In a cat shelter where animals are housed in separate kennels, where should the litter scoop be kept?
a. On top of the kennels, where you can easily find it, since it will be used often
b. In a plastic container under or next to the kennels, to keep from contaminating the kennels
c. In a plastic bag hanging at the end of the kennels, handy but not contaminating anything around it
d. Outside the kennel area, with other cleaning supplies, less-handy but even safer
(I have seen all of these locations used.....what is your opinion? For the answer, click on 'Read More' here............)
Years ago I learned this lesson from my friends at Cat Adoption Team here in Wilmington, but I did have to ask them, 'Why do you have a litter scoop, then?' Memo to self: If you have a litter scoop, it will be used, not sanitized, and re-used in all the kennels. (I believe that Cat Adoption Team did get rid of their scoop 'back in the day!')The likelihood of transmitting disease from one kennel to another is the reason to trash your litter scoop right this minute. At home or with cats living in 'community groups,' the individuals are already exposed to each other and the community litter box. That's an entirely different story.
So, you may ask, how do I get the litter 'clumps & lumps' out of the box then? Some shelters use non-clumping (inexpensive) litter and 'dump' it once or even twice a day. With clumping or non-clumping litter, I like to 'scoop' the litter as needed during the day using a small plastic bag over my hand. The long, thin bags that newspapers are delivered in are perfect for this task. Pick up the waste and turn the bag inside out, to leave the 'ick' inside the bag. You may occasionally need to use a small piece of cardboard for 'ickier ick,' and I have made do with a fast food drink cup and a McDonald's apple pie 'sleeve' in a pinch. Use what you have.
Similarly, in shelter and kennel care of dogs, I prefer not to use a pooper scooper that can carry disease from kennel to kennel. I would suggest instead the use of cardboard squares or heavy paper plates cut in half as a better solution here. Why is this frugal? The health-care bill for animals who become ill in shelters is HUGE, and the loss of life due to euthanasia of ill animals is horrifying. Save more animals by trashing your 'scoopers' and stopping the spread of infection.
PS--The photo above is the 'famous' cat litter cake, and I think you should definitely make one to celebrate the demise of your litter scoop....