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Your Toddler & Your Cat

Q. I have two cats and one toddler. I'd like to keep the litter box readily accessible to my pets, but I worry about my little one's need to explore everything in sight. Any ideas?

A. Invest in a lidded litter box, says Donna Smallin, author of Organizing Plain & Simple (Storey). Not only will the lid help to limit odor, but the boxed structure creates a single entry and exit point for your cat. Add a floor mat to minimize tracking, and you'll easily reduce the amount of excess litter floating around your house.

And, advises Smallin, don't worry if your cat doesn't take to his new setup immediately. "My cat didn't like the mat at first," Smallin admits. "He would jump right over it to get in and out of his box. Eventually he got used to it, though, and it worked great." Bonus feature: the cleanup couldn't be any easier. As the mat starts to fill with excess litter, simply shake the pebbles back into the box.

If litter box maintenance just isn't for you, and you're willing to splurge on something extra special, check out LitterMaid's self-cleaning litter boxes ($110 and up; littermaid.com). Yes, it's a pricey investment, but those who have one say it's worth it -- especially if you have more than one cat.

Originally published in American Baby magazine, May 2007.

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.