We use natural litter because it gives an assurance that even if our cats eat some litter they will be okay (i.e. poop out instead of accumulating in the stomach/intestine).
Our all-time favorite is the Garfield Clumping litter (Small grains, purple packaging) made of cassava and corn, but it often goes out of stock (too popular) and we buy the same company's (Petfive) cassava+corn litters such as Sustainably Yours. It seems a bit expensive but it lasts very long with no odor, clumps in a min or less, doesn't leave muddy marks in the box, doesn't collapse into smaller pieces when scooped... Just amazing.
Other types you may try:
- World's Best litter
- Okocat wood clumping litter
For the non-clumping litters, you may try the pine pellets— check more here. Many breeders love this natural litter and you can get cheap wood pellets in Ace Hardware/ Home Depot / Walmart and they last a long time too, with good odor control. The only reason we switch to clumping litter from the pine pellet is that the diarrhea is harder to clean with the non-clumping pine pellets.
Oh well, we have bought at least 5 types of litter boxes, and honestly different cats have different preferences: some like enclosed, some like open pan, some like to poop in enclosed while peeing in an open pan, etc.
You should get a litter box that is BIG enough for the cat to turn around. Otherwise, the cat may accidentally poop outside of the box (sometimes they can't hold their poop when they turn around). You should get a litter box that isn't too short such that the cats dig out the litter and litter goes out to the ground. We don't have a personal favorite yet with the litter pan/boxes yet and you might need to buy different types to start with.
Number of Litter boxes in a room = Number of cat +1
^ because some cat absolutely hates to poop where they pee...
Automatic litter boxes — we tried LitterRobot but sold it to our friend in the end because our cats prefer litter pans. Again it is highly personal for cats and you should be prepared to resell it to others if you decide to get the LitterRobot. If your cats end up enjoying LitterRobot, we still highly recommend the cassava+corn litter (Sustainably Yours/Garfield litter) because it clumps in a min with great odor control without leaving muddy marks on the rubber bottom. Litterrobot can only work for cats.
This depends on how many cats you have and what litter you use. For us, the Petfive corn+cassava litter lasts long without odor so we change the litter box every 2 weeks and reuse the same litter for a month in winter, more often in summer.
If you use other brands, you might need to clean more often. For example, corn-only litter like World's Best may get moldy easier and needs to be switched out more often.
We use dish soap like Dawn to scrub clean the litter box, air dry or wipe dry completely. If there was diarrhea in the box we sanitize a bit with sanitizing wipe and dry out completely. We usually have many boxes so that we can have them ready when a fast change is needed (i.e. apocalyptic diarrhea scenarios).