Nearly all cats can be litter box trained, old cats and kittens alike and even cats who have been going to the toilet outside for years. The most important thing to know about cat litter box training is that you need to be consistent. With a bit of help from you, your cat will understand the point of the box and be happy to use it, rather than the bathtub or your carpet. Cats like to urinate and defecate in places where they are able to bury their waste, so most of them are content to use sand or litter. This makes cat litter box training a relatively simple process.
Sometimes you might have problems with your cat litter box training. I asked my friends Betsy Zhinovich and Bernie Lewee who are very experienced with feline care to share some tips.
- If you have more than one cat in your household, you might want to provide one litter box per cat. Some cats like to urinate in one litterbox and defecate in another, but a lot don’t mind too much. If you have 3 cats in a small apartment, you aren’t going to want 6 litter boxes taking up most of your living area either!
- Your box should be big enough for an adult cat to stand in, sit in and turn around in comfortably.
- The litter box must be kept clean. This is important both for cat litter box training and to keep your cat happy to use the litter box. Clean out clumps of feces or wet litter every day. Throw all the litter away once a week and scrub the litterbox with diluted bleach. Then rinse it out well and dry it and put new litter in. You might want to sprinkle some baking soda in first to absorb odors.
- Some cats don’t like large grain or scented litter. If your cat seems to have a problem with the litter you are trying, get another variety.
- The first time your cat successfully uses the litter box, praise him and give him some kind of treat or reward. He will then equate the litterbox with nice things and be happier to use it. * Ensure your litterbox is in a quiet place without much traffic. Don’t put it near a noisy electric appliance or anywhere near the cat’s feeding bowls.
- Ensure your cat can get in and out of the litter box easily. Small kittens are sometimes daunted by a high-sided litterbox and they won’t want to jump over the side if they can’t see what is on the other side.
Cat litter box training is slightly different when training an outdoor cat to use it. Try to observe what your outdoor cat uses to bury his waste. Bring some indoors, whether it is leaves, dirt or sand. Sprinkle it over his litter box so he realizes that it is a good place to defecate or urinate.
Some cats understand the training immediately and others need more patience. Don’t forget to praise your cat when he successfully masters the litterbox.
If everything else fails and you have followed all the above guidelines, you should visit a veterinarian to have your cat examined. This will rule out infection or illness. Cat litter box training is usually easy, as long as you do it right, and once your cat understands what the litterbox is for, he should be happy to use it every time, so long as it is kept clean.
Do you have any other useful tips? Feel free to share in comments!