Every sane person loves to cuddle a cat, but I doubt the equally sane person would actually willingly, happily, voluntarily loves to clean out a cat litter box. But clean we must, for the health of our beloved cats as well as for the health of the cohabiting humans.
Cat feces are known to contain numerous pathogens that are harmful to humans. Among them, Bartonella henselae bacteria which causes cat-scratch disease and Toxoplasma gondii parasite which causes toxoplasmosis. Pregnant women are advised not to handle cat waste if possible as these pathogens may harm the development of fetuses and the health of the mothers.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) 2012 pet ownership statistic, thirty percent of American households own cats, averaging 2.1 cats per household, translating to more than 74 million cats living closely with us. That also means there are lots of cat litter to clear every single day across America.
In fact, cat litter clearing is such a headache to some cat owners that a wide range of litter box designs has sprung out, ranging from the old fashion open tray, disposable, to a self-cleaning litter box and everything in between. Some clever owners have even taught their equally clever cats to use the toilet and flushing after use.
Our feline friends are fastidious in nature. Each cat prefers its own litter box and the litter box cleaned and changed on regular basis. Failure to do so, the cat will likely choose to do its business where you do not want them to be. You have been warned, so don’t get mad.
If you have a basic tray type litter box, use a scooper to gather the waste and remove them from the litter at least once a day. Once a week, throw out the soiled litter, thoroughly wash the box with detergent and water, dried, and refill with fresh litter to about 2-3 inches high. Waste and soiled litter need to go into a wide-mouth trash bag immediately and into the outdoor waste receptacle when removing from tray to minimize flying litter dust. Avoid cleaning the kitty’s litter box in the kitchen at all cost, instead, do it either outdoor, in the bathtub, or in the laundry room. You might want to consider wearing mask and gloves if you are unwell or prone to catching whatever flu bugs flying around. Don’t forget to wash your hands thoroughly after handling the raking or cleaning.
If you are allergic to litter box cleaning or simply too occupied with other things in life, there are various self-cleaning litter box designs that you may consider investing. The well-designed litter boxes allow you weeks of litter-free experience. One of the better designs I have seen is a self cleaning litter box with disposable box, prefilled with crystalline material. When your cat uses the litter box, the crystals immediately absorb moisture and odor and begin to dehydrate solids. Some minutes later, a rake automatically sweeps the waste into a covered compartment, leaving the litter near soiled-less and fresh. You may not even need to replace the disposable litter tray for half a month or so. Nearly hands-off convenience and excellent odor control. I want one too.
The ultimate bliss is probably when your cat uses the toilet just as you do. It is possible to train your cat to use the toilet seat. Yes, it requires time, patience and the correct tools but think about the time and cost saving a couple of months down the road!
During the toilet training period, you will be shaping your cat behavior and slowly progressing it to use the toilet. Training starts by placing a training seat on your toilet bowl filled with a sufficient amount of litter. After your cat has adapted, you will cut a small hole in the center of the training seat and slowly make the hole larger and larger until it’s completely open. When this is complete your cat will have completely adapted to using the toilet and you will no longer need the training seat. You may even train your cat to flush after use. Based on your toilet flushing mechanism, you can put a toy or catnip on a flat top press button to encourage them to press on the button. If you have a lever type of flushing mechanism, you may need to tie a string between the lever to something nearby so that your cat can pull on the string to trigger flushing.
When all done and successful, you can really sit back with a cuppa with your cat on your lap and a book in your hands. What a bliss! It may take months before your cat is totally adjusted to using the toilet, but the reward will soon get you to forget about the pain and the numerous accidents. Just be patient and back off a little if your cat becomes reluctant or confused.
We love our kitties, don’t we?