How Often Should You Change Cat Litter?

Have you ever wondered how often should you change cat litter? Changing the litter should be done every two to four days if your cat uses a litter box every day. It is better to use clumping litter, which traps odors and makes it easier to scoop out the litter when needed. The frequency of litter change also depends on the type of litter you use, as some are more absorbent than others, masking odors and allowing cats to relieve themselves more frequently. Choosing the right type of litter depends on a number of factors, including the amount of liquid your cat consumes and the temperature of your home. However, in general, cats usually urinate or defecate every twenty-four to thirty-six hours.

A cat litter change guide can help you maintain your standard of care and help your feline friend remain clean and happy.

How often should you change cat litter?

How often should you change cat litter? The frequency of litter change is dependent on a number of factors, including the type of litter you use and how many cats you have. If you use a clumping litter, it’s best to scoop the box daily and change it out completely at least monthly. If you have more than one cat, it may be best to change the cat litter more often, every 2-3 weeks. But there are many factors coming into play when taking this into consideration. First and foremost, the type of litter you choose makes a difference in how often you need to change the cat litter.

How often should you change clumping cat litter?

Clumping litter absorbs a cat’s waste and forms hard clumps that you can easily scoop out of the litter box, leaving the unsoiled cat litter behind. So, the answer to the question “how often you should change clumping cat litter” is: you should clean the litter box daily and change it out completely at least once every month. Plus, if you have more than one cat, you will want to change the cat litter more frequently, about every 2-3 weeks.

How often should you change non-clumping cat litter?

On the other hand, as the non-clumping litter saturates, urine may begin to pool in the bottom of the box. Therefore, removing soiled waste is often difficult without changing the entire box. Many cat parents find that they need to replace the litter and clean the litter box twice a week for only one cat. For a multiple-cat household, every other day may work better.

Besides, when it comes to changing litter, there are some other important factors that you should consider as below:

How often should you clean a litter box if you have two cats?

Based on the number of cats

Like us humans, cats like to have their own space and their own resources. So, sharing a litter box can stress out a cat, especially when multiple cats are all trying to share one box.

Even if they don’t mind sharing, you will expect to change the litter more often than in single-cat homes. So, how often should you change cat litter for two cats, three cats, or even more? As we mentioned earlier, changing the litter every about 2-3 weeks will help to ensure your little friends’ well-being and prevent any toileting problems.

You know, you can find several litters available on the market now that are specifically designed for multiple-cat households. They offer incredible odor-controlling abilities and those types of litter also clump more readily.

If you live in a multiple-cat household, we recommend you have a number of litter boxes equal to the number of cats you have, plus one extra. For instance, prepare three litter boxes if you have two cats.

Based on your cats’ sizes

Based on your cats’ sizes

One more important thing you should keep in mind is that: how often you are going to replace the cat litter tray also depends on the size of your cats. While some small cats deposit tiny feces and a small amount of pee, others are much larger and they eliminate larger poop and more urine.

Your cat’s actual output also plays an important role in how often you need to scoop away or change the entire box. You will expect to clean the litter box more frequently with large breed cats as the litter will get dirty and start to smell much faster.

Based on your cats’ behavior

It’s no secret that cats are fastidious animals. Some cats are more finicky about the frequency you clean out the litter box than others. They will start acting out if they feel the litter box isn’t clean enough. When the box becomes too dirty, it’s likely that they’ll refuse to go in it and find somewhere else around the house to go instead. To avoid this dilemma, try to change the whole cat litter more often.

Based on your cat’s diet

Pay attention to your cat’s diet

The cat’s personal diet also influences how often you should replace the cat litter. Mostly, it’s because of the stinky smell coming from the cat waste. Some cats’ diets can be a common culprit behind the extremely foul poop. For example, a cat eating wet, high-protein food is likely to have more pungent odors than a cat eating dry food.

When you notice that irritating odor lingering around the house, it’s time for you to scoop – or change the litter altogether. Sometimes, it could be the result of your four-legged friends using the restroom more often than usual, or maybe just because you forgot to scoop out the litter box. Whenever your nose smells the stinky odor, it means that the litter box is overdue for a cleaning.

Based on your cat’s health

scented cat litter

Usually, a cat without any health problems generally pees 2-4 times per day. However, a cat’s urination schedule may be affected by some factors like fluid intake, age, and home temperature. In case there are any changes in how often your cats urinate, check with your vet as this may be a signal of bladder or kidney diseases.

As for more solid business, it happens every 24 to 36 hours throughout the day in general. Plus, kittens tend to poop more often than adult cats. But there’s no need to worry if your cats defecate more than that.

Sometimes, a cat’s defecation schedule alters as a result of some agents such as diet, exercise habits, medications, and overall health. If you find your cat is suffering from diarrhea or constipation and it lasts more than one day or two, see your vet to figure out the cause as soon as possible.

How often to change crystal cat litter?

Crystal cat litter

Generally, there are no hard-and-fast rules for how often to change the cat litter. Apart from what has just been discussed, different ingredients and formulas of brands on the market also make a difference in terms of cleaning regularity.

Made from tiny silica gel beads that are very absorbent, almost dust-free, and control odors, crystal litters result in less-frequent litter box changes. With daily scooping of fecal waste, the owner of a single adult cat only needs to change the litter once every month.
It’s easy to notice when the urine reaches the bottom of the pan and it starts to smell bad. It means that the litter has reached the absorbency limit and you have to change the whole litter box out.

