How Often Should You Get A New Litter Box?

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by Steven Thomas

how often should you get a new litter box

It is easy to see why you would need to change cat litter, but what about the box itself?

Well, in this post we’ll explore the question: How often should you get a new litter box?

The short answer?

Most cat experts suggest to change your cat litter box once per year.

But why is it important and which box should you choose?

Keep reading to find out.

How Often Should You Replace Your Cat Litter Box?

If you have one cat and one litter box, a general rule of thumb is to replace the box every 12 months.

But it depends on a few factors.

If the litter box becomes damaged or starts to smell, it should be replaced sooner.

Lets look at the different factors involved and some signs your litter box needs replacing.

Factors to Consider

There are several factors to consider when deciding how often to replace your cat’s litter box.

These include:

  • The number of cats you have
  • How well the litter is maintained
  • The cat’s behavior
  • How many litter boxes you have

For starters, if you have one litter box and multiple cats, there will be more wear and tear sooner than 12 months.

Also, the better the litter is maintained, the longer the litter box will stay in good condition.

It also depends on your cat’s behavior. If you find your cat is scratching the bottom of the litter more then average, it could mean replacing it sooner.

If your cat does scratch at the litter box more than what’s normal, it usually isn’t something to worry about. But, speaking to a cat trainer might help and they could suggest ways to decrease it.

Lastly, it’s important to have the right number of litter boxes. The recommended number is always one for each cat plus an extra one.

So if you have two cats, then it’s recommended to have three lietter boxes. If this is your setup, then you probably won’t need to replace the litter boxes once per year.

Just be mindful of which boxes or boxes gets used the most, as it will be these that need replacing more regularly.

Signs Your Litter Box Needs to Be Replaced

Here are some clear signs your litter box needs to be replaced.

  • Your cat stops using it
  • Strong odor
  • Stains or discoloration on the litter box
  • Cracks or scratches on the litter box
  • Difficulty cleaning the litter box
  • Worn-out or frayed edges on the litter box

If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to replace the litter box.

Light scratches are inevitable and aren’t a big cause for concern unless they are deep scratches.

Moreover, if your cat stops using the litter box, it might not be down to the litter box, but something wrong with the litter instead.

Read our other post on how to change cat litter brands if there’s an issue with it.

Why It’s Important To Replace Your Cat Litter Box

Old litter boxes are breeding grounds for bacteria that can affect both cats and their owners.

Plastic litter boxes can become porous over time, trapping bacteria and germs that can be harmful to your cat’s health.

Therefore, once you’ve owned the litter box for a while, cleaning it isn’t enough and it’s time to get a new one.

Another reason it’s important to replace the litter box is if your cat stops using it.

It’s important to always have a litter box your cat feels happy using. If they start avoiding their litter box, it means they could be holding their bladder for too long, which can cause a UTI.

Monitor your cats bathroom behavior and seek advice from your vet if this happens.

Choosing the Right Litter Box

If your cat is happy with their current litter box, it’s best to replace it with the same one.

Or at least one that is similar.

However, if your old litter box isn’t doing the job it used to, it might be worthwhile to get a different type.

Here are the different types of litter boxes you can choose from.

Standard Open Litter Boxes

The standard open litter box is the most common type of litter box.

It is a simple, rectangular box that is easy to clean and maintain.

These litter boxes are usually made of plastic and are available in different sizes to accommodate cats of all sizes.

Open litter boxes are also the most affordable option and can be found at most pet supply stores.

Covered Litter Boxes

Covered litter boxes are enclosed with a door or hole at the top.

These litter boxes are designed to provide more privacy for your cat and to help contain litter and odors.

Some cats may not like an enclosed litter box, because they might feel trapped or claustrophobic.

Additionally, covered litter boxes might be harder to clean than standards ones.

However, some people swear by them and they come in a variety of sizes and styles.

Automatic Self-cleaning Litter Boxes

Self-cleaning litter boxes are designed to automatically scoop and dispose of waste, making them a convenient option for busy cat owners.

These litter boxes usually have a waste drawer that you can empty periodically.

However, they can be more expensive than other types of litter boxes, and some cats may be scared of the noise they make.

Disposable Litter Boxes

Disposable litter boxes are made of lightweight materials like cardboard and are designed to be used for a short period of time before being thrown away.

These litter boxes are great for traveling or for use in temporary living situations.

They are also convenient for cat owners who don’t want to deal with the hassle of cleaning a litter box, because you dispose of the whole thing instead of cleaning them.

However, they can be more expensive in the long run than other types of litter boxes.

Tips for Maintaining Your Cat’s Litter Box

Scoop and Clean the Litter Box Often

One of the most important things you can do to keep your cat healthy and happy is to clean the litter box regularly.

You should aim to scoop the litter box at least once or twice per day, and more often if you have multiple cats.

Top up with fresh litter when it’s getting low, and give it a full clean after 2-3 weeks. Possibly more often if you have multiple cats.

If you’re using non-clumping litter, you’ll only need to scoop out the poop and replace the entire litter more often than clumping litter.

When cleaning the litter box, use a non toxic detergent, such as this one and a soft cloth. Don’t use anything too abrasive, as this can shorten the lifespan of the litter box.

Provide Enough Litter Boxes

Did you know it’s recommended to have an extra litter boxes for multiple cats. Even some experts suggest to have one per cat plus an extra one.

That may be a little excessive, but it’s worth trying it you’re having trouble getting your cats to use their litter.

Cat’s can be very territorial and picky where they do their business, so providing enough litter boxes can be very helpful.

Additionally, having more than one litter box can mean you won’t need to replace them as often if your cats use them equally.

Monitor Your Cat’s Behavior

Keep an eye on any changes in your cats behavior and how they interact with their litter box.

If they stop using it, start peeing or pooping outside the litter box, or start scratching it more than usual, it could be worth visiting your vet for a checkup.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do cats prefer open or closed litter boxes?

It really depends on the cat’s and owners preference. Some cats prefer open litter boxes, while others prefer closed ones.

However, most cat’s are good at adapting to new things, so you can try different types of litter boxes to see which one is best for you.

How do you deep clean a litter box?

Start by scooping out any solid waste daily into a plastic bag and disposing of it in the trash.

Once or twice per month (or more if needed), use warm water and mild soap or pet-safe cleaner to scrub down the inside of the litter box, then rinse thoroughly before refilling with fresh cat litter.

For added hygiene, clean up around the outside of the box, wiping away any spilled granules or residue that has accumulated on surfaces nearby.

Why does my cat box smell so bad?

It could be as simple as the urine or poop not being scooped out enough. Or that your cat is peeing in places that haven’t been cleaned.

You may also want to check to your cat isn’t having any medical issues causing the smell.

Additionally, if your litter box is old, it probably needs to be replaced, as it can build up odor deep within the plastic.

How Often Should I Be Changing My Cat’s Litter?

It depends on the type of litter you’re using, but a general rule of thumb is once or twice per month to completely change the litter.

Learn how often to clean the litter box in this post.

How Often Should You Get A New Litter Box?

In conclusion, the frequency of replacing your cat’s litter box is once per year. Maybe longer if you keep it in good condition.

It also comes down to the number of cats and litter boxes you have, your cat’s behavior, and the type of litter box you get.

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Steven Thomas
Steven has been studying cat behavior ever since adopting two stray kittens in 1996. After rescuing many homeless cats over the years, he developed the skill of finding new homes for cat lovers seeking to adopt. About Steven

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