Are you setting Up Your Litter Box Accessories Wrong?
Let's take a look at the top litter box accessories, which ones you need (and those you don't), and how to care for your pet's litter box.
Top cat litter box accessories.
At Modkat, we like things to be simple, minimal, and modern. We're like cats in that way. So when we talk about setting up a litter box, we don't look for the latest bells and whistles. We just ask what's best for your cat.
What do you absolutely need to set up a litter solution that works?
Every litter box needs a scoop. You're going to be digging into the depths of your litter at least once a day so you want to make sure you get a scoop that does its job. Look for something in hard plastic or maybe metal with an ergonomic design and a strong business end.
Cleanser isn't optional. You're going to be sousing out your litter box every week for as long as your cat lives on this earth. So you might as well use a good cleanser. You don't have to run out and buy something pricey, though, and you certainly shouldn't use bleach or ammonia. Mild, cheap dish detergent will do the trick nicely.
Is a liner necessary? That depends on how much extra work and frustration you want to endure. If you're using a thin plastic liner such as a garbage bag, it might not be essential. But if you invest in a Modkat, our thick, durable liners made out of tarpaulin will save you a lot of trouble when changing your cat's litter. Besides, your box comes with your first liner, and it should last you a solid three months. You can purchase replacements after that.
A cat mat and an odor filter probably aren't 100% necessary, but they sure can help you keep your home looking clean and smelling fresh. A mat serves as your first line of defense to stop litter tracking. And an odor filter, even something as basic as baking soda or charcoal, can help keep your house smelling fresh.
Altogether, these five cat box accessories don't add up to a lot of items or expenses. But some new cat owners still try to hack the system. "Why go to all that trouble of scooping, washing, and deodorizing," they ask, "when you can get a robot to do it for you?"
Why you might want a self-cleaning litter box.
The reasons for buying a self-cleaning litter box are as varied as the cat parents themselves. Some people dread scooping. Others think it will make swapping out the litter easier. A few folks feel like they'll save time. And some people even invest in a self-cleaning litter solution because they want to keep the dog from snapping up the "cat treats" in an open-top box.
Basically, people who buy self-cleaning litter boxes just don't like the idea of being elbow deep in cat business. We can understand that. Nobody except the dog really wants to go nosing around a litter box.
The cold, hard truth of the matter, though, is that cleaning a litter box is part of keeping a pet cat healthy and happy. Self-cleaning litter boxes still have to be cleaned. A liner makes swapping litter easy. You won't save five minutes a week. And a box cover will keep out the dog.
All without scaring the cat or costing you an arm and a leg...
6 reasons you shouldn't get a self-cleaning litter box.
They're expensive. The Litter-Robot 3 Connect, which the NY Times calls "the least bad option," will run you a cool $499, and that's before you buy the upgraded cat litter, the extended warranty, the mat, the liners, or the staircase the company tries to sell you.
They don't work for large cats. Taking care of an extra-large breed such as a Norwegian Forest Cat or a Ragdoll? You might be out of luck with a self-cleaning box. Despite their enormous exterior, the interiors of most of these boxes are too small for a plus-size puss.
They fail to accommodate high pee-ers. Almost all brands of self-cleaning litter boxes use an automatic rake. To make room for the rake, the interior of the box is shorter than the exterior. If your cat likes to shoot for the moon when he pees, he'll miss every time.
They can frighten your pet. The mechanical sounds of a self-cleaning box can startle a fearful feline. Some cats refuse to use these boxes because of the scary sounds.
They malfunction. One of the top complaints from people who purchase self-cleaning litter boxes — they malfunction. Even on the top-shelf varieties, the sensors can get blocked, and then you've got an overflowing mess to tidy up.
They're a pain in the butt to clean. No litter box cleans itself. You still have to empty, wash, and refill a self-cleaning box. Plus, you get to remove clumps and clogs from the rake.
The best automatic litter box.
The best automatic litter box is the one you leave sitting on the shelf at the store where you saw it. If you're determined to give this new device a try, though, the New York Times suggests the Litter-Robot III Open Air. But they don't recommend it.
