Q. My husband and I love our two cats, but we’re fighting over whether they should go outside to do their business. I say it’s too dangerous for them outside. He says litterboxes are unnatural and borderline inhumane –– for the humans! What do you say?
I say you might be better off seeking a different kind of professional help, but I’m happy to take a swing at your litterbox issues.
As long as cats have been commonly accepted indoors, humans have had to contend with “the box.” It’s been both regaled and reviled as the best and the worst thing about keeping cats indoors. I mean, it’s great that they can be so clean and self- sufficient … but does it have to be so gross?
Here are my top five recommendations for minimizing the mess, smell and stress of your litterbox detail –– without resorting to the perilous outdoors.
• Cleanup: The best cleaners for any litterbox (or for any soiling issue) are the ones labeled “enzymatic.” Spritzing the box and its environs weekly will control the smell.
• The box: My favorite is the newfangled top-loading type with ridges to keep stray bits of litter from migrating.
• Litter: To clump or not to clump? Daily scooping is always best. And that clumping is usually easiest. I use the pine variety with baking soda sprinkled in to deodorize.
• Gadgets: I’ve tried automated litterboxes and failed. But my newest gadget seems to be working just fine. It’s a Litter Genie, which works just like a Diaper Genie to secrete away the nasties and keep your area smell-free.
• Wear gloves: They help cut down on the “ick” factor. And they’re cheap.
Dr. Patty Khuly has a veterinary practice in South Miami and blogs at www.dolittler.com. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or Dr. Dolittler, Tropical Life, The Miami Herald, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, FL 33132.