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Outdoor Cat Litter Box – All Things You Need To Know

What comes into your mind with the mention of an outdoor cat litter box? Not many people are aware of the benefits of outdoor litter boxes or what these boxes do. This is why we are going to talk about this today, and you probably find them useful as well. We are going to learn more about cat litter boxes, their benefits, their important features, and many more. Let’s take a look and see if outdoor cat litter boxes are what you need for your outdoor space.

1. What Is An Outdoor Cat Litter Box?

An outdoor cat litter box is a box for outdoor cats that roam around the perimeter of your home to use. It works just like a regular indoor cat litter box, but it is more for cats outdoor. This type of litter box is ideal to have if there are outdoor cats visiting your outdoor space. It saves your time from cleaning up, and it also makes your garden or yard looks better. You can get an outdoor cat litter box if you don’t want outdoor cats to use your garden as a toilet.

So when is the time to get an outdoor cat litter box when your cats don’t even litter outdoor? You should consider putting a litter box when your neighbor’s cats or cats in the neighborhood often visit your garden. Doing so is to provide them with a toilet to use when they need to go. At least you only have to clean up things in one spot instead of finding surprise litter in various areas.

2. Outdoor Cat Litter Box Benefits

One of the most asked questions regarding outdoor cat litter boxes is “Do they actually work?” A study in Japan found that outdoor cats use their litter boxes within weeks exclusively; the boxes are effective. This is just one of the reasons to trust that outdoor cat litter boxes do their job. Below are some of the main benefits of outdoor cat litter boxes that you should know about.

Avoid Disturbing Your Neighbor’s Garden

Neighbors do hate each other because their outdoor cats poop on other people’s property instead of their owners’. Maybe not hate, just a strong dislike. To avoid that strong dislike, you will need to get an outdoor cat litter box for your outdoor cat. Your cat will have a proper place to do their business, and they will not disturb your neighbor’s garden. You never know where your outdoor cat wants to poop, so it is better to keep them on your property.

Easy Inspection

When a cat is sick, you can tell by its poop, so you are able to treat them fast. Some of the most common symptoms that you can see when scooping their poop are diarrhea, worms, and more. A litter box allows you to spot those fast since you have to clean up the box every day. That way, you are able to identify what they have and bring them to the vet on time.

Keep The Area Clean

Having cats poop all over the garden or yard is not a pleasant sight to see; this is what we can agree on. That is not all; they also tend to dig after they finish their business which leaves another unpleasant view. You don’t want to find small holes in your garden or yard, or even worse, around your flowers or plants. With an outdoor cat litter box, that will not be an issue to concern. A cleaner space without tiny litter holes just another reason to get an outdoor cat litter box.

Keep The Cats Safe

Cats can be quite territorial sometimes, so fights are common, and outdoor cats face many more risks than that. You don’t want your outdoor cats to get injured because they don’t have a proper place to do their business. Even worse, you don’t want some mean neighbors to call animal control on your cats because some people do that. There are also people who would harm the cats very badly, but let’s not go there. This is why it is safer for them to stay on your property with their own bathroom.

Minimize The Mess

Since you are here, you probably already know that outdoor cats will go wherever they want to. This simply means you are likely to find their waste in pretty much any place possible around the house. Obviously, you don’t want that. This is why you want to provide them with a litter box so that they have a specific place to go. An outdoor cat litter box will encourage them to use the box instead of using different spots as a toilet. This also makes it easier for you to clean since you know where they litter in, saving your cleanup time.

Provide Convenience For Outdoor Cats

For those who have outdoor cats, an outdoor litter box is a must-have for a few reasons. There are times when your outdoor cats stay outside on days with bad weather. An outdoor litter box is going to make things convenient for them when they need to use the bathroom. Place it in an area where your outdoor cats commonly stay, like in the barn, shed, etc. So when they need to go, they will have a proper litter box to use.

Another thing is that injured or sick cats and old outdoor cats also need an outdoor cat litter box. Mainly because it is not easy for them to move around or to walk far to do their business. To make things convenient for them, you should place an outdoor litter box somewhere they can easily go to.

Transition Outdoor Cats To Indoor Cats

There will be a point when you want to transition your outdoor cat to an indoor-outdoor cat. So when is that? Glad you asked; it is when your outdoor cats are getting older, and staying indoors is more comfortable and safer for them. By teaching them how to use a litter box when they are outdoors, you are able to train them first. This also means you won’t have to worry that they will be fussed about using an indoor litter box as well. Even better, your cats will be more disciplined since they can use litter boxes both indoor and outdoor.

3. Cat Litter Box Types

Before you choose an outdoor litter box, you should also know what type there are. Depending on where you put them, there are a few types that you can take into consideration. Some of the boxes are ideal for both indoor and outdoor while others are better to be outdoor than indoor. Let’s take a look and see which one among the 5 that you like the most.

