Litter Box 101

Setting up a cat-approved litter box

Litter Box 101

Monday, October 12, 2015 | NHS Behavior Department

Providing a litter box that’s appealing to your cat is the easiest way to encourage them to use it and prevent problems.Our tips are a great starting place when setting up a new litter box or if you’re having trouble with your cat going outside the litter box.


  • Be sure the litter box is 1½ times bigger than the cat’s current size. 
  • Under-the-bed storage bins can serve as a great litter box for bigger kitties. 


  • Most cats prefer unscented, scoopable litter. 
  • Use about 2 inches of scoopable litter. (More litter does not equal less scooping.) 

Litter Box extras

  • No lids. Cats feel safer with multiple exit routes. 
  • No liners. Most cats do not like the feel of liners on their paws.


  • There should be a box for every cat in the home;,plus one (2 cats = 3 boxes).
  • A litter box should be provided for each level of the residence.


  • Set up the litter box(es) in a quiet and private area. Avoid areas with loud machinery that makes unpredictable noises, such as a laundry room or in a basement near the water heater. 
  • Spread your boxes throughout the home. 
  • Keep kids and dogs away from litter boxes using baby gates.
  • Cat food and water should be placed away from litter boxes.
  • Don’t move the litter box around. Cats do best with a consistent environment and routine.


  • Scoop the litter at least once a day.
  • Clean out the litter box about every two weeks, dumping all the litter and rinsing with mild dish soap.
  • Over time, odors will seep into the plastic permanently. Use the “sniff test” to determine when to buy a new box.  If you can smell it, it’s a safe bet your cat can.

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