Cat Litter – The Pet Pan

A cat with its mouth open

The cat litter pan is an essential item that cat owners need to have in their homes. It’s necessary for the cat to use when it needs to go potty, and also has the added benefit of preventing cat urine from getting onto your carpeting or flooring. Cat litters come in a variety of types, each with its own pros and cons. In this article, we will explore both traditional cat litters (clay-based granules) and newer cat litters (manufactured crystals, sand-based granules). We will discuss what you should consider before purchasing one type over another as well as any potential drawbacks associated with either type. For those who are unsure which type best suits them, we’ll take a look at cat litters, in general, to assist cat owners in the litter selection process.

We will begin by exploring cat litter pans themselves, including litter box types and cat litter pan components. We will then explore the different types of cat litter that are available today, discussing their pros and cons. Finally, we’ll discuss cat litter irritants, how to reduce cat litter dust levels, cat bowel issues that may lead an owner to have to choose a certain type of cat litter, and what cat owners should consider when purchasing a new cat litter pan or new cat litter.  

The Cat Litter Pan

A cat sitting on top of a grass covered field

Cat litter pans can be made of plastic, rubber-coated wire mesh (often referred to as “sifting” pans), or are solid, with no material covering the cat litter pan floor. Some cat owners have even purchased aluminum baking pans as cat litter pans, though these are not recommended because they don’t give cats privacy while using the cat box and can cause problems if cat droppings are too big to pass through the openings in the pan.

There are two types of cat litter pans available: open-top cat litter boxes and covered cat litter boxes.

Open Top Cat Litter Boxes

A cat lying on a couch

An open-top cat litter box is good for young kittens or elderly cats who may have trouble jumping into a high opening. These tend to be larger than covered cat litters but also don’t provide much privacy for your cat. Open top cat litters are also easy to clean because cat owners can simply lift the cat litter box top off.

Covered Cat Litter Boxes

A covered cat litter pan is smaller than an open-top cat litter box and tends to give more privacy to your cat. However, cat owners cannot easily remove the cat boxes which makes cleaning the cat’s waste more difficult. There are also some cats who do not like using covered cat litter pans because they seem too dark or enclosed. If you own a feline that falls into this category, then it may be best to opt for an open-top cat litter pan.   

The Size & Shape of Your Cat Litter Pan Matters

One should consider how big their cats are before buying a new cat litter pan. If the cat is large, then their cat litter pan should be larger as well. If cat owners buy a cat litter pan that is too small for their cat, they run the chance of the cat not using it or having accidents outside of the cat box.

Cat owners should also consider how many cats will share one cat litter pan before buying a new one. If multiple cats are going to use one cat litter pan, make sure it’s big enough for all of them at once and has high sides so there’s less mess when each feline leaves the cat box after doing his or her business.  

Lastly, consider your cat’s personality when deciding what type of cat litter pan to purchase. For example, if your cat is the type that likes to kick cat litter, try getting a cat litter pan with lower sides so cat litter doesn’t get kicked out.

Cat Litter Pan Components

The cat litter box can be divided into three main components: the bottom of the cat litter pan, the cat ramp (front entrance), and the top of the cat litter box. The cat ramp should extend about two inches over each edge of the cat litter pan to keep dirt from entering when your cat leaves his or her cat box. A good way to test if the front entrance is high enough off the ground is by placing one end of a ruler in front of it; any higher than two inches and it renders itself useless against keeping dirt in when your pet cat leaves his cat box.

Cat Litter Box Liners

Some cat owners use cat litter box liners which help keep any of the cat litter from sticking to the cat litter pan and scooping out the cat litter is easier. These liners will also protect your cat’s cat litter pan against bacteria and odors, and these liners can be disposed of in a trash receptacle instead of washing out a dirty cat litter pan or pouring out clumps of cat waste into the toilet. However, if you decide to go with this option just know that not doing so can get pretty messy!

You do NOT need to get plastic baggies every time you clean your cat’s cat litter box.

Littered Cat Litter

There are cat litters available on the market today that can be used in cat litter pans without cat litter box liners. They comprise different grains, with some being manufactured crystals and others being sand-type cat litters made from recycled paper or natural materials. Some cat litters even have special enzymes to keep odors at bay.

Not only are these cat litter easier for owners to clean up, but they’re also healthy for your cat because they are composed of mostly plant material which is less likely to cause allergies or other serious complications than traditional clay-based cat litter. These types of cat litter pans help make daily cleaning out of your pet’s waste hassle-free and smelly!

Clay Litters

Clay cat litters are the most common type of cat litter and they’re still, as of now, the best cat litters on the market. They’re cheap and effective at absorbing odors and keeping your cat’s cat box clean, but cat owners with an automatic cat litter box will need to reorder more cat litter often because clay cat litter has a tendency to get stuck inside it. Clay cat litters come in pellets or clumps which makes them easy to scoop out so you can maintain a fresh-smelling environment for your pet feline. However, some cats do not like clumping clay cat litters because of how hard they are on their paws when scratching or digging around in their boxes – this makes cat owners want to switch cat litter brands, but in some cases, cats have become so accustomed to cat litters that they won’t use a new cat litter even if it is better for them.

If you’re going to get clay cat litter, make sure you get a high-quality one, or else your cat may think the cat box is dirty and this causes him or her to avoid it completely. Also, don’t buy too cheap of a brand because this could cause health problems with your cat!

Crystal Litters

Crystal cat litters are made from silica gel which absorbs any moisture that falls onto its surface. Silica gel crystals absorb three times more liquid than traditional clay pellets and also produce less dust when cleaning out your cat’s cat box. These cat litters are soft on cat paws and do not need to be changed as often as clay cat litter boxes.

The disadvantage of unique cat litter is that cats can cut their feet if they try digging in it too much, which could bring up the cat litter crystals into your cat’s eyes; therefore, some cat owners choose to opt for other types of cat litters or simply put a mat under their cat boxes to catch any loose crystal dust.

Sand Litters Sand cat litter is composed of either recycled paper or natural grains like wheat, corn cobs, pine needles, orange peels; basically anything organic that has enough absorbency to lessen the chances of bacteria accumulating inside your pet’s cat litter box.

These cat litter brands are usually much cheaper than crystal cat litters, but they must be cleaned out more frequently to avoid getting stinky. Sand cat litter is also dustier than clay cat litter, so if you have allergies or asthma, it might be best for you to use another type of cat litter in your cat’s cat pan because this could trigger unpleasant symptoms in people who suffer from these medical conditions. However, the main benefit of sand-type cat litter is that cats can easily dig into it with their paws without cutting themselves on any sharp debris inside the box.

Of course, there are other types of cat litters not listed above that work just fine – experiment with different types to see which one works best with your cat!

As cat owners, we all want to know how to keep our cat’s litter box fresh and clean. Here are some general tips you can use on a daily basis:

  • Scoop out the cat litter every day – if you have an automatic cat litter box, you will have to restock clay cat litter more often than other brands because it eventually gets stuck inside the machinery of the cat pan after a while of being washed through.
  • Swap out old cat litter once a month or so depending on how many cats you have living in your home
  • When cleaning out, dump used cat litter into your garbage bag but make sure it is tightly wrapped up before disposing of; otherwise, when you put it in the garbage disposal, cat litter could spill everywhere
  • Use cat litter liners to reduce mess when changing cat litters – these also save you money because you won’t have to buy cat litter every time you want to change out your cat’s cat box
  • If it is time for an entirely new cat pan, make sure you get one that is large enough for all of your cats living in your household (usually at least 15 inches by 18 inches)

…and remember, cleanliness is next to snuggliness!

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