As we all know, just about every mechanism, gadget or machine we use to make our lives easier can have a problem and when it comes to our cats, addressing a cat litter pan problem can be avoided by providing the proper litter pan for your felines.
How to Avoid a Cat Litter Pan Problem
You might think that there can not be a cat litter pan problem with something so simple as just a pan but there can be issues not only with the design of the pan you’ve chosen but also in your cats acceptance of the pan and their individual ability to use it.
There are several types of litter pans available ranging from small standard size pans with no cover, small, medium and jumbo litter pans with covers to sifting litter pans. Each has its own benefit and can address a specific cat litter pan problem. A significant cat litter pan problem that each pan design addresses is the best option for you when it comes to cleaning a cat litter pan.
Standard Litter Pans
Standard litter pans generally run from small to medium in size with short sides making it very easy for kittens and smaller cats to access the pan. A cat litter pan problem with this type of pan is that they do not come with covers and the contents of the litter pan will be exposed and if the pan is not kept freshen this can be unsightly as well as creating unpleasant odors in the area it’s placed.
Jumbo Litter Pans
One cat litter pan problem that should be considered is whether or not the pan is too large for kittens or smaller cats to access which means they may go outside of the pan creating a cat litter pan problem or is the pan too small for your larger breed cats to move around in. Some cats like the option of circling the pan several times to find just the right spot and in this case, a jumbo litter pan would satisfy their individual cat litter pan problem.
Sifting Litter Pans
Sifting litter pans, by far, offer ease of use and eliminate the cat litter pan problem of relying on scoopers to remove solid waste from the litter pan. Scoopers can be useful for light cleaning but you are limited in the amount of waste that can be removed with each scoop, good reusable litter may be thrown away by using a scooper and scoopers tend to crack and break after extended use. Sifters allow more cleaning per sift, less waste of reusable litter and they don’t have handles to break.
As we all know, just about every mechanism, gadget or machine we use to make our lives easier can have a problem and when it comes to our cats, addressing a cat litter pan problem can be avoided by providing the proper litter pan for your felines.
In today’s world, having any time much less enough time to do all the things necessary throughout the day can be a juggling act. We have plenty to do as we struggle with the demands work and commitments to family and friends. Add the responsibility of our pets needs to an already full schedule and any step offered that can help us manage our day is a welcome relief.
For those who are cat caregivers, it is well-know that cats are independent animals and under most circumstances don’t require our undivided attention. They can be aloof and need attention from us on their terms except when it comes to food and providing a clean litter pan. Unlike a dog that can be walked outside to take care of their bodily needs, a cat requires their caregiver to supply a proper receptacle for their waste.
An overly soiled pan can become a huge cat litter pan problem if not addressed and one way to help alleviate the stress of keeping your cats litter pan clean is by using a sifting cat litter pan. By using a sifting cat litter pan not only are you able to keep the sifting cat litter pan clean but it’s also much more efficient than a scooper.
A sifting cat litter pan comes with the actual litter pan plus another piece that is used to sift the solid waste from the sifting cat litter pan. The sifting portion of the pan is placed inside the litter pan and is easily removed when it’s time to clean the pan. These pans are very helpful to cat owners who want the additional benefit of being able to remove the solid waste from the pan by using the sifting mechanism versus using a scooper. The cat litter pan liner is placed on the litter pan base followed by the sifter or sifters, if the model you’re using has multiple sifters, and then filled with litter.
When the sifter is removed from the litter pan, the solid waste and clumps, if using clumping type litter, will remain in the sifter and the loose and unused litter sifts back into the litter pan and can be reused by the cat. There is less waste of still useable litter when utilizing a sifting cat litter pan.
The sifter can then be emptied and cleaned with bleach or cleanser to clean it of any debris. Depending on the number of sifters that came with the pan, there can be a second sifter already in place inside the litter pan. Once the second sifter becomes full, it would be emptied and cleaned and the actual litter pan liner would be removed, tied securely with a twist tie and thrown away. A new liner would be placed inside the sifting cat litter pan followed by the sifter or sifters then filled with fresh litter.
