“How often should I change my cat litter?” As pet sitters, that’s a great question that we hear all the time. The truth is, it depends on the type of litter and how many cats you have.

Check out these recommendations from the top cat litter manufacturers and customer reviews to help you determine how often you should be changing your litter.

Clay clumping litter

On their website, Dr. Elsey’s, the makers of Precious Cat clumping cat litters recommends “totally changing the litter out in the cat box every three to four weeks depending on use. Wash your cat boxes with hot water and a mild detergent like Ivory dish soap and then replace with about 3 inches of new litter.”

On the other hand, Arm & Hammer, the makers of the very popular Clump & Seal, says the process can be more subjective. “Some consumers change their litter box on a regular schedule (every few days, or weekly, or on trash day, etc.), others change it when it looks wet or when odor is noticeable.”

Flushable corn-based litter

World’s Best Cat Litter has a chart that suggests that a 7 lb bag will last about 30 days with only one cat using it. From personal experience, I start to notice a funny odor after about a week. So, if you’re completely changing out your litter 4 times a month and refilling it about 3 inches each time, the bag does indeed last for an entire month.

Wood pellet litter

The Feline Pine product description on Petsmart’s website states, “You’ll know it’s time to change the litter box when all the pellets dissolve, usually in about two weeks for a single cat.” After regularly sifting out the used portion, customer reviews have mentioned that they only completely change the pellets every 3 weeks for cleanliness, but there isn’t any noticeable odor.

Crystal cat litter

Crystal litters are usually made from silica gel, which absorbs the liquid waste. All you have to do is scoop out and flush down the solids. Fresh Step states, “You only need to replace the entire box of litter once every one or two months.”

However, the instructions on a bottle of Precious Cat Long Hair Cat litter states that you should change a box filled with 1 inch of litter about every 2 weeks. With any crystal cat litter, it’s important to rake the crystals regularly in order to give them a chance to absorb more liquid.

Our pet sitters pay extra attention the litter box. We ensure that the surrounding area is swept or vacuumed and that the litter always stays clean and fresh. If you’ll be out of town for a week or more, be sure to show your sitter where you keep the extra litter so that he or she can change it for you.

Candace Elise Hoes is a pet sitter and blogger at Katie’s Kitty. She is a graduate of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts.

“Teddy The Bag Cat, meowing” by gsloan on flickr