Are all Litter Box Scoops Created Equal?

Not according to Tracie Hotchner, host of Cat Chat and Dog Talk radio shows, bestselling author and pet expert.

In Tracie’s comprehensive and appropriately titled book, The Cat Bible, she explains that the most optimal tool for litter box scooping is actually a big metal Serving Spoon with no holes or slits. Who knew?

Tracie says that litter box scoops with slats or holes are really designed to pick up the poop, not do a great job of picking up urine clumps. This is especially true if you are using a non-clumping litter. Even with clumping litter, urine clumps break apart and leave urine behind in the box, which creates a perfect breeding ground for germs and odor. And who wants to get back into a germy, stinky litter box? Most cats would prefer not to.

Readers, thoughts? Do you agree with Tracie or do you have your own solution to share?

As always, thanks for reading and sharing your experiences and ideas!

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17 Comments

  1. I agree with Tracie, and if anyone has a great solution I’ll listen. Right now my cats won’t set foot in a cat pan unless it has Arm & Hammer cat litter in it. They either love it’s texture or it’s odor masking qualities. Either way, it’s what ever makes them happy, right?

  2. I use a large metal scooper. It is designed for litter boxes. It does have slots but I find that the clumps still come out ok. Clump nature may depend on the litter variety; some clumps better than others. And of course the whole litter box should be dumped and cleaned periodically. I cannot imagine using one of those flimsy plastic scoops – they should be banned!

  3. I have never really thought about it but it’s very true about the little pieces of urine falling back in. I would need a pretty big serving spoon, though, because my cat’s urine clumps are huge.

  4. Hands down…it’s this one! I broke every plastic one made–every one! This might be a little heavy, but they do make a smaller version which I use for travel.

    Duranimals DuraScoop Cat Litter Scoop
    http://www.durascoop.com/original.php?productid=1
    http://www.petco.com/product/106655/Duranimals-DuraScoop-Cat-Litter-Scoop.aspx

    Duranimals Durascoop Mini (out of stock everywhere I looked online)
    http://www.durascoop.com/original.php?productid=3
    http://www.amazon.com/Duranimals-DuraScoop-Steel-Litter-Scoop/dp/B0030N01WG

  5. I would never have thought that, but it sure does make sense! I’ve been lucky that my cat still uses the box even though some little pieces are left in there. I will remedy this situation immediately. By the way, this is a great blog, or website – I’m not sure what to call it! Thanks.

  6. That makes total sense! Plus, the litter will probably last longer too. I will spread the word.

    Thanks Tracie!

  7. I agree that with non-clumping and some clumping litters the slits in a regular scoop can leave some behind. I use Worlds Best Cat Litter and find that it clumps so speedily that even if I’m right behind the cat and scoop it up it stays in a nice clump and doesn’t break apart.

  8. This is really interesting! Having 5 sweetheart pussycats in my house who use the litterbox, I am going to have to try this. (Luckily, the 6 feral babies that I take care of outside the house don’t need to be “scooped.”)

  9. I would say have two scoops. A slotted one for the poop piles so that you can sift through the litter and don’t throw out litter that is still good, and have a solid metal one to remove the urine clumps.

  10. Tracie has a good idea there! I’ve been using a slotted pooper-scooper and arm&hammer cat littler, but I really like her serving spoon idea =)

  11. i have an old deep fry scooper that takes care of everything inthe litter box.my babies are always so happy when i scoop their boxes.they each have their own box.i have a 2yr old male who acts like the daddy to my most recent adoption a female who will turn 1yr old this may.every time she goes in the box,he goes to see if she covered her doo doo.if she fails to do this ,he goes behind her and covers it up! i never had a cat that did this.is this normal.the male’s name is borie,the baby’s name is tess.they were both strays i took in to help,and they eventually stayed for good.i don’t know what i would do with out them!

  12. I too feel some cats are so sensitive to smells from other cats that they will refuse to use the litter box so any help with odor removal is appreciated especially with multi-cat households. What about the cat that uses the box for No.2 but not No.1-is this a mental cat issue? Thanks. Annette

  13. I was preparing for a hip replacement last fall and was told that I could NOT bend down to pet the cat on the floor or scoop the litterbox. Solution: I used Duct tape to attach a scoop to a 3 foot dowel so I could scoop standing up. It worked so well that now, even though I can bend over again, I am still using my long-handled scoop.

  14. I found the best scooper is a small dustpan that I extended with a piece of PVC so that my hand don’t touch anything as I used the old useless slotted litter box scooper to shovel the urine/poop in. ­čÖé

    • As a professional pet sitter, I find that the very best litter box scooper is the one with the steel end and NOTHING else. Occasionally, I will make home visits and find litter that has been sitting on the bottom of the box for ages because the owner did not apply the appropriate pressure to get to the bottom of the box. This is because plastics scoopers will break and don’t allow you to put enough pressure on them. I’ll tell my clients that either they haven’t been cleaning the box sufficiently OR they don’t have the appropriate tools to do so. On occasions, I find clients that will wait several days because they know I’m coming and won’t clean the box several days prior to my arrival. In that case, I tell them if I find the box in that condition the next time I arrive, I will no longer be there pet care giver. There is no excuse for finding congealed litter, urine, and feces on the floor, overflowing the litter box. There is no excuse for this whatsoever, unless the pet owner has passed away.

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