Basic care

How Often Should I Change My Cat’s Litter?

Ameera Mills
By Ameera Mills. Updated: September 2, 2018
How Often Should I Change My Cat’s Litter?

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A cat’s sandbox allows a cat to defecate in the home as well as practice its natural instinct of covering its own tracts. A cat’s litter box is therefore essential for the hygiene and well-being of our cats. We, as their owners, must ensure that this litter pan is constantly clean. Cleaning a cat’s sandbox is essential in preventing health and behavioral problems in our cats.

To ensure that you avoid such problems, in this AnimalWised article we aim to guide you on how to maintain your cat’s litter box. We will discuss the types of litter to use, how to clean out a sandbox, and most importantly; how often you should change your cat’s litter.

You may also be interested in: How Often Should I Bathe a Cat?


  1. The importance of a cat’s sandbox
  2. Different types of cat litter
  3. How often does cat’s litter need changing?
  4. how to clean the actual sandbox

The importance of a cat’s sandbox

Cats should learn to use a litter box from when they are kittens. They should continue using these urine and feces collection boxes throughout their lives. This cat pan is incredibly important when it comes to both the hygiene and behavior of our cats. It is important to understand some guidelines to follow when it comes to a cat’s litter box: in order to avoid infections or illnesses from spreading or occurring.

A cat’s litter box is a very important tool in understanding both the psychology and health of our kittens. If, for example, your cat has been using its box habitually for years and all of a sudden decides to sleep in the box or not use it at all, it might be a sign that they are not mentally well, and that a problem has risen. When it comes to your cat’s health, the sandbox allows you to check your cat’s feces in case of infection, and can help you track your cat’s urination process. If you cat is showing signs of peeing more or less than usual, this could be a sign of a urinary tract infection or another type of health issue.

It is also very important to know that a cat’s sense of smell is about 14 times stronger than a humans’. Cats are also incredibly hygienic animals. If your cat can feel or smell that its sandbox has not been cleaned and smells, it will not use it.

Also, it is important to know where to put a cat’s litter box. A cat needs its privacy, therefore we recommend putting it in a private area where it won’t be seen i.e; in closets, behind corners, etc.. Do not put the litter box next to the cat’s food. Make sure that if you have more than one litter box that they are in different rooms.

How Often Should I Change My Cat’s Litter? - The importance of a cat’s sandbox

Different types of cat litter

To determine how often you should change your cat litter, some factors need to be taken into account. For example, the number of cats you have. You should have the equivalent amount of sandboxes to cats, plus one. If you have 2 cats, you should try have three sandboxes. If you have 1 cat, we recommend having two sandboxes. If you have two sandboxes you will find that a cat usually assigns one to urine and another to feces. This act will influence the interval of changes in sand as the emission of urine stains the sand more the solid stools.

The type of sand you use will also determine the frequency of change necessary. Below are the most common types of cat litter on the market;

  • Non-clumping conventional litter: this litter can be found in most supermarkets and is normally quite cheap. It is usually well accepted by cats but it does not have a binding effect and it stains more easily. This litter makes the sandbox harder to clean as the urine seeps more easily through this litter and it therefore smells more. This litter needs to be cleaned out daily, sometimes even more than once a day. You can buy perfumed versions of this sand.
  • Clumping Litter: this type of sand, more expensive than the previous one, is a better option. This litter is able to compact the waste this allows for facilitated cleaning. This litter however, still needs to be cleaned daily and does not eliminate bad odor.
  • Pearls or Crystals Litter: composed of silica, is more expensive than the previous two. This litter has the advantage of staining less, containing high absorbency properties and is capable of compacting feces and urine. In addition, when this white sand comes into contact with urine, it stains yellow, which signals to you that it needs cleaning. This litter also eliminates odor and does not need to be cleaned as often as the previous mentioned litters. Some cats however, reject this sandbox, therefore it depends on the cat if this litter is appropriate.
  • Ecological litter (biodegradable): this biodegradable litter can be quite expensive as it can be made of natural plant based resources. This litter often has a strong binding effect and it is lighter in weight. However, the odor of this litter can often deter cats from accepting it.

Choosing the appropriate litter depends on your cat. If your cat accepts the litter and seems to be using it comfortably then you can keep it. If your cat is however rejecting the litter, we recommend trying a different option.

How often does cat’s litter need changing?

As we have previously mentioned, there is no specific answer to this question. The answer will depend on your cat. We do however recommend daily stool collection.

Once stools are collected the process is simple;

  • If you use litter that needs daily cleaning, we recommend scooping dirty parts daily. Always remember to use gloves or a mask to prevent infection. You can fill the litter every 2-3 days, however remember not to fill it too high. If the litter is overfilled, your cat will mess the sand onto the floor. Empty and clean the litter box weekly with baking soda or charcoal. You can also line the litter box before putting sand in to make it easier to clean.

Remember that this is simply a general cleaning method. The specifics of when to clean will depend on how often your cat defecates and/or what litter you choose to use.

How Often Should I Change My Cat’s Litter? - How often does cat’s litter need changing?

how to clean the actual sandbox

It is important to understand that some litters are not absorbent. Therefore, urine seeps through to the actual box. This box needs to be cleaned weekly to avoid bad odor and in order to protect the hygiene of your cat. We recommend washing your sandbox with warm water and soap. We discourage the use of chemical cleaners such as bleach as they can be poisonous to your cat. Therefore, it is important to make sure you do not use any type of soap that can affect your cat’s health or deter your cat from using the box.

Finally, it is also important to replace the box if any wear-and-tear is noticed. Due to a cat’s scrapes and residues you will notice that the box itself begins to deteriorate, in this situation, we recommend replacing the box with a new one.

If you want to read similar articles to How Often Should I Change My Cat’s Litter?, we recommend you visit our Basic care category.

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