A cat litter pan is essential to meet your cat's indoor 'bathroom' needs. But the right cat litter pan is one that meets your needs as well, especially when it comes to convenience, odor, placement, cleaning and convenience. A rule of thumb is to have one pan per cat, and/or at least one pan per floor PLUS one. So if you have one cat and two floors, you should have two litter pans. If you have two cats and two floors, you should have three litter pans. And it is important to clean the pan daily. Some cats won't use a ‘dirty' cat litter pan. Here are some features to consider when choosing a cat litter pan. Cat Litter Pan Features to Consider
Most cat litter pans are essentially that, a pan, usually plastic, that's from 3” to 6” deep and filled with commercial cat litter. This is the most popular and least expensive variety, and it's a cat litter pan that has served pets and their owners for many years. But cat litter pans have evolved over the years, with changes in style and features. As you might expect, these changes comes with extra costs attached. Only you can decide if your situation warrants more than a basic cat litter pan. The Covered Cat Litter Pan - Some cat litter pans come with tall covers, or hoods, over them. There is a hole in one end of the cover, and the cover is tall enough that the cat can stand comfortably while eliminating. These covers provide privacy for your cat, make the cat litter pan more aesthetically pleasing, and often provide a measure of odor control via charcoal filters placed in vents at the top. However, the filters must be changed often for there to be any noticeable effect. Some cats however don't like the cover. Many cats have the instinct to like to be able to see around them when they eliminate to ensure their “safety”.
The Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Pan - This would seem to be the answer to many a cat owners' prayers. A cat litter pan that cleans itself! Naturally, there's more to it than that. These cost more, and may not always be effective at removing all of the soiled kitty litter. The Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Pan works best with scoopable or clumping litter, and, just because the pan is self-cleaning, that doesn't mean you don't have to empty it periodically. In addition, while the cleaning action is activated by your cat leaving the cat litter pan, some cats may be scared off by the sight and sound of the self-cleaning cat litter pan in action. However, most cats will get used to it and like it.
The Designer Cat Litter Pan - There are varieties of designer or ‘hidden' cat litter pans that are made to look like a plant, or a piece of furniture. Be advised, if you choose one of these models, it's still a litter pan, and so should ideally be placed in a quiet, low-traffic area that your cat will find comfortable.
The Ideal Cat Litter Pan
The ideal cat litter pan is one that is short enough to allow your cat easy access, but tall enough to contain the litter your cat will scratch in the pan. If the cat litter pan is covered, the cover will feature vents with a charcoal filter that you'll change frequently for odor control. This cat litter pan will be made from sturdy plastic that's light to carry, and easy to clean. It holds commercial cat litter, of the clumping, or non-clumping variety, although clumping varieties are recommended for self-cleaning pans. Finally, the ideal cat litter pan is placed in a quiet, low-traffic spot, both to minimize your exposure to any odors, and to provide a safe, quiet place for your cat to eliminate.
More Tips on Cat Litter Pans
Carefully consider where you place the litter pan. It should be in an area where your cat will fieel save and have privacy. It should be away from high traffice areas or areas with loud noises (such as away from the washer, dryer or furnace).
Scoop at least daily. Some cats will not use a dirty litter pan!
Remember, you should have at least one cat litter pan per cat plus one or one litter pan per floor (or whatever is more)!
Plastic cat litter pans will eventually gradually pick up odors that won't come out . You should scrub them periodically (don't use any harsh chemicals that may annoy your cat and rinse well.) You should also plan to replace these types of litter pans every 6 months.
Avoid harsh cleaners that have ingredients such as bleach or ammonia products on the cat litter pan. These chemicals can deter cats from using the pan. Use plain soap and water and rinse really really well.
For more information on why cats won't use a litter pan, click here.
For tips on how to care for your litter pan, click here.