Cat in litter box isolated

Cat Litter Box Care and Cleaning Basics You Should Know

There are few more difficult odors to control than those associated with a cat litter box. Poor maintenance is enough to bring tears to your eyes. And not only yours, but to your kitty’s, too.

Cat in litter box isolated


Cats hate dirty litter boxes, and that drives them to find substitutes, whether a pile of clothes in a laundry basket or a corner of the carpet behind the door.

Your cat’s sense of smell is 9 to 16 times stronger than yours, so a litter box that smells reasonably clean to you may outright stink to your cat.

Select the right box

Start with is a plain rectangular little box, making sure that it is large enough that your cat can move around in it comfortably, with no overhang. If the box is smaller than your cat, you’re just asking for trouble and I’m talking cat litter strewn outside of the box—or a box that is not being used at all.

You want it large enough to hold enough litter to preclude the bottom of the box from getting too soiled and wet between cleanings. If the box is too small or too many cats per box, prepare for your pets to choose another place in the house other than the box.

How many litter boxes?

The rule of thumb for indoor cats is one litter box per cat plus one extra. So if you have a cat, you need two litter boxes. Three cats? Four boxes. With multiple cats in the household, you can quickly feel like you’re running out of logical places for boxes.

 two striped cat close

That is when you should consider a “litter station,” placing the boxes side-by-side to accommodate more than one cat at a time. This kind of arrangement will make it easier to scoop and clean when the boxes are all located in the same area.

Box location

The location of the litter box is important. It should be as far from family and food activities as possible and placed away from doors and windows. Cats want privacy so this rules out the kitchen or other high-activity locations. The more secluded the area, the better.

Care and cleaning

Until someone figures out how to successfully potty-train cats including teaching them to flush, the next best option is to know how to keep your cat’s litter box clean and odor-free is Nok-Out.

Clever Abyssinian Cat uses a toilet bowl

Once you are sure that the cats love their litter, the boxes are well-placed and everything appears to be going well (save for that horrible odor), you’re ready to put Nok-Out to work.

In the past, we’ve had cats in our home and I can tell you without any hesitation that Nok-Out was the only way we could keep litter box odor under control—and I’m talking about no odor at all. nok out bottles with spray tops

1. Spray it with Nok-Out

Spray the bottom of the clean litter box with Nok-Out. You will do this each and every time you change and clean the box, which should be frequently. Nok-Out is ideal for litter boxes because other cleaners can leave a disinfectant or masking odor that repels cats.

2. Fill the box with litter

Consider a clumping unscented litter. You won’t need a pan liner and unscented litter tends to be preferred by most cats, which means they’ll use it happily.

Non-clumping litter is more challenging because depending on the number of cats in the house, it will likely need to be emptied and the box washed much more often as the urine will eventually collect at the bottom of the box. And that odor? Yikes! It will be so bad you’ll have tears in your eyes and very quickly.

Start with about two inches of litter and experiment until you find the right depth for your cat. Most litter manufacturers recommend using two to three inches of litter. However, if your cat is a deep scratcher, you may want to settle on three to four inches, You don’t your cat to feel as if he or she needs to dig all the way to the bottom of the box to get the job done.

Once the box is filled with clean, fresh, unscented litter, give the litter a final leveling off so the cats have a nice, smooth surface to dig in.

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3. Spray again with Nok-Out

Next, lightly spray the top of the litter with Nok-Out.

Note: Diluted 50:50 with water, Nok-Out retains its effectiveness when treating cat litter. That means one gallon of Nok-Out can stretch to two gallons.

4. Remove solids

You’re going to need to dispose of your cat’s waste properly, and odor can be an issue. However, it will be much easier if you disposing of clumps frequently. Then frequently treating the urine-soaked litter with Nok-Out. Frequently!

Every time you remove solid wastes—multiple times a day or as clumps appear—smooth and spray the litter surface again.

Nok-Out is odor-free and leaves no smells that will offend the cats, but it does have residual effects that continue to combat odors long after the litter is dry. And it will extend the life of your litter because no odor will send the cats away and the box will remain sanitary and clean. That’s because Nok-Out (and also its companion product SNiPER) destroys everything in cat urine that causes odor and can create disease problems.

diaper genie system5. Litter Genie

With a product like the Litter Genie, scooping as well as disposal of litter is much easier. The way it works:

Insert the role of plastic bagging material inside the Genie, tie a knot at the end of it, secure it to a wheel, and turn the handle a half turn. Then open the top and drop in all the scoopings. Turn the handle again, and the waste is safely hidden at the bottom of the Litter Locker to keep all of the odors confined inside.

On trash day, just remove the bag and contents and discard them in the garbage can.

If you’ve ever seen or used a Diaper Genie, you know exactly how this works. It is truly a genius!


cat box liners6. What about liners?

Plastic cat box liners are not necessary, but it does make emptying a litter box of used non-clumping litter tidier.

If you are using non-clumping litter you will be changing it more often so you might consider using liners.

Just keep in mind, however, if you’re following the Nok-Out protocol described above, you won’t be emptying and throwing out litter.

You will be scooping out solids, treating the litter that remains with Nok-Out, and then replenishing with fresh litter only as needed.


More reading

Nok-Out and SNiPER are absolutely safe around pets and children The active ingredient in Nok-Out and SNiPER is chlorine dioxide.

Introducing Chlorine Dioxide clo2

The Effects of Chlorine Dioxide Around Animals

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  1. Emily Booth says:

    I had 2 cats, one of who was a breast cancer survivor. I changed their kitty litter to S’Wheat Scoop which I used for many years. When that size bag became unavailable, I switched to a pine product which smelled great. I had always cleaned out the kitty litter box 3X a day, before leaving for work, getting home and before bed. Leaving excrement in the kitty litter box leads to odor. Because I had a cat who had cancer, I washed the litter box every month or two. I soaked it in hot water & Mr. Clean for about a 1/2 hour, then rinsed it with hot water, letting it sit for a 1/2 hour. I had 2 litter boxes that were very deep. My cats liked the deep litter, around 4″ deep, but then I kept it clean. Cats like clean.

  2. Marlene D'Aboy says:

    Somehow I taught Ben to go outside instead of using the litter. He had a kitty door near the litter box and I moved the litter outside of the door. After awhile I removed the box altogether. No problems. When we got Jerry from the Humane Society, Ben taught him to go outside. I didn’t have to do a thing. There were no accidents. Have to say I am not a cat person but my husband was. One thing about Jerry that I have to mention. When we were looking at animals we were told not to go to close to the cat in the back of the room because he had been untreated and was very scared. What would you have done? Probably what I did. I went up to the box and kneeled in front of it just watching the cat. Then softly spoke a few words. He looked up and I kept talking. Slowly he crept to the front, just looking at me, then put his paw through the wire and on my cheek. It was love at first site for the both of us. He doesn’t like visitors to the house and will run and hide. My husband and Ben are no longer with me but Jerry gives me all the love he can give.

  3. A-A says:

    Forget the expensive short sided, even the deeper, cat litter boxes! We have been using various deep plastic storage tubs as cat boxes for years now. Just put a big rag rug (because it’s textured and knocks the litter off their feet) under the tub add about 4 inches of scoopable litter and it saves lots of cleanup mess.

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