How Often To Change the Sand in your Cat’s Litter

How often you should change the sand in cat’s litter:

Change your cat’s sand litter twice weekly. Clean the box thoroughly with unscented soap, and water before filling it with fresh sand. Also, scoop the litter daily.

Use protective gear when changing.

Sand quickly absorbs urine and does not mask the odor, so is best used only as an emergency litter.

Sand often serves as a substitute if you have run out of cat litter, or are looking for a cheaper litter option.

As with other types of litter, hygiene needs to be maintained when using sand as a litter preference.

In this article, I will tell you how often to change the sand in your cat’s litterbox.


Change Sand Litter Once or Twice Weekly

The Humane Society recommends changing and replacing cat litter twice a week as a general guideline. If you have two or more cats, you will have to change it even more often, unless you have different litter boxes for each cat.

However, this also depends on the number of cats in the household, your cat’s output and health, and your preferences.

Some cats are big and have larger poop and greater amounts of urine. Others have tiny feces, and smaller amounts of pee.

Dump and replace all of the sand regularly to keep things fresh.

Cats appreciate good litter habits. They will often let you know if their box is not being kept up to their standards.

If you notice an odor or much of the litter is wet or clumped, then it’s time for a change.


How to Change Sand Litter

Follow these steps:

  1. Place a garbage bag over the end of the litterbox. Tilt the box to pour all the sand into the bag. 
  2. Use a litter scoop to scrape any cat litter that might be stuck to the bottom of the litter pan.
  3. Alternatively, carry the litter box to a large outside trash can and pour all the contents into the trash bag.
  4. Wash the litter box with a mild unscented soap or detergent and water. A bristled scrub brush will be of help to do this job. Don’t use chemicals such as bleach or ammonia.
  5. Dry the cat box with a towel. But if possible, allow to air dry in the sunlight.
  6. Fill the box with 3-4 inches of fresh sand litter.

After completely dumping the litter, take the box or to a utility sink in your house. It’s also important to protect yourself using a face mask, rubber gloves, and goggles.

Sand absorbs all urine and quickly becomes a mess. That’s why regular scooping is important.

However, there are things you can do to improve sand, and make it more functional as cat litter. One thing you can do is mix a cup of baking soda into the sand.

This helps minimize the bad odor.


Preparing a Sand Litterbox

Add 2 to 3 inches of sand into your cat’s litterbox and let them use it. You can buy sand from online stores. It is the same type of sand you buy for a kids’ sandbox.

If you buy sand, you are guaranteed its safety. But if you collect sand yourself, it could be harboring diseases and parasites.

To kill these bacteria that may be lurking in the sand, bake it in the oven for at least 10 minutes at 260 degrees Fahrenheit.

Allow the sand to completely cool before filling it in the box.

If your cat likes to dig deeper, you may have to add more sand to the box, to satisfy its urge to dig. This might help prevent clumps from getting stuck to the bottom of the pan.


Advantages of Using Sand as Cat Litter

Sand litter may not be the perfect solution, but there are a few advantages to using this type of litter:


1. Clumps easily when wet

If you are a fan of clumping litter, then sand is a good option for you. Sea sand form loose clumps when wet.

This makes it easy to scoop all the waste from the litterbox. So, if you have just one cat with a small waste output, you will dump and replace the whole box less frequently.


2. Cats like sand

If you have ever kept a pile of sand in your backyard, you have probably noticed your cat likes digging into it.

Some cat owners have experienced the horror of finding cat poop inside the sandpit in their back garden.

Feral cats especially love sand. It mimics the conditions in which they are used to going to the toilet while in the wild.

They are used to dirt as litter, and sand closely mimics it.

If your cat is having trouble using the litterbox, sand may encourage them to use it.


3. Sand is cheaper

Sand is relatively cheap compared to most types of commercially available cat litter found in the market.

