How to Train a Cat to the Litter Box: 7 Universal Tips

Every cat owner goes through the stage of accustoming the animal to the litter box. In most cases, this habit develops quickly, because cats are naturally very clean and are happy to pee in the litter box. But some pets show considerable stubbornness in accustoming to the litter box. In this case, owners need to have patience and try different tips to succeed.

Put the litter box in the right place

The litter box should be in a place where the cat will always have access to it. Most owners put the litter box in the litter box, and it’s not a bad place. But the door to the litter box should never be closed. Don’t put the tray near bowls of food and water – cats don’t crap where they eat and drink.

Place the tray away from the food and show it to your cat. Take your pet to the litter box after you eat and dig in the litter with your fingers. It is advisable to catch the moment when the cat wants to go to the toilet – sit down and start digging around with your paws. Sooner or later the animal will understand what to do with the toilet.

Experiment with litter trays and fillers

Choosing the right litter that your cat likes is very important for a positive outcome. If the cat refuses to go to the litter box – it may be the filler.

The most universal material that almost all cats like is wood, but there are exceptions to it too. The layer of the filler should be 3-5 cm so that it was convenient to dig in it.

Sometimes the animal may not like the litter box itself. Some cats prefer to go to high and closed litter trays, other pets will suit any options. Particularly clean cats require two trays for two types of “business”. If there are several cats in the house, each needs an individual litter box.

Lay newspapers or diapers

At the beginning of litter tray training, find a place in the house where the cat defecates most often. Put the litter tray there and surround it with several layers of newspaper or nappies. Then gradually remove the newspapers one by one until you have only one litter box left. When he’s used to the tray, move it to a place that’s comfortable for you.

Treat the place where the cat defecated

If you find a “surprise” in the wrong place, wash it off immediately with soapy water so the cat won’t find the place by smell again. Spray orange scent or put orange peels in the area as cats hate the smell of citrus.

Put a tissue with urine in it

Before cleaning, gently dip a tissue in a puddle of urine and transfer it to the edge of the litter tray. The next time the cat will find the cat’s litter box by its smell. Repeat the process every time until the animal becomes accustomed to the litter box.

Praise for success and don’t punish

If the cat goes to the litter box in the right place, praise it for its success and give it something tasty right away. Then the cat will form a positive association with the litter box. It is important to give the cat a treat while he is still in the litter box.

In the case of a “miss”, it is useless to punish the animal. The cat will not understand why the owner scolds him, but he may stop trusting the person and defecate in hard-to-reach places.

Clean the litter box, but not completely

If the cat has successfully used the litter box, you shouldn’t throw away all the litter and wash the litter box. The cat’s scent should stay in the litter box, so it’ll be easier for the cat to get used to the litter box. It’s best to leave a third of the used litter in the container and mix it with new litter. This will leave a familiar scent in the litter box.

Otherwise, the cat will be squeamish and go to the toilet in another place.

Wash the litter box about once a week with an odorless product.

Trait training for adult cats

Most of our tips are also suitable for adult cats. If an adult cat has used the litter box before, make sure you ask the previous owners what kind of litter they used and where the litter box was. You can also ask them to give you the cat’s old litter box.

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Written by Emma Miller

I am a registered dietitian nutritionist and own a private nutrition practice, where I provide one-on-one nutritional counseling to patients. I specialize in chronic disease prevention/ management, vegan/ vegetarian nutrition, pre-natal/ postpartum nutrition, wellness coaching, medical nutrition therapy, and weight management.

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