First, let’s cover the basics. You should have a box for each cat plus one extra box if you have more than 2 cats. This is not a suggestion. Here are the rules about litter boxes- they need to be large, open boxes in places that allow your cats to get in and out without being cornered or antagonized by other cats. If your cat cannot turn around in the box, it is not big enough. The litter needs to be easy to dig around in and totally unscented (very important). I know this seems obvious, but cleaning the box daily is absolutely essential- really, who would not flush their toilet?
Look at the box locations from your cat’s perspective- is it in a private location but still easy to jump in and out of without the fear of being cornered or intimidated? If you have older cats, do you have a box close to where they like to spend most of their time during the day or night so running across the house to use the box is not an issue? I also assume that you do not have the food or water anywhere near the box as this is intolerable for a cat to have his food and bathroom close together- frankly, I would not like that either!
If you have a cat that urinates standing up and tends to pee over the box then go to Walmart and buy a Sterilite container with high sides and cut down one end and use it as a litter box so your cat has a tall side to pee up against. Likewise for a cat that likes to “dig to China”- a box with high sides is a must!
Using the correct litter is probably the most important decision that you will make. Unscented clumping litter works great and is easy to work with. Scoop the balls of urine along with the poop every day. Add more litter as needed and once a month, dump it out, wash the box with soap and water, dry and fill and everyone is set to go. Don’t make the mistake of using bleach, ammonia or any strongly scented soap to wash out the box. Remember that cats have 100x more capacity to pick up odors than we do so keep that in mind with your litter box.
If you have a cat that is avoiding the box, try Cat Attract Litter or the Cat Attract additive for litter. Box avoidance is usually because they think the litter is causing them pain maybe because when they go to pee in the box, it is painful because of a urinary tract infection or bladder infection. You will know this is the case because your cat will be jumping in and out of the box and/or peeing on your bed or bath mat or entry rug or somewhere that you cannot miss. They are trying to tell you that they are not well. It is the only way they can communicate to us. If this happens, take them to your veterinarian right away. Of course, behavior issues is a subject for another blog for sure!