A bag of playground sand costs much less than a bag of cat litter. If you have access to free sand, you won’t have to pay anything.


4. Natural

Sand is 100% natural. This limits its environmental impact both when packaged and dumped.

This also makes it a safer option for your cat. You are sure there are no chemicals added to it that can harm your feline.


Disadvantages of Using Sand

1. Doesn’t absorb odor

This is the biggest drawback of using sand as cat litter. It doesn’t absorb odor in any way.

However, as I mentioned earlier, you can still control the odor by mixing a generous amount of baking soda with the sand.

You can also sprinkle baking soda at the bottom of the pan before adding the sand, when changing the litter..

Baking soda is a powerful abrasive to clean the box. It absorbs odors as it cleans into small cracks that may cause the litter box to smell bad.


2. Messy

Sand tracks everywhere. Its very fine particles will stick on your cat’s paws, especially if wet. It can also stick on its fur.

That means after your cat using its litterbox, they are going to leave a sandy trail throughout your home.

It can be a real hassle to sweep every day.

Some cats can also enjoy the sand too much, and end up playing with it, creating a whole lot of mess in your house.


Add a Litter Mat to keep Sand from Tracking Everywhere

Since sand tracks everywhere, and your cat might be tempted to play with it, a litter mat can help minimize the mess.

Add a litter mat beneath or in front of your cat’s litterbox. This will prevent them from scattering the sand throughout your house.

Litter mats are designed to trap litter particles as your cat leaves the litter box. You can then simply dump the collected litter back into the box.


Cleaning Hacks when Using Sand as Litter

I understand that changing or routine cleaning of the litter box is no fun activity. But the more you avoid this task, the more likely you are to end up with a cat that avoids its litter tray.

It will also take you longer to clean it, when you decide to do so. That’s why I have collected some useful cleaning hacks for you, for a better experience for both you and your friend.


1. Make it part of your routine

The best thing to do is to make cleaning your cat’s litterbox a part of your routine. This means you won’t see it as an undesirable chore.

Here are some suggestions for when you can clean the litterbox:

  • When feeding your cat
  • After brushing your teeth
  • When changing your clothes
  • After making breakfast

Pick whatever routine works for you.


2. Choose the right litterbox

The type of box also matters when planning for your cat’s bathroom needs. An elderly cat will not be able to use the same type of box as a young vibrant cat.

They need a box with low sides so that they can easily get in and out of it. If a cat feels uncomfortable using its litter box, they are likely going to eliminate on the floor.

This makes cleaning up a much bigger hassle.


3. Use litterbox liners

Sand absorbs urine quickly, so it can be tough when you are completely changing the litter. Considering you have to change it at least once, or twice a week.

Litter liners are plastic bags designed to fit inside the box, and make changing the entire contents a little less messy.

When it’s time to fill in fresh sand, you just have to remove the liner, and throw away the contents.

Unfortunately, not all cats accept these liners. Most cats will dig deeper and shred it to bits. If yours doesn’t work so hard to bury their waste, it will save you a lot of trouble when changing the litter.


4. Make a cleaning bucket

Being prepared saves you a lot of time. You don’t have to look for supplies when you need to clean your cat’s litterbox. 

You can use a homemade bucket or box to hold all your cat litter box supplies. These items should be included:

  • Hand brush
  • Dustpan
  • Gloves
  • Litter scoop
  • Paper towels

Keeping all cleaning items in one place makes cleaning hassle-free. Keep this kit next to the litter box so it’s handy when you need it.


5. The right amount of litter

As I mentioned earlier, sand tracks everywhere. So if you put in too much of it, there are high chances of it ending up all over the floor when your cat digs in it.

If the sand is too little, the litter box will get coated up in all kinds of waste. Most cats won’t use a litter that’s more than about 2 inches deep.

Some long-haired cats prefer less litter. Use your judgment to determine the right amount of litter which is neither too much nor too little.

Writer: Flora Ojow

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