Clear Hood Litter Box

While cats don’t like to be in an enclosed space, there is still a solution to that if you prefer a lid. Take a clear hood litter box; for example, it is still visible despite the cover, so the cats won’t feel trapped. This also means the outdoor cats are able to see their environments so they can leave if there are enemies. Clear hood litter boxes are an ideal option if you want the box to have a cover without being rejected by the cats.

This type is ideal for both indoor and outdoor use, and it works great. It functions as a waterproof cat litter box thanks to the hood so that you can leave it outside. A waterproof cat litter box is a must-have for outdoor use since the weather is unexpected sometimes. You wouldn’t want to go back to a mess after a rainy day or night. As long as the box is big and spacious, your outdoor cats will happily use it as a bathroom.

Covered Litter Box

As for this type, it is more suitable for indoor use when the cats feel safe. Even if it has a cover, at least the cats know that they are safe from predators inside the house. There are so many different designs of cover litter boxes, and they look great indoors too. With various appearances and designs, you will be able to select the ones that match your home décor as well. Some even come in a set that includes a scooper and other accessories in one which is so convenient.

Top-Entry Litter Box

What’s special and unique about a top-entry litter box is that it has high walls which is more private. This type is also ideal for big or tall cats and cats that like to jump. When buying a top-entry litter box, make sure that the entrance is large enough for your cats. That way, they are able to get in and out comfortably and conveniently every time. Most top-entry litter boxes also include a grated surface that collects litter from the cats’ paws when they exit. This is to ensure that everything is clean, leaving a litter-free floor for you.

Uncovered Litter Box

It does not have to be always fancy, and that is why an open top litter box is among the most popular. Your cats will be able to get in and out with ease, and cleanup is also a breeze. The nice thing about this type is that it is healthy to use, and it does not trap odor. Just leave it somewhere far from human traffic, and your cats will be able to use it.

When buying an uncovered litter box, make sure that it is non-stick so that cleanup is easy. The material should be durable and rugged, and it should be spacious enough for your cats to use. Great for both indoor and outdoor, you might want to take that into consideration.

4. Litter Types

Cat litter allows the cats to bury their feces and urine after they finish doing their business. People can be so creative when it comes to litter types, using random things they can find around the house. Being clever is good, but not all litter types are safe for cats. Below are some of the idea litter choices that you should get for outdoor cat litter boxes.

Clay

When it comes to the most popular litter type, clay stands on top of the list. Clay litter is dust-free and low-dust, and it comes with scented and unscented varieties for you to choose from. No matter what type of clay litter you select, their performance is the same. Clay litter absorbs urine then turns into a soft and wet cement-like texture after. More than that, there are also clumping and non-clumping options available. If you prefer scooping, then go for the clumping option. You can also go for the non-clumping option if dumping the entire litter is more convenient for you.

Corn Litter

So natural and so unique, corn litter is one of the best litter types to choose for cats. The interesting thing about corn litter is that it comes in various scents that you can choose from. At the same time, it is biodegradable due to the combination of dried corn kernels. This type is special because it absorbs urine and clumps, and it is lightweight due to its formula. When buying corn litter, make sure to look for a safe option that is free from aflatoxins.

Grass Litter

Probably not the most common type of cat litter, but it also does its job nicely in a way. Grass litter is a natural alternative to clay litter, and no, it does not look like grass. It is more similar to corn or pine litter since it is a dried grass seed litter type. Another good thing about this type is that it clumps, so cleanup is easy and fast for you. It is biodegradable and natural, and it does not contain any chemicals or dye that can affect the cats at all. Not to mention that it is also lighter and softer, many cats also like it too.

Pine Litter

Here we have one of the best and most popular litter types in the cat world. Pine litter has a natural ability to fight off odors, and it is also natural since it is made from pine trees. More than that, it is lightweight, low-dust, and soft, which is so convenient for cats to use. Pine litter is absorbent, and there are clumping and non-clumping options available for you to choose from. The clumping ones are in a ground-up form while the non-clumping ones come in the form of cylindrical pellets. Both work great, and the decision is all yours to make.

Sand

This is the most natural litter for outdoor cats since they have been using it since forever. Also, this is the reason why you are likely to find cat poop in spots with sand more than other areas. Mainly because it is comfortable on their paws, and sand can cover their poop well. Therefore, you can use sand as cat litter outdoor since it is economical and easy. Not to mention that cats are naturally attracted to sand and it clumps well; there is every reason to use it. The only drawback is that sand does not retain urine odors, but it is not an issue for outdoor use.

