Litter and Litter Boxes

We recommend the scoopable sand-type litter (we happen to use Fresh Step Scoop). The odor is virtually non-existent if the box is cleaned regularly (we recommend every morning and evening), and enough litter is kept in the box to keep everything covered. The directions on the litter will say to keep the litter at least 2 inches deep - we have found that 3 to 3 1/2 inches works much better. We remove the waste each morning and evening, placing it in a covered trash can lined with a kitchen-sized garbage bag. Then, we empty the trash can a couple of times a week, and it really controls the odor.

It is also advisable to clean the box itself every couple of weeks or so. Dump the sand (cleaned of waste) into a container or bag of some kind, and save it. Wash the box using Clorox, Parvocide, Nolvasan, or any other disinfectant cleaning agent. Chlorine bleach works very well in about a 20:1 dilution (20 parts water and 1 part bleach), since it kills bacteria, viruses, and fungus, and is inexpensive to use.


Scratching Posts

Your new cat or kitten has been trained to use scratching posts instead of furniture, but it would not take long at all for the cat to unlearn this. It's important for you to think for your cat on this score - the easier you make it for an animal to be a good pet, the better pet the animal will be. If your kitten or cat shows any interest in using a piece of furniture instead of a scratching post, there are steps you can take to change that behavior:

  1. put a scratching post right next to the target piece of furniture, gradually moving it to its permanent location;
  2. if you see the cat even looking like they are going to use the furniture, you must, in a loud and firm voice, say "NO!" - don't overly frighten the cat, just make the point;
  3. squirt the cat with a squirt gun when you see the behavior begin. Squirt guns are great discipline tools for cats - more later…

Sometimes it's helpful to rub catnip all over the scratching post, or you can try fastening a dangling toy from the top of the post (a shoe lace works well, and is quite durable) to encourage use. It takes patience and consistence on your part to keep/instill good habits in your companion, but it is worth the effort!

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