ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Litter Box Training to Prevent Your Cat Pooping on Carpet, Bed or Sofa

Updated on October 9, 2014

Cats are one of the few pets that are able to use a specific place to defecate and they do this almost instinctively. Why do cats have this ability to defecate in a litter box and why do they sometimes use the living room rug or bed instead of the litter box? What are the best equipment to control cat litter?

Cat Behaviours

It is a well-known fact that cats are territorial. What is less known is that cats divide their territory into different zones, each with a specific use. There is the social interaction area, the isolation area, hunting and of course, the disposal area or latrine.

The cat chooses these location based on very specific criteria. First, it should be mentioned that the cat is able to find his latrine area through two different mechanisms. It has an excellent memory and a very effective sense of orientation. It also uses the odour left by a hormone called felinine that is found in its urine to better identify the latrine.

The latrine is like a cat bunker

The latrine is usually quite far from the hunting area, but not far from other areas. This is often a recessed area that is not totally isolated. The latrine is usually positioned so that the cat can be hidden while at the same time being able to monitor its environment. There will also be several avenues of escape in the event danger.

Why do cats bury their poop?

The latrine is large enough for the cat to bury the faeces and urine in different places and where it has the opportunity to bury the two effectively. But why do cats bury their faeces? Because the cat is in the middle of the food pyramid, it has many predators above it as well as many prey below. So it buries the faeces so as not to leave a trace that can be detected by predators and not to alert potential prey of its presence.

Is this cat behaviour acquired or innate?

Burying is an instinctive gesture in the cat, but the way to do that is often learned. Kittens will watch their mother, siblings or other adult cats and mimic their behaviour to bury. This may also explain why some cats scratch the walls of a litter box rather than the sand itself. The reason is simple. It is likely that these cats were brought up in a house with a litter box that had a lid or with walls that were too high. They may have seen their mother or adult cats enter the litter box but they may not have seen them scratch the sand.

Cats urinate to mark their territory

The cat does always hide its urine but uses it to mark its territory. This serves as a warning sign to other cats not to venture into their territory. The way cats urinate when they are marking territory is markedly different from how they urinate normally. Marking of territory is not done within the latrine as is often a stream of urine projected on a vertical object. This leaves a particularly foul odour.

Preventing territory marking

Contrary to popular belief, it is not only the male cats that mark their territory with urine, female cats as do the same. Moreover, the vast majority of cats that have not been neutered will urine mark from the age of 7 to 10 months, either inside or outside the house. That is why neutering your cat, whether male or female, will drastically reduce the chances of urine marking.

Why do cats poop on carpets, beds or sofas?

Anxiety and fear are other possible reasons that cats will poop outside their litter box at home. An anxious or worried cat may urinate at specific locations such as the bed, carpet or sofa. But why these specific areas? It is the place where the smell of their owners is strongest and they poop here so as to get some reassurance and comfort.

Choosing the right Litter Box for your cat

A litter box in the house replaces the latrine outside. This means that they should meet the same criteria and should be large enough to accommodate the cat. A good size should be able to accommodate at least three grown cats.

Litter boxes should preferably have no lid to allow the cat to be able to monitor its environment. It must be able to feel safe as he would in the wild.

The number of litter boxes in the house is very important and there is a simple rule to determine this number. You put as many litter boxes as there are cats in the house plus one. Therefore if you have two cats, you will put three bins. Even if you only have one cat, you will require two cat litter boxes. Just like in nature, the cat will want to separate urine from poop and having several litter boxes will help it do this. In fact, it is not uncommon for a cat to use one litter box for poop and the other for urine. If your cat tends to poop in the litter box and urinate outside the box, it is quite possible that he does not agree with your present arrangement of one box.

Another reason why you will need more than one cat litter box is because they need to be constantly clean. Having more than one cat litter box will ensure that they do not get very dirty for the cat to use.

Ensure that the cat litter boxes have at least 3-4 inches of litter for the cat to scratch but not reach the bottom.

Litter Box Training for your cat

The training of a cat that has been accustomed to pooping outside can be a difficult though not impossible task and success rates vary. There are a number of factors that determine the success rate of your cat’s litter box training, the most important been its demeanour, previous experience and the method you use when training.

