Who's job is it to take care of the litter box?

United States
July 16, 2007 9:47am CST
Before we got our cat, we sat the children down and told them what each of their jobs would be pertaining to the cat. If they did their jobs, we would pay for the litter and food (because they were earning it by doing their jobs). My daughter (who is 4) was to be responsible for making sure the cat had food and fresh water. My son(6 years old) was to be in charge of scooping the litter box every night. I am responsible to change the litter box - I didn't want my son spilling it everywhere! For the first few months, they did a great job. Now we have to remind them every day to do their jobs. Since they are not doing their jobs without being reminded every day, we have been taking money out of their "banks" to pay for food & litter (not the whole amount, just some to contribute). Who does the litter box in your house?
3 people like this
18 responses
@vicki2876 (5640)
• Canada
16 Jul 07
All our three cats were stray and are outdoors so I guess nature takes care of the bathroom. We live in the country surrounded by lots of woods. As for food. My daughter takes care of the food and water. We have some in the house for our family kitties. SOmetimes she forgets and I will feed them. But all of us put out food for the homeless kitties outside that aren't ours. It isn't really a big deal or chore for us since litter isn't involved. YUCK! So we just all get to enjoy them. LOL Vicki
1 person likes this
• United States
17 Jul 07
Those responsible for taking care of the cat should be the owners of the cat unless a previous arrangement has been established.
• United States
17 Jul 07
I'm not sure I'd ever let my kid get near the litter box. Cats have germs and diseases that can be passed along to children and pregnant women. The germs can cause birth defects in an unborn baby. You might rethink your position on who does the litter box cleaning. There are other things that kids can do to show their responsibility without exposing themselves to disease. When I was pregnant, my spouse took over cat litter scooping duty and it's been his job ever since. He doesn't do a good job, but at least he does it! I don't like scooping the box, because I'm in charge of making dinner. And, that might contaminate us all. But, if I did the scooping, I'd do a much better job than him. As is, I have to remind him often to do the job.
• United States
17 Jul 07
Well, no one in my house is pregnant, so we are ok there. My son is very careful and the first thing he does when he is finished is wash his hands and arms. We do supervise their chores with the cat. When it comes time to completely change the litter in the box - I do that.
@anij34 (317)
• United States
17 Jul 07
But ultimately it is YOUR responsibility to care for any animals NOT your children's! You CANNOT hold children so young responsible for the life of a breathing living member of the family. If you just don't want the animal then find a new home for it but don't punish your children because they are not old enough to properly care for the animal. I have a 5 yr old child and although she helps out with the animals it IS NOT her sole responsibility to care for them. She is too young for that.
• United States
17 Jul 07
I have to say that I do not agree with you. But that is ok. . .you have your opinion. I know that my children are able to handle the responsibilities that we gave them for the cat because they did it for several months. They have just gotten forgetful. We do remind them and supervise them - so the cat doesn't suffer any. They wanted the cat and we want them to learn responsibility. They have other chores that contribute to their "banks" and we don't make them pay for all of the food and litter all of the time. They contribute when they don't do their jobs - We don't think it is "punishment", we believe it is teaching them responsibility.
• United States
16 Jul 07
That's not a bad idea, making them see the consequences of not doing the litter box, BUT not just leaving it up to them. I don't get why parents think the cat only belongs to the kids and leaves everything up to them. Kids aren't totally responsible yet and the cat needs care no matter who's doing it. She's not going to wait to get hungry or decorously tiptoe around the landmines in her box just because the kids are being rebellious today.
• United States
17 Jul 07
My children aren't being rebellious - just forgetful. They have other chores also (age appropriate) that contribute to their "banks". She is our family cat and we all do things to take care of her, but they wanted her and we are trying to teach them that having a pet is not all about the fun. She needs care also. If my son forgets to scoop the litter box and is already in bed, I will do it. I'm not going to let it go and hope he remembers sometime within the next week - that isn't fair to the cat. It is all about teaching responsibility at a young age.
@moxalot (100)
• United States
15 Sep 07
In our house the cats are my responsibility. Of course, I have a 2 year old. I really believe that the litter box (scooping, changing, etc) should be the adults responsibility. For one you won't forget to scoop the poop. The food and water could probably be the children's responsibility.