Cats that stay strictly indoors require the proper litter pan that is well maintained by keeping it clean, smelling fresh and filled with the proper amount of new litter. A key to keeping the inside of a litter pan clean is the use of a cat litter pan liner. You can find a variety of cat litter pan liner products at the grocery store or retail pet store catering to pet needs.
Using a cat litter pan liner helps make the process of cleaning and changing soiled litter much easier. The cat litter pan liner does just what its name implies by lining the litter pan with a thin plastic type covering to contain the litter. When the litter pan has been used by the cat, the waste will be absorbed or covered with litter but it will not leak through to the actual litter pan. As the cat litter pan liner becomes full and needs changing, you simply pull the liner from the pan and use a twist tie to secure the cat litter pan liner the same way you close up a garbage bag. The cat litter pan liner can then be disposed of making the clean up a much easier task.
If enough litter has not been added to the litter pan and you have a cat that digs into the litter vigorously and has very sharp nails, it is possible they can puncture the bottom of the cat litter pan liner. To address this problem, add enough litter to the pan so the cat has what they feel is enough litter to dig in, use a larger and deeper based litter pan or try trimming their nails. If none of these solutions work, purchase a sifting cat litter pan which does not require the use of a cat litter pan liner the same way a standard pan uses a liner.
Another issued to be aware of when using a cat litter pan liner is if you’re using a litter pan that does not have a cover to help hold the liner securely in place around the rim of the litter pan, when your cat begins to prepare to use the litter pan or has finished and is scratching the litter to cover up the waste, they can snag the cat litter pan liner with their nails and pull the liner from the rim of the litter pan. This can be a problem because the more they scratch the more liner they may pull away from the rim. To help prevent this from happening, use a litter pan that has a cover.
Once the cat litter pan liner has been tightly placed around the rim of the pan, place the cover or lid over the rim and be sure it locks securely in place. The cat can enter the litter pan through the entrance of the cover and use the pan and the lid will help prevent them from undoing the liner from the rim.
Keeping the litter pan clean and germ free is important to your cat’s health and a cat litter pan liner will help make this possible.
Whether you’re an experienced cat owner or you’re getting a feline for the very first time, there are useful things you can to learn that you can add to your existing knowledge concerning the care of cats or begin building your experience base.
Besides the very important facts you should know about the proper food to feed your cat, which brand has the best nutrients, grooming your cat, yearly vet visits and dental maintenance, providing the proper litter pan and cat litter pan liner is at the top of the list.
When to Use a Jumbo Cat Litter Pan
Cats are picky and can also be temperamental about many things including their litter pan. If they don’t like it, are afraid of it, it isn’t cleaned often enough and kept fresh smelling, is being used by too many other cats in the family or it just isn’t large enough to suit their needs, they won’t use it and this can become a problem.
To address many of these issues, using a jumbo cat litter pan may solve any problems you currently have or may experience in the future. A jumbo cat litter pan should accommodate the needs of most felines of medium to large size. If you have a cat that still experiences problems because there’s not enough room for them to navigate inside the pan, you can remove the litter pan cover to provide more room.
If you have multiple cats in your home and they’re all using the same litter pan, place an additional jumbo cat litter pan, more if needed, to provide alternate pans for the cats to use. An advantage of a jumbo cat litter pan or using more than one jumbo cat litter pan is that they hold more litter which can allow more usage between changing the litter depending on the amount of soiled litter in each pan. Keeping the pans clean and fresh, regardless of how many cats you have, is mandatory to prevent the cat from using other areas of your home as a litter pan.
Another good use for a jumbo cat litter pan is for training kittens how to use a litter pan. Kittens learn quickly and giving them enough room to move around the pan and investigate the inside and become accustom to the texture and scent of the litter is a good step in the training process. They will scratch the litter in many directions and a jumbo cat litter pan that has tall sides will help keep the litter contained.
Also, if you have elderly or infirmed cats that have difficulty using a standard sized litter pan, providing them with a jumbo cat litter pan will remove the stress of trying to negotiate inside a standard sized pan.
