Part of owning a cat is providing a litter box for your cat to use. While litter boxes may seem like a basic need, they can actually provide an important part of your cat’s health. That’s because urinary tract problems are a common affliction among cats so regular litter box cleaning is an important step in keeping this painful condition in check.

“Cleanliness is one key to avoiding cat urinary tract problems,” says veterinarian Melissa Brookshire. “Urinary tract obstructions, evidenced by straining without producing any urine, are emergency situations that require immediate veterinary attention. Once diagnosed and treated, steps for prevention should become routine. Having a fresh, clean litter box can go a long way in preventing this affliction.”

To learn more about keeping your cat’s litter box clean (while your own house gets messier with cat litter all over the place), click here.