For the price of a Litter-Robot, you can get a simple box that is easier to clean and has more space for your cat, plus five to seven years' worth of litter. If you prefer something more contemporary, you can always upgrade to the Modkat Flip Litter Box for less money than you’d pay for most automatic designs.
A Modkat, eh? Hey, we didn't say it. The New York Times did!
How to set up a cat for life.
There's more to accessorizing a cat than buying a litter box.
If you think your cat spends all day snoozing in the sun, you might be surprised to find out what he or she is really up to while the humans are away.One study found that cats spent 22% of their time looking out of windows, 12% interacting with other pets, 8% climbing on furniture, and just 6% touring dreamland.
Whether this study is 100% accurate or not, one thing's certain: Cats like having fun. Chasing mice, a laser dot, each other, or their tails adds real meaning to a feline's existence. Our pets also enjoy cuddles, snuggles, naps, and observing the world from high perches.
While cats don't need the same level of personal attention that dogs do, our feline friends do require plenty of activities to stay alert and active.
Other accessories for cats.
A cat can't live with a litter box alone no matter how many accoutrements you attach to it. To live happy, healthy lives, your cat needs a few special items along with his litter accessories:
A scratcher. Cats scratch to relieve stress, manage their nails, strengthen their backs, and leave their scent on objects around them. If you don't provide them with a satisfying scratcher, they'll turn your sofa, chair, or favorite upholstered furnishing into a scratching post.
Toys. Most cats love playthings. You can go with something basic such as an empty box or a ping pong ball. Or you can invest in a puzzle ball, a feather on a string, or the Trixie Fun Board Strategy Game. Some cats enjoy high-tech fun with special apps on the iPad, which is also kinda cool. (Show me the dog that can do that!)
Dishes. Your cat will need something to eat and drink out of. Stainless steel bowls make a great choice because they're safe for cats and mostly unbreakable. You can also try a pretty ceramic dish provided you choose one with a lead-free glaze.
Hiding places. Cats are prey in the wild, so periodically, even the most extraverted kitty will need to go to an out-of-the-way spot for a while to feel secure. Make sure your cat has at least one or two safe hiding places within easy reach. If you have more than one cat, you'll want to make sure enough cat caves exist for everybody.
Proper care and maintenance of your cat's litter box.
Whatever litter box you choose, you'll need to set it up properly and then take care of it to maximize the value of your investment. Cleaning a litter box isn't as hard — or as yucky — as it sounds. Set yourself a schedule, and stick to it. Be sure to include the following:
Scoop it. Scoop your litter box every time your cat makes a visit. If you can't get to it right away, just make scooping a daily habit.
Fill it. Litter boxes get low during the week. If you notice your cat has less than two inches of litter between his tush and the tray, dump in a few more pellets. You don't want to go over three inches, though, or you might run into some other troubles.
Wash it. Washing is crucial to both cat health and home hygiene. You'll want to wash your cat's litter box once a week. You can go with warm water and a rag or squirt a dab of mild dish soap on there.
Deodorize it. You don't want to use anything with an artificial, chemical smell such as scented litter, potpourri, or plug-ins. Instead, try mixing a little baking soda in the litter box and/or investing in a charcoal odor absorber.
Put it in the right place. Make sure your cat's litter box sits in a quiet, accessible location. Not the basement, the laundry room, or anywhere the door might accidentally get shut. Often, a closet, bedroom, or corner of the living room works well. Also, make sure not to line up the litter boxes if you have multiple cats. Sometimes one cat will prevent another from getting a shot at either john.
Invest in all the boxes you need. Your house needs one litter box for each cat plus one extra. If you have a multi-story home, you'll want to make sure to put at least one litter box on each floor of your residence.
With regular care and the right kitty litter accessories, your cat's litter box can be a safe haven to do business in. You don't need an expensive, technologically advanced box. A clean, modern solution that looks great in your living, eliminates litter scatter, and contains odors should keep both you and your cat enjoying life.