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Training Your Cat To Use The Litter Box

Updated on July 14, 2017

Cats know what they like

Cats by nature, will more often than not use a litter box all themselves without a lot of prompting. Cats can be quite fastidious about keeping themselves neat and clean, so instinctively they will want to make going to the bathroom a naturally efficient process. However, in some cases you may still need to give your ball of furriness a few pointers in the litter box department. The sooner you begin teaching your cat to use the litter box, the happier you will be. Not all cats pick litter box usage up automatically. Some need that little bit of extra encouragement.

Cat in a box
Cat in a box

Litter Box Training Tips

Choosing a litter box- There are so many different styles of litter boxes to chose from. A good quality litter box is imperative if you want to have a clean, smell free area. There are automatic (self-cleaning) litter boxes, boxes with hoods, round or square boxes too. You decide what box is best for you and your cats needs. You want to make sure you get the right size so your cat is able to get in and out of the box with ease, or you may have a mess to clean up. Sometimes the simplest is the easiest. For you, and your cat. Which brings me to my next tip.

Choosing a location- Depending on the box you have chosen, it is solely up to you where you put that litter box. It would be customary to put in an area that is quiet and less traveled, so your cat has some privacy utilizing the new litter box without interruption. Steer clear of any food areas, a cat will more often then not go where its food is present. Make it easy for your cat to use the litter box, hiding it, or putting out of the way in a confined area may make it difficult for your cat to use. If the box is readily available, the transition should be seamless. You might also consider a spot that is easy for you to maneuver around when it's time to clean the soiled box.

Choosing a cat litter- There are so many cat litter products, it's almost impossible to choose what one to use. Clay, fine-grained, soil, even corn is available. It is going to be solely up to you and your cat as to what functions best. Once you find what cat litter works best for your cat, stick with it, most cats do not like change. They will often let you know by going outside of the box if they don't like the change in litter. For example you may like a scented litter, while your cat might outright reject it. So it's going to be a process between you and your cat to choose the perfect litter. One thing to remember, always keep the box clean, or your cat just might leave you a lovely present elsewhere besides the litter box. In my experience, cats do not like a dirty or full litter box. Adding a box of baking soda to the litter box may help eliminate orders.


Kittens sometimes need a bit more encouragement towards the litter box
Kittens sometimes need a bit more encouragement towards the litter box

Litter Box Introduction

And now is the time to introduce your cat to the litter box. If you have a kitten or a rescue who is use to using the outdoors you might have to put in a little extra work. Put your cat or kitten in the litter box, this usually works better if you do this about 30 minutes after you feed your cat. Stand aside and let the cat explore the box. You may have to repeat the process several times for the cat to understand exactly what it's suppose to do. An older cat may not need as much attention as a smaller kitten. Beware, there may be accidents, so be prepared for those. Cleaning solutions can be found at your pet store, or wherever you buy your pet supplies. It's always best to use gentle reinforcements with your cat. Yelling and hitting will NOT make your cat go to the litter box. If you have time and patience your cat should be going in the litter box in no time at all.

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