Teaching your cat how to use a litter tray is one of the most important aspects of cat ownership - especially if you decide to keep your four-legged friend as an indoor cat. Most cats will learn how and where to toilet from their mother at a very young age - all it takes is to show them where the litter tray is and they will take to using it straight away. For some cats it can take a little more encouragement. Nervous kittens may take a little longer to become accustomed to their new surroundings and some cats may not know how to use a tray at all.
Whether you’re litter training a new kitten or retraining an older cat, this article will provide some guidance to help you and your feline friend get the litter tray mastered.
Why Does My Cat Poop Outside The Litter Box?
Once any medical causes have been ruled out, start to look for patterns that may point to the possible cause of your cat using anywhere but the litter tray. Your cat may find the actual litter box offensive and you may need to look for an alternative litter tray. Or perhaps they prefer a certain type of surface? Try to replicate the surface they prefer in their litter box to entice them back to using their toilet. Don’t forget to make sure the tray is clean and the litter is fresh, as like us humans, your cat will not want to use a dirty toilet.
How To Train A Cat To Use The Litter Box
To give you and your feline the best chance, make sure you have all the things you are going to need to ensure litter training is a success. You will need the following:
- Litter Box - You’ll need two litter boxes for one cat, or three litter boxes for two cats. Make sure when choosing where to put the litter trays, they’re in a suitable place for both you and your cat. Your cat will need some privacy as if they’re too exposed, they might not feel safe enough to use them.
- Litter - Here at Lords & Labradors we know cats can be particular with the litter they take to. You’re best to start with an unscented, clumping litter, and then once your cat is fully litter trained, you can experiment with other litters.
- Treats & Toys - When they successfully use their litter box, reward them with their favourite treat, or favourite toy. Create positive associations with using the litter box - but be aware you'll need to wean your cat off expecting a food-related treat every time she uses the box.
Once you have all the correct gear for starting litter training, you will actually need to get your cat involved in the training. By following these easy steps, you should have a fully litter box trained cat in no time.
- Start by showing the boxes as soon as your cat arrives home, by setting them in the box and letting them sniff and examine their new toilets. Be sure not to move the boxes once you've shown them to your cat, to avoid confusion.
- Set your cat in one of the litter boxes immediately after meals and after they wake up from naps. If you notice they’re behaving like they need to go to the toilet, often this might look like sniffing and/or crouching in a particular area, pick them up and put them in one of the litter boxes.
- Make sure you reward your feline whenever you notice them using their litter box. Praise and/or give them a treat or a toy.
- Remember not to punish or scold for any accidents. Doing so will only lead to stress and anxiety, which may exacerbate the problem and make training more difficult.
Where To Put The Cat Litter Box?
Placement is really important in making your cat feel safe. Place your litter tray in discreet corners or adjacent to walls so that your cat has a full view of approaching danger but is also protected from behind.
Try not to place your cats litter tray where they eat and drink, find a low traffic area in your home and avoid full-length windows looking out over the garden, cat flaps, and external doors where the threat from strange cats outside may be particularly evident for your cat.
It's important to take proper care of the litter box. It will make using a litter box a more pleasant experience for your cat.