Litter Box Training : How to Get Your Cat to Use One

Most cats instinctively use the litter box. However, if you catch your kitten crouching or sniffing in a corner, put her in the litter box in anticipation of oncoming urination. If your kitten is not using the litter box you should place her in the box every morning. If your cat is older, don’t worry, cats of any age can be trained to use a litter box.

Location, Location, Location

It is important for your kitty to have easily access to the litter box. If you have a large home, put the boxes in more than one place. You should always have one more litter box than you have cats. That is, one cat gets two litter boxes. Two cats get three. If you have a two-story home, keep one litter box on each floor. If your house has many levels, make sure each floor is equipped with a litter box. Consider putting the litter box in a seldom used closet. Be sure to keep the door open at all times or install a pet door so your cat can go in and out whenever she needs to.

Type Of Litter Box

A litter box should be roomy enough for your cat to turn around in it. If the box is too small, your cat won’t use it and will find a more welcoming spot on the carpet or floor. Then again if the litter box is too big, you may also have a problem, especially for a very small kitten. Don’t expect your kitten to scale a large box every time she has to relieve herself. Instead buy a smaller litter box and invest in a larger one as she grows. Also there are covered litter boxes as well as open ones. If you decide to buy a covered box, make sure your cat can get in and out easily. The best types of covered boxes have overlapping seams that prevent sprayed urine from leaking out.

Type Of Litter

What is the best litter to use? There are a number of litter materials to choose from, including clay, plant materials, environmentally friendly ( newspaper, sawdust, oatmeal, etc.)  and silica gel litters. Cats, by nature, dig and scratch in soft soil when burying their waste out doors. The litter you choose should replicate the dirt outside- think lighter and softer. Once you find a litter your kitty likes, stick with it. Cats are very picky and litter changes can lead to refusing to use the litter box entirely.

Reasons Your Kitty Will Not Use The Litter Box

If your kitty refuses to use her litter box it could be one of several reasons. Because some cats will avoid a dirty litter box, scooping out feces daily is important. Also, completely empty and replace the litter at least once a week and wash the box with warm, soapy water. And never clean the box with harsh chemicals, as doing so will likely cause your cat to turn her nose up at the offensive odor. Don’t be too generous with the litter because most cats prefer a shallow layer of no more than two inches.

If you have more than one cat then you need more than one litter box as mentioned above. Remember that cats are territorial and placing their litter boxes too close can cause issues. Also the location should be free of sudden noises or a lack of privacy. The cardinal rule is to never put your cat’s litter box next to her food bowl or bed. Cats do not like to eliminate where they eat or sleep.

Never punish your cat for having an accident. She won’t make the connection unless you catch her in the act  and even then the punishment only creates a fear of you, not a change in behavior. Always clean up using an enzyme-based cleaner, like Bubba’s Enzyme Cleaner, to remove the smell. This will help prevent future desire to use that spot again.

 

If you notice that accidents happen in the same place over and over, try putting a litter box there. Maybe your cat prefers this spot for reasons you will never understand. If accidents tend to happen when your cat has free run of the house or while you are away, keep her confined to one room until you can watch her. Be sure to provide food, water, as well as the litter box in whatever room you place her in. If your cat uses her box successfully for several years, then begins to have accidents, have your veterinarian examine her for a possible urinary tract or kidney infection.


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