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Litter Levels

Excerpt from Cat vs. Cat by Pam Johnson-Bennett

When you go from one cat to two or more, your days of buying small, easy-to carry boxes or bags of litter are over. You have probably now entered into the world of the warehouse club shopper or at least learned which stores carry the super-duper jumbo-sized containers of litter. There are two things a cat owner never wants to run out of: food and litter.

The second half of establishing a good scooping/sifting schedule is maintaining a consistent litter level. Depending upon how much a particular box gets used, you’ll have to top off the remaining litter with a fresh supply. In general, you’ll probably have to do this every couple of days. One thing I often see on house calls is an insufficient amount of litter in the boxes. Although you have five or six boxes to maintain, this isn’t the time to skimp on litter levels. There should always be enough litter in the box for at least three visits. If some of your cats are very enthusiastic litter scratchers, ensure that there’s a little extra in the boxes they tend to frequent. When you go to check the box, you don’t want to see a pile of litter on one side and the bottom of the box on the other. This can set you up for a litter box aversion problem. Even if some of you cats don’t mind the low litter level, it’ll mean a smelly box as the urine just sits unabsorbed in the box. On the other hand, don’t fill the box to the brim with litter because that’s a waste. It makes it harder to scoop, there’s more of a chance of litter scatter, and some cats may object to having to perch on mountains of litter.

For more advice on living in a multi-cat household, purchase Cat vs. Cat from

Comments (1)

Your comments are in line with what we have been doing... the depth that works for our cats (3) is about 2 1/2 to 3 inches of clumping style litter. When cleaning (daily) we shake the box first several times. That brings clumps to the surface and makes it easier to remove them intact. Shake again and tilting exposes more. This reduces breaking up the litter; a problem that means more work and making major box redo's more frequent. Liners are used and the trigger for a redo is a lot of claw holes in the plastic lining. Also N+1 is a good solution for the number of boxes where N is the number of cats! The result has been 30 years of cat care and almost zero litter box problems.

Posted by: Mary | September 26, 2016 10:19 AM    Report this comment

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