Join Club

The Chew: Cat in the Box

The Chew column banner

The following bi-weekly column is written and sponsored by Dog Paws n Cat Claws, which provides a heart-centered and safe environment for your pets. Conveniently located at 5818-C Seminary Road in Bailey’s Crossroads, DPnCC offers doggy daycare, boarding, grooming, walking and training services, plus in-home pet care.

My first cat, Chimichanga, would retaliate if I didn’t keep his litter box clean. Instead of getting into the box, he would squat down in front of it to relieve himself and we cat owners know how difficult it is to get cat urine odor out of a carpet. Even if WE can’t smell it after cleaning, our cats certainly can. Maintaining your cat’s litter box is the most important part of cat ownership and needless to say, Chimi kept me motivated to keep litter boxes clean for all my cats.

The Litter

Each cat has its own rules: from what kind of litter they prefer to where you put the box. With so many products to choose from, it may take time to find the right litter that you and your cats can agree on. Keep in mind that scented litter was invented for humans, not your cats, and they may not like it. I never cared for clay litter and decided to experiment with other options. It took some time and effort to find the winning product that we could all agree on.


Make it part of your daily routine. For example, my boyfriend has the morning shift after walking the dog and I have the evening shift after feeding the cats. If you have children, make it part of their daily chores. The only member of the family that should never touch a litter box is a pregnant woman. She could contract toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection transmitted through infected cat feces. Once a week, dump litter and clean the box with a mild detergent like dish soap that won’t leave a strong chemical smell or residue behind. Anything stronger could be toxic to your cat and they may choose to relieve themselves elsewhere.


Cat experts recommend you have just as many litter boxes as you have cats, plus one. Cats like privacy when they need to use their box but placement needs to be convenient. If you live in a multi-level home, each level should have a box. Make sure that doors blocking access are propped open. Don’t place litter boxes next to noisy appliances such as washing machines or water heaters. Cats have a very strong sense of smell and depend on this sense to tell them where their food is so keep the box away from their food and drinking water.

Types of Litter Boxes

What type of box you use may take some experimenting. Some cats prefer those with lids, others may not. Start out with two different models and you will quickly discover which they prefer. I love the deeper boxes with holes in the top because my dog isn’t able to reach those “special” treats. Self-cleaning boxes are an option, but keep in mind they need checking daily and changed once a week as well.


There are several litter box deodorizers available, but like scented litter, they can be a turn off for cats. Using plain baking soda works just as well. Litter liners were invented for human convenience but when I tried to use them, my cats shredded the bag on the first day while covering up their business.

At Dog Paws n Cat Claws, we train our in-home sitters to scoop the litter on each visit. Your being away can stress out your cat and they could retaliate for this reason alone. Keeping a clean litter box will minimize the temptation they may have to ruin your favorite rug.

An unhappy cat has a way of making your life difficult. Keep your kitty’s litter box clean and fresh and you will have a happier cat…and a happier you!

Sara Schabach
In-Home Pet Care Manager

Recent Stories

Good Wednesday evening, Arlington. Today we published articles that were read a total of 7696 times… so far. 📈 Top stories The following are the most-read articles for today —…

Arlington is poised to take a proverbial weed whacker to commercial properties with overgrown lawns and all properties with obstructive vegetation. Last month, a proposal to change the ordinance pertaining…

Adoptable Pet of the Week: Koda

Meet the beautiful Koda, a glass half full kinda dog who searching for his forever home.

It appears as if Courthouse’s newest date night spot won’t be open for Valentine’s Day. The opening for the hotly anticipated Taco Bell Cantina at 2039 Wilson Blvd has been…

Let the Arlingtones surprise your friend or sweetie this Valentine’s Day with a barbershop quartet singing love songs in four part a cappella harmony! Choose from a small selection of songs in our repertoire to surprise your special someone.

$75 for two songs delivered to a place of your choice by a live, in-person quartet. Includes a classy tin of chocolates, fresh red rose and personalized card. Small mileage surcharge for >5 miles outside Arlington VA.

$30 Facetime/Skype valentine- two songs delivered ‘live’ via Facetime or Skype at an agreed-on time.

$20 virtual valentine- two pre-recorded quartet songs delivered via email with a personalized message.

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

Have you noticed a striking sculpture at Monroe Street and Wilson Boulevard? It’s the Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington’s newest installation, Make Your Mark, by Arlington artist, Adam Henry. This sculpture celebrates MoCA Arlington’s rebranding and brings the museum’s energy outdoors.

On February 11, come inside when the museum’s galleries reopen with two new exhibitions: Rebecca Rivas Rogers: Grey View and Crisis of Image.

Grey View, in the Wyatt Resident Artist Gallery, is an homage to “gray” and a snapshot of the artist’s process. Consisting of photographs, collage, and a site-specific installation, this show is an outgrowth of Rivas-Rogers’ visual investigations into places you see on your way to somewhere else.

On the main level, Crisis of Image features artists who seek equity in today’s saturated visual world by developing new methods related to the production of images.

Read More

Submit your own Announcement here.

Valentine Pop-Up at George Mason University

Valentine gifts for someone special or for yourself are here at George Mason University from noon -4pm on February 14, 2023. Satisfy your sweet tooth with Kingsbury Chocolates, find a handmade bag from Karina Gaull, pick up treats from Village

Standup Comedy Showcase Starring Matt Ruby (Comedy Central)

Dead Horse Comedy Productions brings together top comedians from the DMV and beyond for a live standup comedy show!

Matt Ruby, Headliner

Matt Ruby is a comedian, writer, and filmmaker from New York City. His comedy has been filmed by


Subscribe to our mailing list