Silica Gel

Works great but has a pricey tag; silica gel is one litter type that you might find interesting. One of the main features of this litter is that it binds odor with its unique structure. Instead of removing clumps, you can simply change the silica gel. Silica gel litter absorbs moisture until it reaches its capacity, meaning it can last for up to 4 weeks. During those four weeks, it does not give off the smell of cat urine at all. You won’t need to change the litter for a month with silica gel, making it suitable for busy owners. The best part is that silica gel is almost entirely dust-free which makes it perfect for households with allergies.

Walnut Shell Litter

This is one of the latest litter options that appear on the market lately, and its quality is great. Walnut shells have high absorbency, making them a great option for clump and odor control. Plus, with the fact that it is low dust, walnut shell litter is also more appealing to the cats too. Walnut shell litter comes in the form of granular, and it is both biodegradable and low-tracking. Not to mention that it lasts longer than some other types, it is one of a kind to consider.

Wheat Litter

Not different from pine, wheat litter is another alternative to clay litter that you can take into consideration. Wheat litter is environmentally-friendly, and it is made from processed wheat. This type also clumps, and it helps very well with odor control. The best part is that you can use it both indoor and outdoor, and it is flushable which is a plus. Cleanup is easy, and it is absolutely safe for cats.

5. Things To Consider When Buying A Cat Litter Box

Cat litter boxes can be a little pricey, regardless of indoor and outdoor use. This is why you want to choose them carefully so that you won’t waste your money buying the wrong ones. This quick buying guide is going to show you some important features to look for when buying outdoor cat litter boxes. Feel free to check them out, and you will be able to find the right outdoor cat litter box easily.

Durability

You know durability is important because you will leave the outdoor cat litter box out in the open. When it comes to durability, you want to focus on the build and materials of the box itself. Some of the most common materials for outdoor cat litter boxes are plastic and wood. If you go for plastic, make sure that it is durable and tough enough to withstand outdoor elements. At the same time, it should be able to handle the cat’s weight because cats do jump on litter boxes. Things are the same with the wooden ones; you can go for pressed woods since they are strong and sturdy. In case you select a stainless steel litter box, make sure that it is rust-free and stain-free.

The build of the litter box itself is also crucial, especially with the parts. You have to know that you will take out parts from the box when cleanup, depending on the design. Some litter boxes just break or crack not long after the repeated assemble and disassemble. You want to make sure that parts of the box are easy to remove so that its durability remains the same. The build or the design of the litter box is important, so don’t forget to consider this part.

Easy Maintenance

Maintenance is among the main factors that you must not overlook when buying a cat little box. It should be easy and simple to clean up, and there should not be too many gaps to clean. Look for a litter box that is resistant to odor and stain so that cleanup is more convenient for you. No one wants to spend hours scrubbing the stain or trying to get rid of the smell. There are many outdoor cat litter boxes that are odor-resistant and stain-resistant for you to choose from. Easy and fast cleanup also means easy to maintain, making the box long-lasting for years of use.

Handle

A handle is always handy, especially if you often move the litter box from one place to another. It could be for cleanup or when your outdoor cats move to a different spot often. A litter box with a handle makes it so much more convenient for you to transport to various places. Carrying a cat litter box using a handle is way better than holding it with both hands. And if the cat litter box that you get is heavy, a handle will make portability easier. This could be optional, but it is always useful to have.

Height

Why does height matter? Not all cats can jump and leap, especially the old ones. This is why you have to consider the height of the outdoor cat litter box before getting one. See if it is comfortable and easy for your outdoor cats to get in and get out or not. The cats will end up not using the litter box if they find it uncomfortable for them. Think about the age and size of your cats, and that allows you to get a suitable litter box for them.

Removable Cover

Cats like to do their business in private but not in a confined space. You will need an outdoor cat litter box with a removable cover for two main reasons. First of all, you can take the cover off during the daytime so that the cats can use it conveniently. The cats will be able to get in and use their bathroom with ease during any time of the day. Second of all, the cover will protect the litter in case of bad weather when there is rain outside. So in case, the weather is not good, you can always protect the content in the box with a cover. Not to mention that it makes cleanup easier for you, it is quite useful so don’t forget to look for it.

Size

When it comes to cat litter boxes, the bigger means, the better. While cats love being in small and tight spaces, they prefer to use a spacious bathroom. A roomy cat litter box allows the cats to get in, use, bury their wastes, and get out easily. Even if your outdoor cats are not large, it is always nice to give them a big and nice bathroom. The size of the box is important, and so is the size of the entrance. It should be easy for them to get in and out, and the outdoor cats will surely enjoy their litter box.

6. How To Train Outdoor Cats To Use Litter Box

This could be a challenging task for new cat owners, but don’t worry because things are not so difficult. Just a few things, and you will be able to train your outdoor cats to use a little box in no time. The thing that you should know is that you have to be patient because things like these take time. Not all cats can get used to using litter boxes right away, so give them some time.

