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How Often Should I Change Cat Litter?

Est. read time: 8 min.

When it comes to how often to change cat litter, a few factors come into play. A good rule of thumb is to change your cat’s litter every 2-4 weeks. 

However, you might not need to change it that frequently—it depends on your pet and their bathroom habits. Keep reading to learn more about how often to change cat litter and other details you should know when it comes to your cat’s litter!

cat sniffing bag of cat litter

What’s in cat litter and how does it work?

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself, "What is cat litter made out of? " There are several types of cat litter on the market today, but the most widely used cat litter is made from bentonite clay

Bentonite clay is considered clumping cat litter, meaning it clumps when it is wet. A high-quality bentonite clay litter will trap odors very effectively, resulting in what is arguably the least smelly cat litter option. Since it clumps so easily, the bentonite clay makes it simple for you to remove the soiled areas of litter only—rather than having to frequently switch out all of the litter. 

Alternatively, another popular type of litter is regular (non-clumping) clay litter. Unfortunately, this type of litter doesn’t clump when wet and generally isn’t great at keeping odors at bay. It usually includes ingredients like baking soda and charcoal, which can help trap odor, but not incredibly well. Regular clay litter will require you to change the litter out more often—because although it soaks up urine, it doesn’t clump when wet. 

Yet another option available to you is silica cat litter, which forms an absorbent gel that helps to provide odor control. Silica litter is a great option for people who prefer litter that is not clay-based. Not only are silica litters not dusty, they also clump when wet and help reduce odor.

Last but not least, another common type of litter is known as biodegradable cat litter. It’s ideal for anyone who prefers a more environmentally-friendly product. Biodegradable cat litter is usually made from recycled paper products or plant-derived materials. These litters don’t clump, but they do absorb urine well—despite not being the best option when it comes to trapping odors.

When should I replace cat litter? 

As we mentioned earlier, changing cat litter every 2-4 weeks is a safe bet. However, a few factors come into play—namely, how many cats are using the box and the type of litter you choose to use. Clumping litter is a fan favorite because it makes it possible to scoop out unwanted litter, meaning you won’t have to change the entire litter box as often. Here’s what else you should consider when it comes to how often you should be changing kitty litter!

Number of cats

If you have multiple cats using the same litter box, you’ll need to replace the dirty litter with fresh litter more often. Some litters are designed for multiple cat households. As such, they have stronger odor-fighting capabilities, and those types of litter also clump more readily. 

Cats’ behavior 

Some cats are more particular about the frequency of cleaning out the cat box than others. When it comes to their litter box cleanliness preferences, some cats will start acting out if it's not as tidy as they’d like. You’ll know if you need to change litter more frequently if your cat starts going to the bathroom in unwanted places around the house

Type of litter

Getting the right types of cat litter will allow you more time between changes. Non-clumping litter doesn’t offer the same odor control as clumping cat litter or make it easy to spot where your cat has gone to the bathroom. 

Clumping litter helps you scoop out the dirty litter and nothing more. 


Many factors will influence how often your cat uses the litter box daily. These factors include average fluid intake, the temperature in your home, and the age of your cat, among many other details. However, most cats generally urinate 2 to 4 times per day and defecate every 24 to 36 hours. 

Number of boxes 

Cats like their own space, and it can be stressful for them to have to share litter boxes with other cats. Even if they don’t mind sharing, you’ll have to change the litter quite frequently if more than one cat is using the same litter box. 

If you live in a multiple-cat household, you should have a traditional litter box for each cat plus one additional litter box. For example, you should have 4 litter boxes if you have 3 cats. 


Your nose will tell you if the litter box is overdue for a cleaning! This could result from your cat going to the bathroom more frequently, or maybe you missed a day and forgot to scoop the litter. If there's an odor coming from the litter box, it's definitely time to scoop — or change the litter altogether. 

woman playing with black cat near Litter-Robot 4

Litter-Robot makes litter box cleaning easy!

With Litter-Robot, the cleaning process and overall maintenance of your litter box is a breeze! This self-cleaning litter box includes carbon filters or OdorTrap™ Packs that reduce or even eliminate unpleasant odors

Litter-Robot 4 features real-time monitoring of waste and litter levels using the Whisker app. Plus, you’ll receive a notification letting you know when it’s time to empty the waste drawer. All of these features can help you keep your Litter-Robot smelling like new! 

How do I clean with Litter-Robot?

Whisker parents, rejoice! Introducing a fuss-free journey to a pristine Litter-Robot in six easy steps. Let's face it—our feline family members deserve nothing but the best, freshest little corners for their private business.

Wave a cheerful goodbye to the scooping era and embrace the innovative charm of Litter-Robot, your trustworthy ally in maintaining a fresh and odor-controlled ambiance. When that blue light blinks, you know it’s time for a quick, seamless refresh. 

Effortlessly swap out the drawer liner, replace it snugly, and hit that reset button to ensure the optimal function of your cat's futuristic lavatory. Keep an eye on the litter level, treat your gadget to new carbon filters or OdorTrap™ Packs  whenever you sense it's time, and delve into a full clean every so often to uphold a splendid, sanitary haven for your whiskered companions. 

Tailoring clean routines to your pet’s patterns means you'll typically be emptying the waste drawer weekly (or twice in 7 to 10 days for multiple fur-babies) and doing a detailed clean every 1 to 3 months. Let’s make litter duty a breeze, pet parents!

For a full cleaning, start by emptying all of the litter from the globe by pressing the empty button. The litter will fall through the waste port and into the drawer. From there, wipe down the globe, base, and bonnet with a gentle cleaner. Learn more about cleaning your Litter-Robot.

A clean litter box will keep your cat happy and help you avoid smelly odors in your home. When you have the best automatic cat litter box, cleaning is easy and simple. 


Does cat litter absorb pee?

Yes, both non-clumping and clumping cat litter will absorb pee. Clumping cat litter allows you to easily scoop urine clumps from the box.

How often should you change the litter in the Litter-Robot?

Typically, you will empty the waste drawer once per week if you have one cat. If you have more than one cat using the Litter-Robot, you will typically empty the waste drawer twice every seven to ten days. Perform a full cleaning and litter change every one to three months.

What happens when you don't change cat litter?

When you neglect to change the litter in a timely fashion, your cat will either go to the bathroom somewhere else or avoid going altogether. The latter option can result in serious health issues, most notably feline lower urinary tract disease, feline urethral obstruction, or UTIs. Not changing the litter will also cause bacteria to build up inside of the litter box and foul odors to develop.

orange tabby cat with a bag of cat litter- how often to change cat litter