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Things Your Cat Wants You to Know: Litter Pan Etiquette

Things Your Cat Wants You to Know: Litter Pan Etiquette
October 7, 2021

I love my cats, but they are finicky little creatures! Nothing like us or dogs. As we learn more about their behaviors and health we are also learning some of things that stress them out. Stressed kitties are prone to behavior and health problems. It’s a vicious cycle! So we’ve started a ‘Things Your Cat Wants You to Know’ section. Each month we’ll go over a different topic to help decrease the stress in their little feline lives. 

This month we’re starting with Litter Pan etiquette. 

Shiny clean! 

You don’t want a dirty toilet and neither do they. Have you had those dreams where you can’t find a clean bathroom anywhere?

  • Scoop at least two times a day. 
  • Completely clean the box weekly. Avoid strongly perfumed cleaners as cats don’t like strong scents. 

No Stinky Perfumes! 

Use a fine sand or clay litter that clumps. Cats are particular about the texture of their toilet. They are not fans of pine, paper, or wheat.

Keep it unscented. Did I mention cats don’t like scented litter? 

I need room for my booty! 

Your kitty needs room to move around in the pan. Rule of thumb - 1.5 times your cat's length. If you have multiple cats you’ll need to measure your longest cat.

Privacy please! 

  • Nobody wants to be stared at while using the potty. Keep the pan in a quiet but convenient place.
  • Avoid high traffic areas

No waiting! 

  • If you have more than one cat you should have at least 1 pan per kitty in the household plus one.
  • AND they should be in at least 2 different locations. This helps avoid resource guarding. 

To Cover or not to Cover that is the Question!

We as owners often like covers on pans as it hides the mess, helps with smell, and cuts down on the spray of litter and other waste from our lovely felines.

However, this is an individual preference for your cat. Listen to what your kitty has to say. I have 3 cats so I have both open and covered options. 

I’ve found that many cats don’t like the doors on litter boxes either. I just leave mine folded up.

My poor old bones!

It’s estimated up to 90% of kitties over 12 years have radiographic evidence of osteoarthritis.

  • Low lipped litter pan entrance is easier for a senior kitty with arthritis to get into and out of.
  • Locating a litter box that avoids a lot of stairs and is convenient to where the cat lives can also help your senior kitty.
  • Many older cats can't squat so be sure the back and sides are high so urine and stool stay in the box and don't hit your wall. 


I hope you’ve learned a thing or two about kitty bathroom preferences.

Personally, I have 3 cats with 3 boxes in two different locations. Yes, I know I should have 4, but there’s no good place to put another one right now. Once our basement is finished another set of boxes will go downstairs. 

I keep Feliway in the rooms with the boxes. The new Feliway Optimum diffuser is an excellent choice. This is a combination of kitty pheromones that reduces your cat's stress.

I use Pieviev Cat Litter mats outside of the boxes. They do a good job of collecting litter off their paws and when they cover up their business. It also catches urine from my senior kitty really well. They are easy to clean and don’t hold the urine odor at all. Find them on Amazon.

I’ve tried to find an environmentally friendly litter but they don’t like the textures of these. So I use an unscented clumping litter that they’ve been happy with for years. 

A clean, unscented, private, roomy box makes for a less stressed kitty and a happier you!