How To Train a Cat To Use a Litter Box

Skylar Dial
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Find a Good Place (Or Two!) For The Litter Box

Cats are naturally convenient. Their natural instinct is to bury their leavings and they are satisfied with a secluded spot. Take advantage of their tendency and place the litter box in an area where the cat will use it. The best way to do so is to first locate where the cat already does his business and then place the litter box in the same vicinity, or as close as possible.

Some other factors that you have to consider are the following:

  • You have to place two litter boxes in a place where your cat will use the boxes. This is because most cats do not like to soil in different locations. They like to keep their leavings and leave it in one place. So placing two litter boxes side by side will help your pet to choose one of them.
  • The placement of the litter box in relation to your cat's feeding area. When you are dealing with a newly adopted cat, make sure that you give it enough time to adapt and the litter box should be readily available for your cat to use.
  • You have to remember that your cat will need privacy when using the litter box so place it in a room where he or she will feel comfortable. The place you choose should be free from children and babies. Always place the box away from where the cat eats so it can focus on the business it needs to do in the litter box.

Pick a Good Box

Before you begin training your cat to use a litter box, you need to make sure you have the proper equipment. The first consideration is selecting a good litter box for your cat.

The litter box should be:

  • Easy to get into – Your cat shouldn’t have to step over any walls or trenches when entering or leaving the box. This will ensure that your cat doesn’t get deterred by the box because it’s too difficult to move around in it. The box should also be fairly stable so that your cat won’t be likely to knock it over when moving around inside it.
  • Enclosed – Some cats prefer to do their business in a private area. Enclosing the litter box will give your cat the security he needs. Many litter boxes come with transparent or translucent tops, and if your cat is drawn to this type of box he probably prefers an enclosed area.
  • Odor free – The litter you use for your cat will play the biggest role in making sure that your box is odor-free. Unfortunately, there’s no way to guarantee that no odor will ever be present in the litter. But using a litter that’s specially designed to cut down on odor can go a long way.

Introduce the Box

If you have recently acquired a cat, you would have petted and played with it but would probably have noticed it scattering it’s wastes over your living room.

This is a natural behavior and is not something to be concerned about.

However if you have purchased a kitten, it is necessary to teach it where to go to the toilet.

As soon as you bring your kitten home, place it in the sided litter box with clean litter and a few towels for it to hide behind. You will have to put some newspaper near the box to encourage it to defecate on the newspaper.

Once it has used the box, remove the newspaper and keeping an eye on your kitten, put some litter in the box.

When you kitten is satisfied and has done it’s business in the litter box, praise it and put it near the litter box so that it knows that that’s where it is required to potty.

If it has defecated on the newspaper, clean it quickly and move it farther away from the box, if it has urinated move it closer to the box.

If your kitten has urinated on the floor, put some ammonia on the area as this will encourage it to use the litter box.

Celebrate Victory

The hardest part of the process is letting your cat get comfortable and confident in her new box. Because cats are naturally averse to being boxed in, it is natural for her to hiss or display other anti-social tendencies when she first encounters the litter box. When you put the cat in the litter box, she is liable to hiss loudly and try to exit the box as soon as the door opens.

Giving him some time to get used to the box is the best strategy. Make sure that you give ample time for your cat to grow into her own new home. My cat took a few weeks to transition. If you are moving into a new house or apartment with your cat, give her some time to get used to her new surroundings and the new litter box. Sparky took about three weeks to acclimate to, and embrace his new home.

Handle Accidents Thoroughly

Training a cat to use a litter box is definitely one of the best things you could teach your pet. Not only does it make your life much easier but it also extends the life expectancy of your cat by many years.

But it is important for the training to start from the very beginning. The easiest way to get a kitten accustomed to a litter box is to put it directly in the litter box. However, you don’t want to leave your new kitten in the litter box for too long at a time. The reason for this is kittens have poor control over their bladder and bowel and they need frequent visits outside the litter box. This is why it is very important for the owner to handle accidents thoroughly.

Empty the Tray Regularly

When you rescue a cat, you will sometimes discover that the cat did not come with one benefit that other cats came with – the instinct to use a litter box. Sometimes the cat you've rescued will not choose a location for the litter box where you would have chosen so¸ which is why when you look for cat litter box, you should think about your cat's welfare first and then your own.

Training your cat to use a litter box can be a challenge, but it is possible to do it. The first thing to do is to make sure that you can designate a specific box for the cat that will obviously fit your cat.

Young cats will need a smaller litter box while older cats will need a bigger litter box, so it is quite important that you find the right size that can fit your cat perfectly.

It's also important that you make sure that your litter box is positioned in a quiet and comfortable place so that your cat will feel good about his chosen place for relieving himself. Because cats are usually very private and cautious, they will not like other cats stumbling upon them when they're doing their daily duties so make sure that you choose a location that is far away from other things especially for the safety of your cat.