First, you will need Yesterday's News® brand litter, a scoop or strainer, and a shallow litter box. The box should be big enough for your cat to maneuver around inside. We recommend a full-size, easy-to-clean plastic box like the Tidy Cats® brand Litter Box. Usually, commercial boxes are 5" deep, which allows plenty of digging room for the recommended 2-3" of litter.
Multiple cats need multiple litter boxes; preferably one box per cat plus one additional box. Covered boxes are popular because they help keep the litter in the box and hold in odors. Cats like their privacy as well.
Put the litter box in a location that is away from the cat's eating and sleeping area and far from heavy household traffic. Select the spot carefully, as you'll want to move it as little as possible in the future. Check out our usage instructions for more details.
We recommend removing waste areas daily and replacing the litter weekly. Maintain cat box filler at a depth of 2-3" for pawing and covering. However, remember that Yesterday's News is different than clay litter and will absorb urine from the bottom. So, having the litter too deep will make it more difficult to find and remove the soiled litter.
Clean the litter box with warm water and a mild detergent between litter changes. Once a month, disinfect the box with a mild bleach and water solution. (Ammonia-based disinfectants are not recommended because cat urine contains ammonia and your cat may think the box is dirty.) Air dry outdoors if possible. Do not flush. Even flushable litter can harm plumbing. Used litter is not recommended for garden use.
As early as 4 weeks, most kittens feel the urge to dig in material, like Yesterday's News, and will instinctively choose that as the place for elimination. Kittens learn from watching their mother use the litter box so you don't have to train your kitten.
Just, place the litter box in a quiet, confined area and make sure your kitten can easily climb in and out of it at will. You may want to confine your kitten in just one room until you are sure she knows where the litter box is and that she uses it.
Mistakes happen, and the litter box is no exception.
The first thing to review is whether or not the litter box is clean. Poor hygiene is the most common reason that mishaps occur.
If your cat is an overly enthusiastic digger and showering litter outside of the box or eliminating on the edge of the box, you may need a larger litter box. Cats may have individual preferences for certain box depths, hoods or entrances, so you may need to experiment. Some cats are territorial and do not like to share their toilet facilities. So, if you have more than one cat, give them separate litter boxes. Never have more than two cats share the same litter box.
Cats are also very sensitive about their litter habits and changes in their environment. Is there a stressful situation in the home? New people in the house, changes in diet or other routines, the presence of other cats, even moved furniture, can trigger odd behaviors. Take time out to comfort and play with your cat so she will feel more secure.
Rapidly switching litter brands can also cause elimination problems. Make the transitions to new litters and foods gradually, as directed.
If your cat is older, she may be getting forgetful and disoriented or be losing her balance. Be patient and discuss the problem with your veterinarian.
Try to be aware of your cat's habits. If you suspect something's wrong, have your cat examined by a veterinarian. There could be a medical problem. For example, Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD) is a serious condition that can cause pain, burning, and a constant urge to urinate on the spot. Diarrhea may be caused by a number of things, including abrupt diet changes, intestinal parasites, or viruses. If you notice your cat eating litter, there may be an underlying health problem. Always consult your veterinarian right away when you notice a major change in your cat's litter box behavior.
Cats may use urine to mark their territory. This behavior is called spraying. Instead of squatting and urinating in a puddle, the cat will raise its tail and squirt the urine backward toward the object it is trying to mark. Both males and females spray, even if they have been neutered or spayed. Cats may start to exhibit this behavior when they feel their territory is threatened. For instance, some indoor cats may feel threatened and start spraying in the house if an outdoor cat makes its presence known at the window. Use a commercial cleaner to remove the scent as best you can.
Cat urine is visible under UV light, so if you suspect it is there but can't find it, you can use a UV light to mark the spot. Be sure to thoroughly clean soiled areas of carpet with a commercial product designed for that purpose. (Ask your veterinarian or someone at your pet store). If the scent is not eliminated, the cat may return to the scene of the crime and repeat the offense. A clean, strategically placed cat box should prevent this problem. Some cats require privacy, so a box placed in a high-traffic area can lead to trouble.
NOTE: Some cats can be infected with the parasite Toxoplasma and shed infective oocysts (eggs) in their feces. This especially poses a risk to those with suppressed immune systems and pregnant women. Please wash hands thoroughly after handling used litter. For more information on toxoplasmosis, and to have your cat tested for this parasite, contact your doctor.