Set up Litter Boxes your Bengal will Love

Whether you are first bringing your kitten home to your house or if you've experienced some accidents, you want to make sure you have the proper system in place to keep your Bengal's pee pee in its proper location - the litter box. 

First, you want to be prepared with the right type of litter box.  In most cases, litter boxes are made with human convenience in mind, but think about it, what is ultimately most convenient for the human is that the cat uses the litter box.  So what kind of litter boxes do CATS prefer? 

Cats like litter boxes to be large and uncovered.  When shopping for a litter box, skip the pet stores.  The best litter boxes are large, high sided storage tubs. As far as your cat is concerned, the bigger the better.  The litter box should minimally be at least one and a half times as long as the cat. 

Next, you have to figure where to put these litter boxes - and yes, I said boxes, plural.  You really do need one more litter box than you have cats.  They cannot all be placed side by side of one another.  Cats have an instinctual need to establish their territory, and one of the ways they claim this territory is through urine. 

While most people start out with a litter box in the cat's safe room, you must also have litter boxes in the most heavily used rooms.  So yes, this means the family room, the living room, the bedroom, and any other room that the cats claim.  Once again, we can't do what is convenient for the people and expect the cat to adapt.  Some will, but others won't.  We must adjust to the cat's needs. 

In addition to having litter boxes located in highly prized rooms, they should not be in a space where a cat feels trapped.  Going to the bathroom can be a vulnerable time for a cat.  If a cat is ambushed by another cat or a dog while it is using a litter box, it needs an escape route.  If it doesn't have one, it will never likely return to that box if it ever feels threatened while using it. By placing a large storage container litter box behind these cat cubes, we've created a safe place, in a highly prized territory, and we do not have to look directly at it. 

So now you've placed large storage containers in highly prized locations around the house, but what do you put in them?  Once again, you have to think like the cat, not like the human.  What you'd like and what the cat likes are likely to be two different products.  First, since all domestic cats have their roots in the African desert, you need to pick a litter that has a texture like sand.  Sand is the original cat litter, and it is what cats are more drawn to.  Avoid all litters in textures that are not sand-like. 

Next, they instinctively bury their urine and feces and clumping litter encapsulates their waste which cats like.  A 1990s research study definitely concluded that cats prefer clumping litter.  While people often like to go organic, in this situation, it is better to go with what the cat likes than with what you like. 

Finally, the odor.  Cats can't stand scented cat litter.  Floral and citrus scents are their least favorite, and most cat litters are scented with a floral or a citrus scent.  Sand doesn't have a strong smell, and since sand is the original cat litter, neither should your litter.  Don't try to compromise by buying unscented litter and then placings scented deodorizers all around it.  If you do not want to smell your cat's litter box, you can feed a species appropriate diet - raw meat/bones - as this leads to a minimal odor of the fecal matter and scoop regularly. 

Cats are fastidious.  Not only do they like their box clean, but they like the house clean as well.  So the last tip for keeping your cat pee in the litter box is to keep everything clean.  Scoop the litter box daily.  Scrub it with soap and water regularly, and don't leave piles of clutter around your house as that clutter cat looks like a new litter box to your cat. 

To review, the steps you need to take to lead to litter box success are: 

Buy storage containers as litter boxes. 
Place them in highly desired territory around your house. 
Fill them with unscented, clumping cat litter. 
Keep the litter boxes and your house clean. 

For more information, Jon, Robyn, and our Bengal cats, visit our website at www.quality-bengal-kittens.com 

Reference Articles 

Becker, Karen. "Top Three Reasons Cats Avoid their Litter Box." Healthy Pets. 24 March 2012.  http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2010/03/24/top-three-reasons-cats-avoid-their-litter-box.aspx 

Guy, Norma C, Marti Hopson and Raphael Vanderstichel. "Litterbox size preference in domestic cats." Journal of Veterinary Behavior. March-April 2014.  http://www.journalvetbehavior.com/article/S1558-7878(14)00003-3/abstract 

"You're Setting Up Your Litter Box Wrong." Jackson Galaxy. 25 August 2014. http://jacksongalaxy.com/blog/2014/08/25/cat-mojo-litter-box-101-youre-setting-up-your-litter-box-wrong

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