Having felines in your home and as part of your family is a pleasurable and gratifying experience. Although cats are extremely independent creatures, having them indoors requires certain accommodations including a reliable litter pan with a cat litter pan cover.
Reasons for Using a Cat Litter Pan Cover
One of the main reasons for using a cat litter pan cover is to keep the litter inside the pan. Whether you’re using clumping, crystal, clay, pine or standard gravel, the cover will help keep the litter inside and not outside scattered all around the floor. Cats are vigorous diggers and when digging in the litter at the beginning or at the end of their pan session, many times the litter becomes airborne and the floor becomes a mess. Using a cat litter pan cover will help prevent this from happening.
A cat litter pan cover will keep the litter pan and its contents out of sight and this can be important especially if the litter pan is kept in a visible or well trafficked area. The cover also helps to control odor by keeping the odors confined within the enclosed pan. Keep in mind cats can be very picky about using a pan that is overly soiled, so even though a cover can be placed on the litter pan to control unpleasant smells, it is vital that the litter pan be kept clean with fresh litter and liners so the cat will use it.
The cat litter pan cover offers the feline a quiet private place and it’s not uncommon to find a cat curled up in a litter pan that has been cleaned and filled with unused litter.
Reasons Against Using a Cat Litter Pan Cover
There are a couple of reasons for not using a cat litter pan cover. The first reason not to use a cat litter pan cover is if you have a large breed of cat and the cover won’t allow room for them to either dig in the litter or sit inside the litter pan comfortably. To accommodate larger cats, purchase a jumbo cat litter pan which will provide extra space in both width and height.
The second reason for not using a cat litter pan cover would be if you have an older cat or cats that are arthritic and have hip or leg problems that would prevent them from climbing through the small entrance of the pan cover. To override this problem, the cat litter pan cover can be removed and set aside until the cat has used the litter pan and then the cover can be replaced atop the pan.
Whether you become the caregiver of one cat or you have a multiple feline home, one of the most important items needed is the correct cat litter pan for your feline friends. You might be saying to yourself that one cat litter pan is just like any other cat litter pan but that would be an incorrect assumption.
Not only are their a variety of styles to choose from, they also come in varying sizes and this is very important when making the right cat litter pan selection.
Cat Litter Pan Styles
The standard rectangle design with 5″ to 6″ inch sides is a very popular style of cat litter pan and is a good choice to use if you are raising kittens, very small cats or elderly felines who may be having difficulty jumping or climbing over tall items. The standard sized litter pan does not require climbing or jumping in order to reach the litter. There are some models that have shorter sides making it even easier for the cats to get inside the cat litter pan.
Sizing a Cat Litter Pan
Besides the standard rectangle style cat litter pan there are also standard rectangle styled pans with very high sides. The high sides help prevent bits of litter from thrown outside of the pan when the cat begins to dig or scratch. Some cats tend to dig very deep holes inside the cat litter pan and this causes much of the litter to end up outside of the pan. This same rectangle style also comes in very large sized pans. These are especially good for multi-feline households and if you have a large breed of cat or over weight cat.
Both the smaller and larger versions of cat litter pans with high sides are also available with a removable cat litter pan cover. A good cat litter pan cover will fit snugly atop the base pan will have ventilation vents and a handle for easy removal. Cat litter pan covers are excellent at helping to keep litter inside the box when the cat is digging and helps to keep odor confined along with keeping the contents out of sight.
One thing to be aware of when using a covered cat litter pan is while the entrance is large enough for most cats to fit through there is limited head space once they are inside. For large breed cats a covered litter pan can be too confining.
If you have a cat, you will need a litter box. There are many things to consider when setting up a litter box if you want to minimize the time needed to keep the box and area clean.
Location, Location, Location
The litter box needs to be in a good location. You don’t want it to be in your way, where you will have to walk around it, but it also needs to be where your cat can get to it easily and have privacy for her needs. If it is in a closet or behind a door, be sure to wedge something in the way so your cat cannot get trapped by her litter box, or get locked out of the area she needs. It will be easier to clean your cat litter that clumps if you’ve got adequate space around the box to clean it sufficiently. It is also easier
Choose Your Litter Box
There are many types of litter boxes. Some are just open. You may need to experiment to find the type of box your cat likes best. With an open box, some cats feel too exposed and they prefer the security of a covered box. Other cats don’t like the closed in feeling of a covered box, or it is too small for them to go in, scratch a hole, turn around, do what they need to do, turn around again to bury their waste, and exit. If the litter box is too small, they won’t want to use it.