You will need the following for your cat litter box training:

  • Large litter box. The acceptance level will be much higher if you use a large box instead of a small one. These boxes are available commercially but the best place to purchase them is at the pet store where you find the best sizes.
  • Since the cat was accustomed to pooping outside, you will slowly get him accustomed to other forms of litter in the box. For starters however, it is better to fill the litter box with some soil and soft padding material just to get them started. Once the cat is used to using the box, you can then introduce the other litter material.
  • Cats like to poop in a secluded and private area. Make sure you located the litter box in a corner of the house where there is little human and animal traffic.
  • Observe the areas where your cat poops when they are outside and get some of that material into its new litter box. You have to make sure that you are using the poop from your cat and not from other cats as the training will not work in that case.
  • Give the cat some privacy for a number of hours and let it get accustomed to the litter box. If you find new poop in the litter box, then you will know that it was a success.
  • Remember to keep the litter box clean by removing the poop at least once a day. Very important as the cat will stop using the litter box if it is dirty

That is all you need to do to train your cat and prevent them from pooping in the wrong areas of the house. Now that you have trained your cat to poop, you will have to decide on the kind of litter that you will be using.

Types of Cat Litter

There are many types of beddings for the litter box that can be safely used and it all depends on your preferences. As mentioned above, cats will stop using the litter box if it is dirty and that is why the material you chose must be easy to maintain.

Plant litter

For people who organic minded, this is the right type of bedding to use. This type of cat litter mimic what is found in nature as it is biodegradable. The main materials used for this litter is wood fibres, hemp and straw.

The only problem with this kind of litter is that it has to be regularly changed – at least every week is the norm. However, the material can be used to make compost or just simply disposed of in a clean way.

Mineral litter

This is the most widely used litter by families who own cats. It is composed largely of silica or clay. There are two kinds of mineral litter: agglutination and non-clumping. The clumping litters are much easier to use because they are easier to clean thanks to the compact formation that occurs as a result of your cat's urine. Despite the odour, you will be satisfied with the litter because it is very effective.

Non-clumping litter absorbs the urine but it starts smelling after a few uses and must be replaced frequently.

Litter paper

100% biodegradable paper litter is a litter that is easily disposed of in the toilet. It is ideal for families who live with someone who has respiratory problems such as asthma. In fact, since it has zero dust, it is not toxic to the cat or the family.

Sand-based bedding

This is a very good type of litter but you will have to contend with the odour as it does not do well in that respect. Cleaning the litter is also a bit difficult but at least the material is not toxic to your cat.

Choosing your cat litter is therefore a very important activity that should not be taken lightly. You should choose the litter that best fits the needs of your cat as well as your family.

Choosing the right cat litter mat

You have now trained your cat not to poop on your carpet, bed and sofa. You have installed a litter box with the right kind of litter. There is only one other serious thing you will have to contend with – the cleanliness of the rest of the house.

After every visit to the litter box, your cat will have litter on its body and especially on the paws. This residual litter will be strewn all over the house and cleaning your house will be a big challenge. That is where a cat litter mat will come in handy.

The cat litter mat is very convenient. It cleans your cat’s paws when he comes out of his litter box to prevent litter residues from spreading all of the house, thus guaranteeing a clean environment. It is made from high quality PVC and is washable with just water and a sponge.

You will have to get used to the rubber smell that comes with this mat. That said, it is still a very effective device in controlling dirt from the litter box. It will significantly reduce the time you spend cleaning your house. To remove the grains from the mat, simply fold it into half and gently shake it over the trash. While the plastic is a little odd due to its rigid construction, the cats surely do love it.

The only downside is that it is not as strong as expected. Given the fact that cats like playing with it, it is only a matter of time before they punch holes. If your cats are the aggressive and playful types, maybe this is not the product for you.

You will enjoy the immediate transformation of your house from sand all over to a clean living space devoid of dirt.

The litter mat is made with the standard cat litter boxes in mind and is the perfect size for collection of the maximum amount of litter residue. Like the other litter mats reviewed, the rubber smell is still a put off – though it fades after a few washes.

It is not uncommon for a cat to be covered with litter after a visit to its litter box. This residue will often land on the house, seats and even on the pet owner. That is why this litter mat is recommended for placing next to you cat litter box.

Measuring 37cm X 45cm, it will recover most of the litter clinging on your cats fur and paws so as to prevent from being dispersed all over the house or apartment.

Moreover, due to its strong PVC construction, it provides some protection against cat clawing which is a common occurrence. The PVC material also makes it easy for one to clean the mat without a problem meaning that it is reusable for a long time.

The mat comes in plain colors and is a reasonable size meaning that it will not clutter your space or mar you décor scheme

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Ann1Az2 profile image

      Ann1Az2 2 years ago from Orange, Texas

      Very useful information for cat owners. Since I have four, I can relate to most of what you have written about. I got tired of the cat litter boxes in the the stores because one of my cats is just too big for most of them and I found myself cleaning urine that spilled onto the floor and the sides of the litter box. So, I decided to try using one of the big plastic storage boxes from Walmart and it works perfectly. I also have a long one (about 5 feet) that I use for a litter box. Both must be agreeable to my cats because they haven't gone in the house anywhere else. Well done and voted up.

    Click to Rate This Article