@cempires (171)
• United States
1 Sep 07
I have a weak stomach, and cant get near anything even remotely putris, or I ean up making a bigger mess right over it. My husband, bless his heart, does All the dirty work around our home.
@KrisNY (7591)
• United States
17 Jul 07
It is my daughters chore to scoop the litter box daily (when she is home)- she is 10- it's her cat- She also changes the box on the weekend- I change it over the week- My sig. other feeds Gracie daily-- we forget- I see nothing wrong with what you are doing- pets are a responsibility- good to teach the kids at a young age- Hopefully taking their money will make them want to do their jobs.
• Canada
16 Jul 07
My kids take care of the pets and it usually works the way you explained it. The first couple of weeks they never forget, but as time goes on it becomes more and more of a chore. It is normal and I think taking money out of their bank accounts is not a good way to get them to do their jobs because at 4 and 6, they don't have a real understanding of money. Perhaps try taking away something else that they use everyday or reward them or provide positive feedback when they do a good job.
• United States
16 Jul 07
My son wanted a cat, so my husband brought him home one from work. An employee of his needed a new home for his cat. The agreement was he feeds it and changes the litter box. We provide it, he is 9 years old but he does chores to earn the money it takes to buy the food and litter. He done good at first but now we have to remind him.
• United States
16 Jul 07
My son wanted a cat, so my husband brought him home from work. An employee of his needed a new home for his cat. The agreement was he feeds it and changes the litter box. We provide it, he is 9 years old but he does chores to earn the money it takes to buy the food and litter. He done good at first but now we have to remind him.
@Kowgirl (3490)
• United States
16 Jul 07
The only thing I ever did was purchase the cat litter. When my children were young we had a chart that had all their chores listed on it. Each one had a different colored marker and a square to mark in when each chore got done. If someone missed a chore then one of the others did that chore and put his mark in that square. Each chore was paid a different amount. But all amounted to the same if each one did all his chores. Chores were rotated weekly. Now my daughter is using this with her 2 boys and it works as well now as it did then. Teaching responsibility is a good thing for young children.
@pamcake (276)
• United States
16 Jul 07
Our children are about the same in age..and when we had a cat I did the litter box. I think it's great that they were doing good at first..maybe they got bored with it? I like the idea of having them count the money from their bank to make it more real to them..and putting money back in when they do it without being reminded:)
@pendragon (3351)
• United States
16 Jul 07
The liter box is in the hall bewteen everyone's rooms, so, if there's a poo in it, it's basically whomever comes by first takes care of it, all for onr ,one for all,lol.
• United States
16 Jul 07
I actually don't have any cats. I'm allergic to them, unfortunately. But because of the germs and diseases that can be caught from cat's litter boxes. I would not have your children cleaning it with as young as they are. I think you are doing right by having them help take care of the cat. But the litter box should be cleaned by you or your spouse. Have the children take turns feeding and providing fresh water. Just a suggestion. Good luck!
• United States
16 Jul 07
My suggestion would be to have them count the money out of their banks so it's more real.. My 5 and 6 year old are responsible for food and water, and my husband and I take turns with the litterbox.
@sid556 (30987)
• United States
16 Jul 07
When I had a cat, I was always the one to care for the liter box. I didn't want my young children near it. It is so hard to get kids to do their chores. I commend you for teaching them to be responsible so young. that is where it starts. Just a thought...rather than subtract from their banks, how about a quarter for each time they did their chore without it being a hassle? I'll bet you'll have them doing all sorts of chores for you.
@xkristalx (231)
• United States
16 Jul 07
HAHA!! Me! I do think you are on the right track though. Its their cat, they are being responsible for her, or should be rather. The kids are really young though, so I think its good that you are keeping watch because I think its somewhat expected that they would occasionally forget. Maybe set up a reward system, "If you take care of kitty every day for a whole week we will go see a movie you want."
@eden32 (3975)
• United States
16 Jul 07
We don't have a cat at this time, but when we did it was my job to change the litter. But it was my cat that I had longer than I had children & since before my relationship. If we were to get one now, we'd come up with a system something like yours if it were a family pet. If my older (14 & 18) children wanted a pet of their own though, it would be 100% their responsibility. I'd give them a hand occasionally, like if my son were working extra hours one week or if my daughter had lots of homework one night, but otherwise it'd be theirs to take care of completely.