Keep It In The Box
If you use a clumping cat litter, a clean area will be easier to maintain if your cat doesn’t carry the litter around on their paws. If your cat tends to spread litter – either on her paws or when she digs, consider getting a covered litter box. Some even come with a lid and front flap to help the area stay clean. Clumping cat litter is easy to clean up on a daily basis – if your litter box is covered, choose one with an easily removable lid for easy access. Also, consider placing a mat under your box that extends on the sides the cat can exit so that excess litter can go on the mat as the cat walks away from the box. It is much easier to shake a small mat than to vacuum a room!
Keeping The Box Clean
If you can smell your litter box, it is past time to clean it. Do you like using a port-a-potty that smells? Your cat feels the same. Using a clumping cat litter, keeping a clean box is easy. Shake the box from one end to dislodge, loosen, and bring to the surface the clumped waste. They should float up to the top of the litter. Do it again from the other side. Using a slotted scoop, you can clean the clumping cat litter chunks out of the box, then add new litter to bring the level back to where it should be. Your cat will thank you for the clean box.
Lately, there have been some people arguing that clumping cat litter is dangerous – even deadly – to our cats and kittens. If this is the claim, should we all instantly change our litter for a different type – maybe a biodegradable one as the articles suggest? What are the real facts in the situation? Let’s review the clumping cat litter information.
The Pet Owners’ Claims
Pet owners claim that there are two components of clumping cat litter that cause problems for cats. First, there is the sodium bentonite. This is the “expandable cement” that absorbs the cat urine. It can swell to 15-18 times the dry size. It makes it wonderfully absorbent for a litter box, but the pet owners worry about the litter if the cat ingests it. This is a logical concern, as cats do lick themselves to clean off after using the litter box.
Also, the dust from these litters can give the cats respiratory problems, as they can coat the cat’s lungs when they breathe it in. This component, sodium bentonite, is dangerous for humans to ingest, why should we think it would be safe on our cats and kittens?
The other ingredient some pet owners are concerned about is the quartz silica. This substance is a known carcinogen, and not considered safe for humans. It likely isn’t safe for the cats, either.
Reviewing these clumping cat litter complaints shows some seemingly valid concerns. What do the opposition say?
The Critics’ Rebuttal
The manufacturers of clumping cat litter, upon reviewing the claims of damage, state that they are very careful with their litter, and go to great lengths to keep pets safe. Also, they manufacture some brands of clumping cat litter that are clean, with much less dust. It is wise to choose one of these “dust free litters.
The Scientists Say…
While there are several anecdotal stories and claims, scientists state about clumping cat litter that after review there was “no post-mortum, no hisopathology findings, or any scientific data presented.” They fully believe these clumping kitty litters to be safe.
Take Home Message
The “take home message” is that each pet owner needs to act in harmony with their gut instincts. If the anecdotal stories scare you, or if you’ve had a similar situation involving your own pet, you will probably want to change your cat’s litter. There are plant-based materials available as kitty litter, made from corn cobs, newspaper, cedar, or pine shavings. ഀIf, on the other hand, reviewing information about clumping cat litter has settled some of your fears, perhaps you don’t need to jump ship quite yet.
If you want to buy clumping cat litter, there are many choices. There are various types of scented formulas, which can mask the odor from the litter box. For those cats who don’t like the scents, there are unscented types, which would have a more “natural” odor. There are litters that are low tracking – meaning the particles are bigger and less likely to cling to the feet of your kitty as it leaves the litter box – so less litter ends up in other parts of your house. You can vacuum less often if your litter is low tracking. Clumping cat litters also come dust free.
Why Look For Dust Free Clumping Cat Litter?
