Adopting a Cat? Here’s the Scoop on the Cat Litter Box

Josh Feinkind
5 min readFeb 26, 2021

If you’re a new cat owner, or thinking about adopting a cat, the litter box can be very confusing. On one hand, you are told that it’s easy to train cats to use the litter box because their instincts attract them to the litter box. On the other hand, you hear of finicky cats rejecting the litter box due to the type of litter, the location, or some combination of factors that you have to figure out before your kitty decides to use the laundry basket instead! Don’t worry though, it’s not confusing once you get the hang of it. This article will give you the information you need about litter boxes, cat litter, litter box furniture, and how to teach your new cat to use it all.

The Cat Litter Box and Where to Put It

Your cat’s litter box is simply a place for your cat to go to the bathroom that is usually plastic and rectangular. There are litter boxes with lids or doors, entry on the top vs the side, and some that even clean themselves! Whatever you prefer, just make sure that it is deep enough to hold a few inches of litter, but not so deep that your cat finds it difficult to climb in and out of it. It’s important to choose a good spot for your cat’s litter box because if they don’t like the location, they won’t use the box! Choose a spot in your home that is easy for the cat to access, but out of the general traffic of the household. Cats like their privacy too! Make sure it’s located away from your cat’s feeding location as well. Like humans, cats don’t want to go where they eat.

Many cat litter boxes come with a small shovel for scooping out feces and litter clumps. If yours does not, make sure you pick up a sturdy one (metal is better than plastic). If you are adopting more than one cat, it’s best to get a separate litter box for each cat. You may also want multiple boxes if you have a more spacious home so that you can spread them across your home to prevent accidents.

The Purrrfect Cat Litter Box Furniture

Now that you know how to keep your cat happy with its litter box, it’s time to make sure you’re happy with it! Most prospective cat owners worry about their cats tracking litter all over the house. This is definitely bound to happen without the proper cat furniture in place. There are quite a few options on the market but one household favorite is this modern cat litter box cabinet from The Refined Feline. The Refined Litter Box Deluxe is a cat litter box enclosure that will give your cat some privacy as well as contain their litter all while looking beautiful in your home. It’s even customizable and available in multiple wood finishes so that it blends in with your decor!

The Refined Feline also makes a Litter Catch to go alongside the cabinet to catch any stray litter as your cat exits the litter box. Being a cat parent no longer means having to deal with litter around your home or an unsightly litter box sitting in the middle of a room. The Refined Feline also makes modern cat trees, cat wall shelves, and more!

The Right Kitty Litter

There are many varieties of kitty litter on the market, including ones made from clumping vs non-clumping clay, recycled newspaper, organic materials like corn or wheat, and even cat litter that will monitor your cat’s health. See top kitty litter here. Clumping clay litter is one of the most popular because its clumping property makes it easy to scoop out both urine and feces, and most cats like it. Make sure you use enough litter to fill the whole box to about two to three inches deep. If your cat really likes to dig and scratch deeply, you might want to add another inch of litter. (If you add too much though they will end up kicking it over the edge).

Litter is something that cats can be finicky about. While scented litters help cover unpleasant odors, cats have a very strong sense of smell so it can be too strong sometimes. Cats may also reject a type of litter because it irritates their sensitive paws, or they can develop an allergy to it. When starting out with a new cat, it’s best to purchase litter in small amounts so it’s easy to change brands until you find one that you and your cat both like. The biggest factor for keeping your cat happy with his litter box, however, is cleanliness.

At least once a day, scoop out feces and urine clumps (if you are using clumping litter). The more regularly you scoop, the happier your cats will be with their box, and you will also be able to go longer between complete litter changes. Non-clumping litter should be completely changed one to two times per week; clumping litter that is regularly scooped can go up to two weeks without being fully changed. When you do a complete change of litter, empty the old litter into a trash bag. Wash the litter box out with hot water and a little soap, rinse well, and dry thoroughly before refilling with fresh litter.

Using the Cat Litter Box

Most cats adopted once they’re adults already know how to use a litter box and will adapt to your litter box once they know where it is. If you adopt a kitten from a shelter, it will be at least eight weeks old and will have learned to use a litter box as well. Younger kittens may need to be placed into the litter box a few times in order to get the idea. You may also need to show your kitten how to dig to cover up after itself (by digging with your hand next to the kitten or gently taking its paw and making the digging motion) but usually, they will figure it out on their own.

If your cat has been using its litter box and then suddenly stops, there could be a few reasons. As mentioned above, if something about the litter irritates the cat, it won’t use it. Other reasons could be stress or that the area with the litter box is not private enough, maybe it needs to be cleaned more often, or the cat wants its own box away from other cats in the household. However, a sudden change in litter box habits such as going outside of the litter box, going more frequently, or not going at all is often a sign of an illness. Most illnesses can be cleared up quickly but should be treated right away. You should have your cat checked by your veterinarian quickly if you ever notice a change in their litter box habits.

With these tips, you will be an “expurrrt” on cat litter, modern cat furniture, and all things litter box in no time!



Josh Feinkind

Designer of high end cat and dog furniture for over 15 years at Recipient of Pet Age's 40 under 40 award.