A Handy Litter Box Guide For Cat Owners

Chicago Apartments, Litter Box Tips

There’s no avoiding it: If you want a kitty, you’ll need to have a litter box in your apartment. We know, litter boxes are kind of gross, but they’re a small price to pay for the joys of cat companionship. Basic plastic pales are no longer your only option. Nowadays, there’s a wide selection of litter boxes available, so it can be tough to determine which one is right for you and your cat. Don’t fret — our handy litter box guide will answer all of your need-to-know questions, from what type of litter box to buy to how to clean it effectively.

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Litter Box Guide: This covered option is a popular choice.

Litter Box Options

To kick off our litter box guide, we’ll go over your litter box options.

Basic Litter Box: If you’re bringing home a new kitten, a basic uncovered litter box is likely your best option. You’ll want your kitty to get used to using the litter box before upgrading to any fancier options. Of course, if you prefer to keep things simple, you can stick with a basic box. Many basic litter boxes also come with covers that you can leave off until your cat is comfortable. Using the cover over your litter box will help prevent the spread of litter and bad odors around your apartment.

Top-Entry Litter Box: Hooded litter boxes typically have an opening in the front for the cat to enter inside. Top-entry litter boxes feature a covered box or bucket with an opening at the top, so your cat can enter and exit from the top instead of the front or side. There are many benefits to choosing this type of box: they tend to do a better job at keeping odors contained. They also make it harder for cats to spill and track litter everywhere. Not to mention, many styles are more aesthetically pleasing than a standard litter box. We love this option. However, top-entry litter boxes aren’t the best choice for cats who aren’t nimble. If you have an overweight or senior kitty, another option might make them more comfortable.

Automatic Litter Box: If scooping out a litter box isn’t something you want to do every day, consider purchasing an automatic one instead. They’ll do the heavy “duty” work for you — you’ll just need to swap out the litter about once a month. This option here is a relatively affordable, functional choice.

Furniture-Style Litter Box: Some litter boxes now come disguised as furniture, like a nightstand or end table. If you can’t stand the sight of a litter box, one of these may be your best option. We love the look of this one, here.

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Litter Box Guide: This pellet litter is made from natural pine.

Litter Choices

Not all litter is equal. The kind of litter you purchase will depend on a few things. The type of litter box you’re using, the number of cats you have and where you’ll be storing your litter box can all be contributing factors to the style of litter you choose for your kitty. As a general rule, it’s best to go with a litter that’s dust-free, as dust may lead to respiratory issues for your cat. Let’s go over your main litter options:

Pine Litter: Pine litter is all-natural, so it’s good for someone who wants to avoid any synthetic litters. Its strong pine scent can help cover up unwanted odors. Pine litter does work very well, however, it doesn’t clump. That means you’ll have to be extra diligent about replacing it on a regular basis.

Clay Litter: Clay litter comes in both clumping options and non-clumping options. It’s the most basic cat litter you can buy, and it’s also usually the most affordable, especially the non-clumping kind. Clumping clay will make it easy to clean up urination in particular.

Crystal Litter: Crystal litter is made from tiny silica capsules, which are highly absorbent. It’s mostly free of dust, and it lasts longer than other forms of litter. It’s also typically more expensive. If you have an automatic litter box, crystal litter is the one for you. 

chicago apartments, litter box guide

Litter Box Guide: The right location is key.

Where To Put Your Litter Box

When it comes to litter boxes, most of us would prefer they be out of sight (and smell, of course). Bathrooms are a good place to keep a litter box if it’ll fit. If you really can’t stand the smell, consider purchasing a piece of furniture you can store the litter box inside. Here’s one example. Of course, you should consider your cat when deciding where the litter box should go. Be sure not to place it behind any obstacles that make it difficult for your cat to get to it, or you may end up having to deal with some accidents. The most important thing to remember is that if you clean it regularly, your cat’s litter box shouldn’t stink up your apartment no matter where you keep it.

chicago apartments, litter box guide

Litter Box Guide: It’s best to clean your cat’s litter box at least daily.

How To Clean Your Litter Box

And now, for the fun part. Let’s talk about cleaning your cat’s litter box.

To begin, it’s important to clean your cat’s litter box regularly. Cats are naturally clean creatures, and when their litter box is dirty, they aren’t going to want to use it. That means you may have to deal with accidents around your apartment, which isn’t fun for anyone. Avoid this by committing to cleaning the litter box once a day. Here are the steps you’ll need to take daily:

  1. Scoop out waste and dispose of it.
  2. Add some new litter to the box to replace the litter that’s been lost.

And here’s what you’ll need to do about once a month:

  1. Remove litter box liner (if applicable). If you don’t use a liner, you’ll need to dump all of the used litter out into a trash bag. Dispose of it.
  2. Rinse out the bottom of your litter box if it’s dirty. Make sure there isn’t any stray litter accumulating at the bottom.
  3. Replace the liner and/or litter so that it’s clean and fresh for your kitty.
  4. Place the litter box back in its spot.


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