If you have just become the proud owner of an adorable new feline – congratulations! Cats make wonderful pets and you will undoubtedly enjoy a wonderful life together. However, there will also be lots for you to learn about your new kitty and how get behaviors that you would most appreciate. No owner likes to have to deal with toilet accidents, and so one of the first things that you will want to do is to train your cat to use the litter box.
Litter box training is crucial, if you want to keep your home looking, feeling, and smelling harmonious for everyone living under your roof. Fortunately, cats are well known for being particularly clean as animals go and doing their business in the litter box tends to be a something that most cats pick up on fairly quickly.
If you are really lucky, you may even adopt a cat that has previously had some litter box training, and this means your cat will probably adapt to using yours with little problem at all.
First, set up your litter box
You may not think that it matters too much where you locate your kitty’s litter box. However, an issue with the location of the litter box is one of the most common reasons why your feline is refusing to pee or poop in the correct place.
A litter box needs to be in an area that is easy to access and has some privacy but is not so far removed that your cat feels isolated. Utility rooms, bathrooms, studies and hallways make good locations.
Next you need to think about the style of litter box your cat is using. This may be a case of trial and error as while some cats prefer an enclosed litter box, others may feel vulnerable or threatened while using one and prefer to be able to see around them while they do their business.
The final part of setting up your litter box involves picking which litter you will use. Cats tend to prefer types which most closely resemble what they would find if they were to do their business outside so try and find an odorless brand with a soft, sand-like texture.
Learn your cat’s bathroom schedule
You may have high ideals that your cat will fall into the routine that you set, but felines are very independent and stubborn creatures and we can pretty much guarantee that you will end up bending to the schedule your cat creates!
However, learning a routine is essential if you are to get your cat to use the litter box successfully. This is because there are usually three points of the day that a cat is more likely to need to empty their bladder or bowels. These are after eating, after sleeping, and after running around playing with you.
If you know when your cat is more likely to need to go, you can encourage litter box use at these times. Some owners find that they can place their pet into the box, and they will go immediately, while others will need to opt for a slower and more obvious approach.
It’s important for your cat to get used to being near the box, then placing them inside it as well as teaching how to dig and bury waste. This can take time for your pet to get to grips with, but within a few weeks she should have a good idea what to do!
Top tips for litter box training your cat
Make sure you have enough litter boxes. The rule of thumb is that you should have at least one litter box per cat, and if you have more than two in the household, one more than the number of felines you have. For example, if you have three cats you need four litter boxes.
Clean out your litter boxes regularly and do a thorough clean at least once a week. Cats won’t use a litter box that doesn’t look and smell fairly clean. Your kitty’s sense of smell is much stronger than yours is, so if there is even a faint odor emanating from the box this could prove overpowering for your pet. For this reason, you should also avoid bleach and disinfectants.
Don’t get mad if your cat goes outside the box. Instead, pick the waste up and place it inside the litter box. This will help your cat understand where waste should go and the smell of it will encourage use of the box in the future.
Be patient! It is virtually unheard of for a cat to not be able to be litter box trained – it just takes time and patience!
Want to learn more about becoming a new cat owner, or need to schedule a wellness exam for you cat? Call Pet Wellness Clinics!