How often to change clay cat litter?


Clumping clay

Thanks to the absorbent bentonite clay material which forms into hard clumps every time your Tom pees in it, clumping clay litter makes cleaning the litter box very easy – all you need to do is to shovel the soiled clumps.

Dr. Elsey recommends completely changing the litter box monthly if you are using clumping clay litter. Note that, though, remove the clumps daily and top them off with fresh litter to ensure a three-inch level.

Non-clumping clay

Although non-clumping clay litters don’t form into clumps, it has a powerful ability to absorb relatively large volumes of urine and remove odors associated with your little furry friend’s waste. Also, it’s much cheaper than clumping clay.

However, cat parents should expect to change the litter more often since it starts to stink sooner compared to bentonite clay. Remember to dump it all out at least once every week to keep the box clean.



Made from ground wheat, this biodegradable cat litter does a great job of odor-controlling. However, its clumping ability is not as good as clay or crystal litter.

The litter box filled with wheat litter should be completely changed every 3 weeks, as wheat can attract bugs or mold if not stored properly.



Corn litter is environment-friendly, biodegradable, and highly absorbent and it also has an effective odor control property. Like wheat, though, this cat litter entices bugs or molds if it’s not handled well. To avoid any litter box problems, we recommend that cat parents should scoop daily and change out total every 3 weeks.


Pine cat litter

The manufacturers claim that pine litter is usually made from pine lumber scraps that are recycled and heat-treated to extinguish the oils, toxins, and allergens of the wood. This cat litter is now available in pellet, granule, and crushed pine form. The pine scent neutralizes and reduces the smell of ammonia and urine effectively.

Based on the different types of pine cat litter you choose (clumping or non-clumping), you are getting into different replacement times, about 4 weeks for clumping and 3 weeks for non-clumping.



Walnut cat litter works very similarly to clumping clay litter. It is made from crushed walnut shells, which is a highly absorbent material and also does an excellent job of masking odors. Plus, it clumps so you can remove the dirty litter easier.

Like wheat and corn cat litter, though, walnut can attract bugs, so you should change the entire content of the box every 3 weeks.

Recycled Paper

Recycled Paper

Recycled paper litter is available in pellet or granule form. Because they are typically made from all-natural ingredients, paper litters are biodegradable and environment-friendly. The paper material works quite well in absorbing the urine and eradicating the dust tracked around the litter box.

We recommend changing the whole litter every 2.5 weeks since paper cat litter doesn’t have good odor control quality.


How many times a day should you clean cat litter?

Dr. Stephanie Janeczko said: “Litter boxes should be scooped at least once or twice a day, and it’s even better if you can get to it as soon as your cat has finished his business” – but in truth, it isn’t convenient for you and it isn’t actually necessary either.

Ideally, scoop the box twice a day. If it’s not possible, you can get by with a single daily scoop. Though, don’t let it sit for more than one day if you don’t want to be confronted with a gross litter box when arriving home.

How often should you change cat litter for an indoor cat?

When it comes to keeping your cat’s litter box nice and clean, you should scoop the feces out of the litter every day and replace the entire litter at least once a week. If the tray becomes dirty, your feline friend will soon let you know by going to the toilet elsewhere on the floor instead.

How often should a litter tray be washed?

To keep the litter box clean, scooping the litter daily is just one thing, sometimes, it needs more than that. Even when you provide regular litter box scooping and changing, the tray itself can still hold foul odors.

All you need to do is simply wash the tray with gentle dish soap and warm water, or you can use some vinegar to clean the litter box. Avoid using strong disinfectants or strong-smelling products as these may be unpleasant for your furry friends and decrease the chances of them using the box again. We recommend cleaning the box regularly even when you are living in an apartment, and washing the litter tray once every month, but, of course, you can wash it more frequently if you prefer.

Why does my cat freak out when I clean the litter box?

It is instinctual that your little friend considers the litter box as part of their territory, and it’s imperative to cover their feces and urine under the litter. Having you digging up their deposits and making changes to their territory is unwelcome and sometimes, it can pose your cat to freak out.

Another reason for your cat freaking out when you clean their litter box is dominance. A litter box is a place where one cat demonstrates dominance over others within the house. So, after you’ve washed away all the smells and markings, they are very keen to get back into the box and race to mark their spot again. A simple cleaning action shouldn’t disturb your cats.

In fact, however, they are more likely to get upset by a dirty and smelly litter box than by one that’s just been washed.


Hopefully, the question “how often should you change cat litter?” is now answered. The litter box cleaning frequency depends on the number of kitties, the type of litter you are using, and your cat’s health. Good litter box maintenance includes scooping daily, regularly changing out the cat litter, and deep cleaning the litter box.

Take some time to experiment and find out the most suitable routine for changing out the litter for your cats. Feel free to comment if you have any further questions.

2 thoughts on “How Often Should You Change Cat Litter?”

  1. I love my cats, but cleaning them is exhausting. I hate the smell of her poop and urine. My choice is clay, natural dirt that is very absorbent. Based on my many years of experience with cats, I find it advisable to replace it every 2 weeks or so.


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