Preparation

Appeal

First impression is important, and you want to give that to your outdoor cat litter box. The thing is that what appealing to the cats’ litter box is not something that is appealing to you. So what you want to do is put a piece of their feces into the litter box as an introduction. This simply makes them see the box as their new bathroom, and you might want to do that for quite some time. Or, you can use commercial products to attract cats to the litter box since there are many options. This approach is shown to work, and it is also nicer, especially when you don’t want to use cat feces.

Location

One of the first things that you should know is the location to place the outdoor cat litter box. Knowing cats, they like to do their business in private, so the best place is somewhere quiet and sheltered. Cats often avoid humans when they do their business, so make sure to avoid areas with human traffic. Select a spot where they usually go to litter, not a spot where you think is suitable for the litter box. At the same time, that spot should also be away from where they eat and sleep. The best way is to observe where they like to go and put the litter box there; it is more effective that way.

Hygiene

Could be a lot of work, but you should always keep the litter box clean if you want the cats to keep using them. Scoop the litter at least once every day because cats will never use a dirty litter box. Cats don’t like to get their paws in a dirty and smelly area, so clean the litter box daily. Keeping the outdoor litter box clean is good because it also reduces odor and prevents bugs like flies out.

At the same time, make sure to change the litter at least once a month because daily cleaning is not enough. That is because the litter will absorb odors and become smelly, and once again, cats don’t like that. If you want them to use the litter box, make sure to make it as appealing as possible. Just remove the old litter monthly, clean the box with unscented detergent, and fill it with fresh litter.

Litter Type

Different cats prefer different types of litter, and that is one of the most important things to have in mind. Some outdoor cats like sand while others like soil, so you have to know what they like to attract them. To test the water, you should start with something sand-like and unscented. Once they start to become familiar with it, mix a little bit of litter every few weeks. Then use just the litter once the cats get used to your mixes and have no problem with them.

Sometimes this method is not always successful because some cats refuse to use the litter. That is when you want to slow down with the litter and add more soil to get their interest back. One of the most effective ways is using the most natural litter possible like ground corn, walnut shell pellet, etc.

Privacy

There are two things that define privacy for outdoor cat litter boxes, the design of the box and the location. We already discussed the location above, so what about the design of the litter box? A good outdoor cat litter box should have a removable cover for protection in case of bad weather. Avoid a covered little box because cats don’t like an area where they can’t escape, leaving them vulnerable. More than that, look for a spacious litter box so that it is comfortable for them to get in and out.

Try to focus more on the quality so that you won’t have to waste money buying the wrong ones. This is why you want to choose an outdoor cat litter box with a proper design, not just the appearance. You should also build some sort of screen to make the litter box as private as possible. Cats find that appealing, and that will attract them to use the litter box fast as well. You might want to avoid the self-scooping litter box if your cats are timid because the sound scares them.

Note: A rule of thumb with a cat litter box is having one litter box per cat plus one extra. Cats don’t share bathrooms, and you want to have a spare one just in case so don’t overlook this part.

Training

Catnip

One way is to use catnip, and all you need to do is place it near the litter box rim. There are different types of catnip that you can use, such as dried leaves, sprays, and more. Catnip attracts cats, so they step into the box to smell it. With the preparation that you do to make the litter box appealing, some cats will accept this new litter box. Catnip is absolutely safe for cats, and it plays a part in training cats to get to know litter boxes.

Rewards

One of the most effective ways to train your domesticated friends is to reward them. Giving rewards can speed up the training process, with a more positive result for both you and the cats. The most ideal reward is treats and rewards them to the cats whenever they finish using the litter box. Praise them, pet them, and give them a treat every time they use the litter box. Cats learn fast, and knowing that they get a treat whenever they use the litter box will definitely encourage them.

Manual Way

For those who often come into contact with outdoor cats, then you can begin with this method. Simply show the box to the cats and let them smell it; this could work fast. Some cats will get it right away that it is where they should go to when they need to litter. If they don’t, try setting them down gently into the litter. Sometimes they will jump out, so give them some time and use the methods above.

Another way is to pick the cat up and carry them to the box when you see them doing business elsewhere. This is one way to tell them that this box is a place they can use as a toilet. If they are far from the box, wait until they are done and move their poop into the box. Let the cats see that, and things are the same when they pee. After some time, they will give the litter box a try because they don’t like being disturbed every time they do their business.

Important Note: Never punish the cats when they refuse to use the litter box. This will only discourage them and make them avoid the box instead of giving in. Always use positive ways to train your cats, and they will get used to the litter box eventually.

Final Words

Outdoor cat litter boxes are great, and you should definitely give them a shot. They keep your area clean and free from cat litter, and they are useful for your outdoor cats too. Not to mention that some litter boxes look so nice; they will complement your space also. You can either DIY your outdoor cat litter box or get one; the decision is all yours to make. So if you think that outdoor cat litter boxes are suitable for your needs, feel free to get one or two.

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