I don’t talk about litter box issues much here. My human has rarely had to deal with them. And since I’m currently the only kitty here, keeping my facilities clean is pretty easy for her. But I do like to show things from a cat’s point of view, and I think describing our litter boxes in terms of human toilets will help people better understand what we go through.
Imagine, if you will, an outhouse that may or may not be conveniently placed. If you’re lucky, it’s easy to find and only a few steps away. If you’re not so lucky, you have to go through dark corridors you usually avoid. Maybe you have to travel down to a basement, or go to the other side of the house to a room that nobody uses or visits. Or it’s right next to where you eat all your meals. That’s icky.
The floor of the outhouse is covered with the grime of many feet that have been there before. It’s kind of gross, really, but you don’t have any other choices. If you have a good bathroom attendant, it’s kept relatively clean so it’s not too dirty and smelly. If the bathroom attendant is a bit sloppy, it can get pretty ripe in there, and you have no idea what you might be stepping in.
An outhouse without a roof helps keep it from smelling so repulsive when you use it. If it’s got a roof, it can get really unpleasant if your bathroom attendant hasn’t been there for a while. An old outhouse has some icky smells permanently carved into the floor and sides. I hope it’s not too difficult to get and out of, if you are older and arthritic, three legged, or have some other issue with your mobility.
You have to share this outhouse with the rest of your family, and hopefully everyone gets along. If not, there could be some drama and bullying. I hope you aren’t the one getting jumped every time you need to go!
So yeah, a litter box at its best is a slightly smelly place that’s usually clean enough for you to do your business without complaint. At worst, every time you go to the litter box, it’s a treacherous trip to a strange part of the house, or one where you risk getting into an argument just to relieve yourself. To be honest, most litter boxes are somewhere in between most days, leaning more towards cleanliness than the ugly alternative.
Even if you, as the bathroom attendant, have exemplary skills, your own facilities will always be cleaner and more pristine than ours. Even kitties who live outside have it better because they don’t have to keep digging in the same place over and over, and it’s not that hard to find a fresh patch of dirt.
I have no specific recommendations or suggestions because every family is different. Needs are different, spaces are different. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to litter boxes.
But it helps if you keep us and our perspective in mind when making decisions about our litter boxes. A lot of times, people mainly consider what’s convenient for them, and our comfort is way back in second place. But if you put our comfort first, in the long run it will be more convenient for you because the issues will be far fewer. It’s just something that I hope you keep in mind.
Other posts you’ll enjoy:
- Going Before You Go, or Using the Litter Box Before Traveling
- Litter Box Tips and Tricks for the Holidays
- Human Litter Box Training, Step One