Cleanliness, Cleanliness, Cleanliness! In any multi-cat household good hygiene is an absolute must! Cats can carry a virus, bacteria, fungal and parasites all of which they can pass to each other quite easily. So when standards start to slip and things start to get dirty the cats can very often get ill and can even make their human family poorly too! So it is important to know how to kill any nasties that might be lurking in the cat’s environment. So what better way to start than the cleaning Cat Litter Trays!?
Now I must mention at the outset of this article the one litter tray per cat plus one extra rule. It quite frankly has never worked for me. I have tried it and I have found that it created double the amount of work. Not only that, the more litter trays I provided for my cats the more they seemed to get the opinion that they ought to be able to go in lots of different places all over the house. If anything the more litter trays I had the more it seemed to reinforce inappropriate ‘wetting’. I replaced the lots of little trays with 2 or 3 large covered trays that have the soiled areas picked out every time. This works a lot better for me and my household of cats.
It is important in a multi-cat household to keep the litter trays as clean as possible. Without delving into too much information, litter trays can host a lot of nasty bacteria and parasites. Cats shed virus’ and parasite eggs and cysts in their faeces. This is one way that cats spread things to each other. The infected cat uses the tray, another cat comes along and they will ingest these nasties after cleaning them off their paws. For this reason any faeces should be removed from the tray at every possible opportunity and I do this several times a day. In fact it seems that Oriental and Siamese cats are quite fussy about their toileting habits and only want to ‘go’ if it is cleaned to their high standards!
The best way to clean your Cat Litter Trays
First; start by emptying out all of the used litter into a carrier or waste bag. Some cat litters are compostable so can be emptied into your green waste or compost bins, and some litters are flushable. But always check the bag to make sure and ensure that your drains are up to it before you start flushing all your litter away. Personally I bag the used litter up and dispose of it in the waste bin.
Next; rinse out the tray with cold water and try to get as much debris off as possible. This is because any disinfectant or bleach will work better if any dirt is washed away first. Then the tray is ready to be cleaned. I use ordinary household bleach for cleaning the trays as it is cheap, easy to get hold of and kills everything! A handy tool to have is a small brush for scrubbing out the tray. I like to use an alloy wheel brush as it just seems perfect for the job! You can pick them up at most car or hardware stores.
Squirt some bleach into the tray and pour in some boiling water. The correct dilution to kill most bacteria, viruses and parasites is 1:32 but I just estimate! Using the alloy wheel brush I give the tray a good scrub and leave it to soak for a few minutes. Then I tip the contents down the drain and rinse well with cold water. Technically the tray should then be left to stand until it dries, although I usually just dry it with a towel that I keep especially for that purpose. There is always a Siamese that really needs to go once you start washing out the tray!
Make sure that you also clean the hood and the door to the tray. I usually use a bleach spray and a cloth soaked in warm water to wash this down or an antibacterial wipe. However, you must ensure that the hood and door are completely dry before you allow a cat to have contact with them.
Finally, after you have filled the tray with fresh litter and it is ready to go back in place make sure that you clean the area around the tray. I brush the area and then either mop it with bleach and hot water or wipe it down with an antibacterial wipe. Again, ensure that the area is completely dry before any cat walks on it.
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