Boo McCourt has experience caring for cats and likes to share tips she finds along the way.
Location, Location, Location: Why It's Important to Choose the Right Spot
Where you decide to set up your cat's litter box is a major consideration. Cat's can be delightfully finicky about pretty much everything. And this includes where they go to the bathroom. However, the litter box location is possibly one of your cat's biggest concerns. If the litter box location is situated where your cat is not convinced to use it, your cat may just decide, either go outside the litter box or find alternate locations throughout your home to use as their own private litter box.
And that is the last thing you want to happen, as many cat owners know, cat urine is one of the hardest odors to eliminate. Therefore, it might be in your best interest to indulge your cat and situate the litter box according to your cat's needs. I have noticed if my cat's litter box is not in the ideal position, he will do a quickie and blast out of the area like a lightning bolt. So positioning the box so your cat is able to eliminate comfortably is imperative for both you and for your cat.
Where to Put the Litter Box
It is best to seek a location that is dry, easy access for your cat, quiet, and if possible a little bit roomy. Cats are not comfortable eliminating where people are coming and going, or making a lot of commotion or noise. Just as we humans, cats prefer some form of privacy when going to the bathroom. Construct the litter box location simple to reach, if it is in a closet or where stairs are present it might make your cat shy away because it is too much trouble to gain access.
If you are placing the litter box in a basement, choose a quiet corner that is easily accessible for your cat. Avoid placing the box near a washer, dryer or heating system. These kinds of noises can scare your cat, and once again they may choose inappropriate places to eliminate. If you do place the box in a closet of sorts, be sure the door is consistently open.
This is frequently the most private and convenient location for the cat litter box. You can buy boxes with lids or screens to hide the litter box, yet allow enough room for your cat to do its eliminations privately.
Many people put the box at the end of a hallway. I personally am not keen on this placement, as it is far too out in the open, with foot traffic being much too high. If it is the only logical place for you, you might want to find creative ways to disguise the box. There are many options available for litter box housing.
At one time I lived in an apartment with a huge utility closet, the absolute perfect, most convenient place for a litter box. The water heater kept the space warm and cozy for the cat.
Another very popular solution that is catching on quickly is litter box furniture. These are decorative designer boxes that blend in with your home's décor, making it easy to hide the not-so-attractive litter box. The units can be very decorative and easily maintained. You also offer your kitty a little more privacy by hiding the litter box in a more convenient spot without creating an eyesore.
Keep in Mind Your Cat's Special Needs
If you have an older cat you may want to steer clear of all stairs if possible. Lighting is considerably important as well for an elderly cat. If your cat cannot see the box, it will more than likely miss it altogether. At night, utilize a night-light to illuminate the litter box area so your cat doesn't have to guess at the target spot. Cats have better night vision than humans, but they cannot see in total darkness.
Placing doggie pads around the litter box can help with clean-up if your cat does misfire. It is never a good idea to put a litter box near your cat's food or water dishes, that can definitely spell disaster. Wherever you place the box always make sure the doors are left open or ajar so your cat can reach the litter box with little difficulty.
Keep Your Cat's Litter Clean
Once you find the perfect place for your cat's litter box, keep it fresh and clean as possible. Many cats are turned off by stinky kitty waste, and will often refuse to use the litter box if it is not free of waste. So if you are a using scoopable clumping brand of litter, cleaning the box several times a day is sufficient and highly recommended. Using pooper scooper baggies is an extremely convenient way to get rid of waste. If you are using a non-clumping litter changing and cleaning the box at least once a week is advised.
Using a separate trash can for the baggies can simplify the entire cleaning process. You may want to keep another container outside to avoid indoor odors. And simply empty regularly when full. Some cats are picky about their litter, so you may have to experiment with this a bit. I have two cats who will not use cheap non-clumping litter, so I choose to buy a clumping scoopable litter that my cats will use freely with contentment.
Some litters have built-in odor eaters and others are just a bag of powdery dust. So choose your cat litter wisely. There are numerous litters on the market today that will satisfy you and your cat. Sprinkling baking soda into the litter box will help absorb urine smells. But if it is in your budget, buying a better brand of litter is a wise and simpler maintenance choice.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2011 Boo McCourt
Luna on August 23, 2018:
Do you recommend any lights? I have a enclosed cat house for the litter box and I’m wondering if I should put a light inside
Boo McCourt (author) from Washington MI on March 19, 2014:
Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. I appreciate that. I know my cats are fussy about where their litter box goes.
Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on March 03, 2014:
Cats are amazing felines and your hubs says so much more. The idea of setting up a litter box is most helpful.
Boo McCourt (author) from Washington MI on May 25, 2012:
Thank you, yes litterbox location makes all the difference, especially for A happier cat, not to mention the owner.
rachel on May 24, 2012:
Cats are just as picky as humans are about their potty box and space. I feel this article gives a lot of great information for where to put your litter box. Also how to maintain it and what to use.
Boo McCourt (author) from Washington MI on July 28, 2011:
Thank you Silver Witch, My cat CIA loves his privacy, if I even make a noise he bolts out of the bathroom. His habits have changed a bit since he has lost his sisiter 2 months ago. He wasn't always as touchy.
TheSilver Witch from Greenville, Ohio on July 27, 2011:
We've always kept our litter boxes tucked away, mostly because of smell and appearance. It was great to learn that it's also better for the cat to have it in a secluded spot as well. Great info, very interesting.
Boo McCourt (author) from Washington MI on July 12, 2011:
Well that is the oddest place yet for a litter box. Eating places and litter boxes just dont mix, that's just gross. Thank you for sharing that true story.
ruffridyer from Dayton, ohio on July 12, 2011:
Here is a funny,true story for you. My wife's mother and her sister lived together in a small,house in northern michigan.
