liners.
You'll want to scoop the box regularly. Ideally, cat parents use the scoop right after their pet has done his business. That's not always possible, so just make sure you dig out any deposits your cat has made at least twice a day.
Cats typically urinate 2-4 times in a 24-hour period, so if you let things go too long, life could get messy. Throughout the week, the litter line may dip a little low in the box. Just scoop in some fresh litter to replace what you've lost so your cat has plenty of space to go.
Each week, you'll need to wash out your box. With a Modkat, that's an easy chore because our bacteria-resistant plastic scrubs up easily. First, dump out the used litter. Be sure to use a garbage bag, not the toilet, for your used litter. Then, apply a bit of warm water, some dish soap, and a touch of elbow grease to set things right. You can use vinegar instead of dish soap if you prefer, but be sure to avoid washing out the litter box with bleach. The ammonia in cat urine will react with the bleach.
Refill the box with at least 3-4 inches of fresh litter. A good clumping clay litter or an ecologically friendlier option such as newspaper pellets will work. Remember that pregnant women should not clean or scoop a litter box due to the risk of contracting toxoplasmosis.
Tips for controlling litter box odors.
A cat's olfactory sense operates at 14 times the sensitivityof a human's. So to a pet cat, even a slightly stinky box can start to smell like an abandoned public restroom pretty quickly. Cats will avoid using a litter box that stinks.
So you may need to go beyond a basic washing routine to help control odors. Be sure to avoid scented litters, plug-ins, sprays, or other artificial scents, though. These can annoy cats, activate allergies, and drive pets away from using the litter box.
You can, however, either add a scoop of baking soda or use a Modkat Odor Filter Kit to help keep litter box smells under control. If you use baking soda, sprinkle some over the entire litter box bottom, add the fresh litter, then toss more soda on top of that. Baking soda provides a cat-friendly and environmentally-friendly option, but it may not prove strong enough to keep at bay the lingering whiff of cat urine.
The Modkat filter kit, also healthy for cats and the planet, can tackle those tougher odors. This kit uses bamboo charcoal filters to help remove moisture and odor while also preventing mildew, mold, and bacteria. You can reuse each filter for up to three months, and recharge them in the sun.
In addition to cleaning and deodorizing, we recommend using litter liners. Some people opt for cheap litter box liners such as newspaper or tinfoil. Most cats do not like these, however, and they can trap urine between the liner and the box.
Litter box liners make cleaning out the entire litter box and disposing of old litter a breeze. If you use a liner, you don't have to dig out the used litter one scoop-full at a time. In fact, you don't have to go up to your elbows in cat litter at all.
With a tough litter box liner, you can just pull on some gloves, grab the top of the liner, carry it to the trash, empty it, and slip it back in the box. Just by using a liner, you may even erase most of the time you spend cleaning litter boxes now.
Another benefit of using a litter box liner is, you won't have to scrub your litter box clean as often. The liner prevents urine from standing in any scratches or scrapes on the plastic where it might soak into the material itself. Sure, you'll still have to wash the box out with dish soap and warm water at least once a week, but old-fashioned scrubbing can soon become a thing of the past.
Liners also prevent kitty from scratching the hard plastic shell. Many cats scratch industriously as prologue to their bathroom business. Using a thin or soft liner won't help because the cat can scratch right through flimsy material. However, a strong liner can keep your cat from damaging the box while going to the bathroom.
Bottom line? Durable, rip-resistant liners help keep the litter box hygienic for you and your cat.
Types of cat litter box liners.
Litter box liners come in several varieties — traditional and sifting, scented and unscented, and disposable and reusable. Which option makes the perfect litter box liner for your cat?
Traditional litter box liners are made out of a thin layer of plastic. They feature a drawstring, much like a trash bag, and a large rubber band holds them onto the box. Some of these liners have elastic built-in, and they generally last about one week.
Sifting liners actually form a two-liner system. The top liner has holes punched in it while the bottom liner does not. Using this system, a cat's human parent can sift out the clean litter and discard the waste that won't fit through the holes. Sifting liners need daily replacement.
Some liners come in scented varieties. While these scents may smell heavenly to a human, most cats dislike any odor that doesn't pass the natural sniff testl. Putting anything scented into or near a cat litter box can drive your cat far away from the bathroom you so lovingly fixed for him.
Most litter liners need to go into the trash after a day or a week. Modkat's rip-resistant, reusable liners, however, shouldn't require replacing for at least three months. Maybe more!
Sizes of litter box liners.
Liners come in many shapes and sizes. You can buy them for a square litter box, a spacious litter box, or a small-size litter box.
Liners for a small litter box. Liners for a small litter box should cover an area around 16 x 12 inches. None of Modkat's litter solutions runs quite this small.
Liners for a large litter box. Large litter box liners often cover a much larger area than small ones do. If you choose to go with a disposable liner, it's best to check the box to determine the size of the liners before spending money. Some companies also sell jumbo or super-jumbo liners.
At Modkat, we tailored our rip-resistant liners to fit flush inside the size boxes we create. We also made them extra tall so nothing would run down between the box wall and the liner. Perhaps best of all, our liners stay hidden so your house can retain that sleek, elegant look you love.
How to clean Modkat reusable litter box liners.
Bought brand new, our litter box liners last about three months. We sell them in packs of three so you can pick up almost a year's worth of liners in a single order. Here's how to keep the liners clean and fresh as long as possible:
If you see residue on the liner, wipe it with a little mild dish soap and water. For a more thorough cleaning, submerge the liner in diluted dish soap and water for 15 minutes to let the soap penetrate the seams. Allow 24 hours for the liner to dry sufficiently. To remove stubborn odors use an enzyme cleaner and follow the instructions on the bottle. Do NOT put the liner in the dishwasher, dryer, or washing machine.
To get the most out of your liners, we recommend cleaning them with mild dish soap and water weekly or monthly — yes, you just need to wash your liner at least once a month. Be sure to let the liner dry before putting it back in the box, though, and replace it when it shows signs of fraying, tearing, or excessive odor.
The integrity of the liners depends on how many cats use the litter box, how much litter is used, and how ferociously the cats scratch. Daily scooping and sustaining the litter level at 2-3 inches (5-7.5 cm) will maximize the liners' life.
When gently washed and properly cared for, the best litter box liners can last much longer than thin plastic liners. And remember that liners make life easier for you. But if your cat just isn't a liner kind of pet, don't sweat it. Our seamless boxes and smooth bottoms make scooping and cleaning easier for you anyway.