Living with Parkinsons and Cleaning the Litter Box
Cleaning a litter box can be challenging in general but especially for individuals who live with Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease creates motor and coordination difficulties associated with the condition. To make life a little easier, we’ve scooped up some tips and considerations for cleaning the litter box when living with Parkinson’s disease.
Adaptive Tools for the Litter Box
If you’re living with Parkinsons and cleaning the litter box, consider using adaptive tools or aids designed to make cleaning tasks easier. Individuals living with mobility or coordination issues can make daily chores, such as cleaning the litter box, very difficult. Using Long-handled scoops or tools with ergonomic handles can be helpful when cleaning the litter box. These simple switches can make a huge difference.
Litter Spills While Cleaning the Litter Box
Even with steady hands, making it to the waste bin with a scoop full of litter is challenging. To help reduce mess, try using and assistive resource like Scoop Buddy to hold the waste bag in place. This helps to prevent collapsed bags and eliminate litter spills while cleaning. Scoop Buddy is a great tool for cat parents living with Parkinsons’s disease because it easily attaches to nearly any style litter box and eliminates all the debris from escaping to the floor. This tool is a game changer for people living with Parkinson’s disease.
Sit While Cleaning the Litter Box
If possible, sit down or kneel while cleaning the litter box to reduce the risk of losing balance or falling. Consider using a kneeling pad to help cushion your knees and keep you steady. Use a sturdy chair or stool for support to ensure safety as well. This makes the task of cleaning the litter box a little easier and safer.
Schedule Regular Litter Box Cleanings
Establish a routine for cleaning the litter box to prevent waste buildup. Cleaning the litter box frequently can make the task more manageable and reduce the effort required during each cleaning. Cleaning the litter box daily is highly recommended for every cat parent, but especially if you’re living with Parkinson’s disease.
Enlist Help to Clean the Litter Box
Cleaning the litter box while living with Parkinson’s is not easy. Don’t hesitate to ask for assistance from a family member, friend, or caregiver if cleaning the litter box becomes too challenging. They can help ensure cleaning the litter box is completed safely and efficiently.
Use Lightweight Litter
Choose a lightweight cat litter to minimize the weight you need to lift when scooping or changing the litter. I wasn’t sure how much “lightweight litter” would really change the weight until I actually picked up a box, and wow, it really makes a big difference.
Consider Self-Cleaning Litter Boxes
Investigate self-cleaning litter boxes that automate the scooping process. These can be especially beneficial for individuals with limited mobility. This may not be needed right away but something to consider in the future. Just keep in mind, some cats may not use these automated litter boxes and they can be on the pricey side.
Keep all necessary cleaning supplies, such as scoops, bags, and extra litter, within easy reach to minimize the need for bending or stretching. Utilizing a caddy carrier can make organizing these supplies much easier.
Wear Appropriate Gear
Use disposable gloves when cleaning the litter box and a mask if you are sensitive to dust or have concerns about hygiene. This can help protect you from allergens and odors. Of course, thoroughly wash your hands after each cleaning of the litter box.
If cleaning the litter box with Parkinson’s disease becomes physically taxing, take breaks to rest and regain your strength before continuing.
Consult Occupational Therapists
Consider consulting with an occupational therapist who can provide personalized strategies and recommendations for managing daily tasks, including how to clean the litter box when you’re living with Parkinson’s disease.