How Often to Change Cat Litter? Keeping Your Cat Clean and Happy

How Often to Change Cat Litter

As a cat owner, and especially when you have more than one cat, you know that litter boxes, litter, and the maintenance around them are one of the biggest factors to keep in mind. Kitty litter and its intricacies are the least glamorous part of cat ownership, but an essential one, nonetheless.

How often to change cat litter depends on factors like the number of cats using it, their behavior and frequency of use, and considerations like the type of litter you have. Oh, and, of course, the smell!

A good rule of thumb is to change your cat litter every 2 to 3 weeks maximum, though you can replace it every week depending on the type of litter and your personal preference.

We will also go over rules and practices like how to scoop a cat’s litter box, how to change the dirty litter box, and how often you should change your cat’s litter. So, stick around for a while, and let’s dive in!

When To Change Cat Litter?

As you determine when to change your cat litter, there are a few factors that you can keep in mind. You may think that number of kitties you have is the primary factor, but you shouldn’t overlook things like the general behavior of your cat, the frequency at which they are using the cat litter box, and so on.

how often to change cat litter

Sometimes, your cats’ health might change based on their diet, age, or other things, and you may need to adjust your cleaning process as their bathroom habits shift.

Number of Cats

The number of kitties you have will impact the frequency you have to change your cat’s litter. Say you only have one cat using the restroom at a given rate and need a litter change once every three weeks.

how often to clean litter box

With 2 or 3 cats using the restroom at a similar rate in the same litter box, you can clean it daily but will likely want to replace the whole cat litter more often to keep unpleasant odors and any mess at a minimum. It can be beneficial to have two litter boxes per cat.

Cats’ Behavior 

When cats have health issues, are pregnant, or going through any other changes, their eating habits often change, as do their coinciding restroom habits.

You should monitor your cats’ behavior to ensure they are healthy and stable. An excellent way to do this is by noticing if your cat’s litter box use becomes inconsistent.

This could be a sign of illness or another issue, but at the very least should indicate to you that you might need to adjust the way you are going about changing the cat litter.

Types of Litter

The type of litter you use will also affect the rate you have to change your litter. Non-clumping litter will need to be entirely changed much more often than any type of clumping litter.

how often do you clean litter box

This partially has to do with the fact that it is more challenging to use daily because scooping both liquids and solids is not as easy when they don’t have a chance to form easily scoopable clumps.

If you do have a clumping litter, you can expect to scoop it daily and refill it to your desired level, but you won’t have to switch out the cat litter completely as much.

Number of Boxes 

How many litter boxes you have can impact the rate you’ll have to clean them.

If you have multiple cats, you might have one litter box to share, or you might decide to keep a few litter boxes in different areas of your home. This depends on your space and how many cats you have, but it can make for varied cleaning and litter-changing processes.

how often should i change my cat's litter

If you have multiple cats using one box, it will need changing more often to account for the increased use of the litter and any wear on the box itself. If you have multiple boxes, however, you can plan on keeping up your daily scooping practices while you can avoid doing as many full litter changes.

Multiple litter boxes will inherently be used less than once and sustain less wear and tear, which means you can refill litter for longer before needing to change it out for new litter.

Frequency

If you have one cat or multiple cats using the litter box at a higher rate, the litter will need to be changed out more often. The less a litter box is used overall, the less frequently it needs to be emptied, cleaned, and refilled with new litter.

Most cats will use the litter box a couple of times a day, while some other cats may use it a little less or a little more.

Smell

how often should cat litter be changed

Finally, the odor will play a large part in your decision. Even if you clean out any clumps daily, when the cat litter box begins to smell, it can be off-putting, and you will know it is time to change the litter. Litters that absorb odors are also available.

If there is an odor earlier in using fresh litter, notice if your cat has changed their habits by contacting a vet. If you’ve changed old litter recently, it might also be effective only for a shorter period, meaning that you may need to change it out more often to keep your home smelling fresh.

How to Scoop a Litter Box

how often do you clean a litter box

When it comes time to scoop your litter box, you will want to use gloves and a mask to stay as safe and clean as possible. This will keep any airborne particles and dust from getting inhaled, as you also keep your hands from touching any dirty litter on accident.

I recommend keeping a trash bag or can nearby so that you don’t have to walk around with scooped litter. Instead, you can scoop, dump, and repeat for a quick and easy process to maintain a clean litter box.

It’s best to scoop your litter in the morning and evening, and I’ve always done it around the time that I’ve brought their food out because it makes it easier. Building a routine will help you and the cat to be more comfortable, have odor control, and avoid any larger messes.

How to Change Litter Boxes

Scooping is a daily practice, but as you now know, changing the litter in a litter box should happen weekly at most. It can get close to being a monthly occurrence with the right combination of litter, a cat, and proper daily maintenance of the litter box.

how often to change litter box

So, when it does come time to change your litter box, put those gloves and that mask back on, dump the litter and start cleaning.

After you dump your litter, you will want to soak the litter box in hot water for a few minutes to help loosen anything that might have stuck before scrubbing it down. When ready for the scrubbing part, take cleaning products, mild dish soap, and warm water, and wipe everything down nicely. Baking soda works great too!

Bleach can be used when you just need a deep clean, but you shouldn’t rely on this as a standard practice because too much use of chemicals or scents can upset your cat and its sensitive nose.

How Often Should You Change the Cat Litter?

You should replace cat litter fully at least every three weeks but can change it at a frequency that best suits you and your cats. If you have something like biodegradable cat litter, you might switch that out more often than you would another kind, like traditional clay litter.

how often do you change cat litter

 If you have more cats and biodegradable kitty litter, and your cats are using the bathroom a lot, you’ll need to switch your litter out a ton. However, more realistically, if you have one or two cats using a clumping litter at a regular rate, you can expect to change your litter tray at an average rate of twice per month.

You can adjust your cleaning practices to reflect the usage of the litter box as well as the needs of you and your cats. It’s up to you to ensure that you are cleaning in a way that makes you and your cat happy, comfortable, and healthy, above all else.

Conclusion

Cats require more maintenance than some pets but are much more independent in other ways. Regardless, caring for your feline friend is worth it, as you know.

You should be in good standing as long as you make the daily effort to scoop litter and clean out the litter box around twice a month. Remember, this process can change based on many factors, and you might have to adjust your maintenance to keep up.

Anna Shoultz
Anna has been working as a writer for over 6 years and loves getting to share information that helps readers. Whether that looks like products to use or ways to support pets, she enjoys passing knowledge on to others. Her work tends to vary, but animal writing has always been close to the center of her career and is a point of focus she always returns to. When she is not writing, she travels to new countries, spends lots of time with her close friends’ dogs, and works on other creative projects such as documentaries.

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