We went up there visiting for Thanksgiving one year. Her mom was a terrible cook her sister was just as bad. I wasn't looking forward to it. Anyway their place was really cramped so we had dinner at a small table and as we ate I noticed an odd smell. I glanced under the table and found the Cat Litter box. It had been used. Not my favorite holiday memory
Boo McCourt (author) from Washington MI on June 29, 2011:
Thank you truthfornow. I learned over a 18 year period what worked. I just lost my beautiful 18 year old Ethel June 3rd, she had a kidney failure. It was horrible. I say forego cheap litters and try to get the better ones if you can. Your cat will be happier and so will your nose.
I kept my litterbox in a little closet in the bathroom, with cat supplies on the shelves.
Marie Hurt from New Orleans, LA on June 27, 2011:
My cat's litter box is in her private area ~ the closet next to my bathroom. It is good that you wrote this Hub. A lot of us learned about litter boxes and cat litter through trial and error. And no my cat won't use just any kind of litter. You have saved people the time and trouble of figuring this all out on their own.
Boo McCourt (author) from Washington MI on May 20, 2011:
Hi Matthew- hey you gotta do what you gotta do. I will check out your article as well...
Hey DzyMsLizzy- I don't think I could get my cats to jump in the tub. I have a male who is 16 and rushes through his bathroom experience, often missing the box...I use doggie pads under the litter pan to make the mess easier to clean up...The 17 year old does just fine. But she doesn't seem to like the dark, hence the night light...Thank you for your comment, greatly appreciated...
Hi Scribenet-LOL, My 17 year old Ethel doesn't like waiting either, she wants to go whether I am cleaning or not. I used to keep the box in the linen closet in the bathroom, but they didn't seem to like it, even though they used it for 2 years before making messes. I didn't keep anything but pet supplies in the closet, so i just pulled the box out little by little until it was in the spot they made less messes. Yeah cats are "my way, or no way."
Maggie Griess from Ontario, Canada on May 03, 2011:
Voted up and useful!
My cat has a "bathroom"...his own closet for privacy...with a tile floor for easy cleanup of misses. He is a great one for throwing litter all over as he covers up and he needs a huge litterbox! Plus I use baking soda in the mix since the closet is in the livingroom.
The time he likes using the litter box? Right after I have scooped it!!! Before scoopable litter, a previous cat couldn't wait for the clean litter after the box was cleaned and washed...he would be in there doing his business as I poured in the clean litter...gotta love 'em!! LOL
Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on May 02, 2011:
WE have 4 cats and recently added a 3rd litter box. Our bath is small and narrow, so we had 2 of the triangular corner-fitted boxes, but still had an issue with one of the males (yes, neutered!) spraying over the top of the box!
They don't like the closed-lidded type, so I resorted to taping up plastic drop-cloth material onto the side of the tub for one, and the wall and vanity cabinet for the other.
Even so, we are also dealing with a senior kitty who has had epilepsy all her life, and is on strong meds. Her problem seems to be in thinking, "If my face is over the litter box, I must be in it!"
Since this is a second bathroom, and the tub is too small for comfortable human use, we added the 3rd litter box (high-sided) IN the tub! Now, any 'overshoots' can be simply sprayed down with deodorizing spray, and left until it dries, so I can sweep up the spilled litter, then hose down the tub. (Can't let any litter at all get into the drains, as we are on a septic system.)
I do use a multiple-cat scoopable, though..it does cut the workload down. ;-)
Night light? Cats see great in the dark--we have a night light there for OUR benefit, so we don't step in any surprises left by senior kitty at midnight. ;-)
Great article. Good points.
JS Matthew from Massachusetts, USA on May 02, 2011:
I am embarrassed to admit it, but we keep our box in the kitchen! My daughter cleans it everyday so that it doesn't stink. We have no other place to put it since our place is small.
My bathroom is so tiny, a box literally wouldn't fit! I can't wait to get a bigger place! I wrote a Hub about my cats if you are interested: https://discover.hubpages.com/animals/I-Love-My-Ca
Boo McCourt (author) from Washington MI on May 02, 2011:
Thanks J.S. I have learned a lot from my cats over the last 17 years...I appreciate your comment (:
JS Matthew from Massachusetts, USA on April 30, 2011:
Great article here! A lot of useful information. Glad I Hopped onto this Hub. Voted Up and Useful.
Boo McCourt (author) from Washington MI on April 30, 2011:
Thank you Tammy, I use the bathroom as well. I find scoopable litter is best. That's a great idea you have about changing out the boxes.
Thanks Stephanie, That sounds like a good place for your litter box. I used to keep mine in a small closet in the bathroom, but found they didn't like that much privacy. They sure will let you know though for sure (:
Stephanie Henkel from USA on April 30, 2011:
My cat would certainly agree with everything you said. He is particular about where his litter box is located, and as he gets older, he needs to have it in a convenient, yet out-of-the-way place. As we travel wih our cat in the RV, we had to find a spot for the litter box and hit upon the idea of opening a "doorway" into one of the under-the-floor compartments. He seems o.k. with it as long as it's cleaned frequently. As you suggested, we did put a night light in it. You're right on about kitty litter box needs!
Tammy L from Jacksonville, Texas on April 29, 2011:
Domino's litter box is in the bathroom. That's the only place in our apartment with a large enough tile floor to accommodate the litter box. I use the scoopable litter and two litter boxes. There is always a clean one to use for fresh litter once a month. After I wash the box he is using, I spray the inside with Lysol and put the box away for use the next month.
You've made some very useful recommendations for where to put a litter box.