How Often Should You Scoop a Cat's Litter Box?

Posted on 05 Jun 2016 18:44 by EricT


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IRIS High-Sided Litter Box with Shield and Scoop

Nice high sides for plenty of litter without it going everywhere, plus shields to help keep litter in an contain urine spray.

So you've been scooping your cat's litter box every couple of days? And it's a stinky mess? And, what's more, it's a royal pain in the butt? You've already discovered, then, that once every couple of days is not enough.

There really is not a limit to how often you can and should scoop a cat's litter box. But, you must at LEAST scoop it once a day. If you have more than one cat and they are sharing a single litter box (you probably should have two litter boxes), you will of course have to scoop more.

Ideally, though you should be scooping the kitty litter box twice a day or more. The cleaner your cat's litter box is the more he or she will appreciate it. Your cat does like to associate their scent with their own litter box. This is one reason why heavy odor-control products may be problematic for some cats, as they mask your cat's own odor, as well as being off-putting and irritating to a feline's sensitive nose. However, your cat does not need poop and pee hanging around to smell their remnant scent. You do not like to walk through a poop and pee mine-field to go use the toilet, do you? Your cat probably doesn't like it much either. Many cat litter box behavior problems are solved by frequent scooping! Or, in the case of non-clumping litter, frequent cleaning.

The more often you scoop the litter box, the easier it will be. While at first scooping more often may seem like an added chore, you'll quickly find it is better than the big mess you end up with when you don't scoop often enough.

The problem is that even the best clumping litter can only hold so much moisture. Once it becomes over-saturated, it is not able to clump into a hard mass and begins falling apart. Your cat, trying to make room for more, ends up having to push around clumps of pee and poop. As they do so, some of the clumps may come apart. As well, your cat may end up peeing in the same spot, causing a huge mass of clumped litter that is too saturated to hold together. Along your come to (finally) scoop out the box, and you have a gigantic mess of semi-clumped litter that falls apart as you try to scoop it out, leaving little bits of urine-soaked litter behind.

The more often you scoop, the easier it is, and the more clean your litter box stays. Meaning you will not have to change out the litter nearly as often. This of course, leads to the question of how often to change the litter.

If you use clumping litter and are diligent in scooping it as often as possible, even up to several times a day, you will find that you do not have to change the litter out as often. How often depends on the number of cats you have, and the number of litter boxes. Assuming you do use clumpable litter (especially hard-clumping multi-cat litter), and you scoop often, twice a day or more, you will probably need to change it about once per month. If it smells excessively, or there are little clumps, or the litter is moisture-laden, you need to change it more often. Empty out the old litter and wash out the litter box with warm water and detergent, or white vinegar.

See also How Much Litter Do You Need in A Cat's Litter Box?

Cat Litter Scooping Tips

In order to scoop your cat's litter box more often, and make it a habit, you will need to make it as convenient as possible. The more trouble it is, the less likely you are to do it. Having to find a little baggie, scoop the litter into it, and then take the bag to the trash (where it will likely smell up the house) is probably not going to work.


What you need is some kind of tight sealing container, about the size of a small garbage can, lined with a plastic garbage bag or strong plastic grocery or other shopping bag. Old tins that used to contain popcorn, cookies, etc. can actually work for this. Line the tin with the plastic bag and put the edges of the bag up over the rim of the container. When you put the lid on, the plastic from the bag will help make a tight seal, holding in odor. Now, while you may not want to use odor control products in your litter box, a handy container of litter odor-control can be handy for controlling odor from your scooped litter container, if the seal isn't perfect. After you scoop litter into the bag, sprinkle a bit of the odor-control powder on top, then put the lid on. Remember that any large enough container with a tight-fitting lid will work.

Every time you scoop, just scoop into the bag lined container and seal when done. When the bag is full-enough (you'll have to be the judge of this), tie up the top of the bag and throw it away. Trash collection day is the best day for this, so if you can make a habit of throwing away the bag on trash day each week, you won't have old stinky bag of used litter hanging around in any trash containers.

A product that can help and is specifically made to contain scooped litter, plus control the associated odors, is the Litter Genie Cat Litter Disposal System.

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