When your cat uses her litter box, she will dig to be able to bury her waste. The digging process will stir up the contents of her litter box, and often release dust into the air. Kitties breathing in the dust is not a good idea! Having the dust from the litter box settle on other surfaces nearby is also not a pleasant feature of cat litter; and buying a dust free formulated clumping cat litter can eliminate the litter dust.
Which Litters Are More Dusty?
When you review the clumping cat litters, both dust free and traditional, you will find that the finer the grains of litter, the more likely there is to be dust, understandably. Fortunately, generally all types of litter that have been around for a while – whether clay based or clumping – come in both a traditional version and a “new and improved” dust free version. There are a couple of exceptions to this, however. One exception to this is the natural litter made from whole-kernel corn. It tends to be a dusty litter. Other kinds of biodegradable litter are made from pine or newspapers. The benefits of a biodegradable litter are that some people claim it does a terrific job of minimizing odor, and many people appreciate that it is easier to dispose of. Biodegradable can be put into the garden as compost or mulch or even flushed down the toilet! Many people also believe it to be safer for the animals, rather than using a clay that expands (as the scoopable clay litters do – up to 15-18 times original size!).
On the other end of the spectrum are the litters made from crystals, usually a quartz silica. These are usually good at absorbing fluids and neutralizing odors, but many cats do not like the feel of the crystals on their paws. For these cats, it is better to get a non-crystal clumping cat litter, preferably dust free.
There has been a lot of conversation within the pet community these last few years about the dangers of using a clumping cat litter. Is it really a danger? Can a premium clumping cat litter minimize these dangers?
What The Fuss Is About
There are two components in cat litter that people are concerned about. The first is sodium bentonite. When wet, the pieces of bentonite clay will stick together – clump – making it very easily removed from the rest of the litter. The entire litter box does not need to be discarded weekly – the soiled portions can be scooped out and discarded, and more added to bring the level of litter back up to the appropriate level for your cat (usually 2-3 inches).
However, those pieces, when wet, will grow to up to 15 – 18 times their original size, making them dangerous if ingested. A kitty or cat, cleaning itself with its tongue, could easily ingest a few pieces of the litter. If it is eaten, critics of clumping cat litter suggest than the litter can expand with the kitten, given the moist conditions, and that the litter can grow to block the digestive passage of the cat or kitten. They claim many kittens have died from this very condition, eating clumping cat litter. The Premium style is less likely to be ingested accidentally, and that’s one benefit of premium clumping cat litter.
Pet owners are also concerned about the dust from the kitty litter that their cat or kitten might breath in. The dust, fine as it is, could conceivably coat the inside of the cat’s lungs, giving them respiratory problems.
Also, clumping cat litter includes quartz silica. This component is a known carcinogen. It has been tested and deemed dangerous for humans. Can we even dare to assume it would be less dangerous for smaller creatures, cats and kittens?
What The Premium Clumping Cat Litter Manufacturers And Other Experts Say
Those who manufacture premium clumping cat litters say that they have studies the claims extensively. Many are members of the Sorptive Minerals Institute (SMI), their nationwide trade organization. As soon as the SMI heard of any concerns, they began an extensive investigation. They interviewed people who had no preconceived bias one way or the other about the issue. These included pet store owners, cat owners, and veterinarians. None were aware of any problems of a health nature that could be directly linked back to the clumping litters. They also investigated the situation thorough the National Animal Poison Control Center (University of Illinois), and followed up on the names and comments that had been reported through that agency. Those who were available were contacted, as well as their veterinarians. They even autopsied the animals that supposedly had died from the clumping litter. All autopsies showed that death was due to some other underlying cause.
But did the premium clumping cat litter manufacturers or SMI check into the claims of the original holistic veterinarian who raised this issue in the first place? Yes, SMI did. That veterinarian was not able to give any evidence that links clumping cat litter (premium or otherwise) to either sickness or death. Also, the ASPCA still recommends clumping cat litter, as they have identified no health risks related to using it with pets.
The Bottom Line?
Despite the claims to the contrary, there is no scientific evidence that links clumping cat litter (premium, dust free types or otherwise) to any health issues. We can continue to use clumping cat litter, whether premium or not, in comfort.