How to Teach Your Cat to Use a Litter Box

How to Teach Your Cat to Use a Litter Box​​​​​​​

Setting up your litter box

One of the most common reasons that cats fail to use a litter box is because it is set up all wrong. Placement is one of the most important aspects of successful litter box usage, so it is crucial to get it right.

Each household should have at least one litterbox per cat, plus one extra. So, a household with one cat should have two boxes, a household with two cats should have three… etc. Make sure the litter boxes are in easily accessible locations, and choose boxes that are open rather than covered. While we may prefer the look of a covered litter box, your cat will feel trapped and vulnerable using one.

When it comes to choosing the litter, you should opt for a variety that as closely replicates what they find in the wild as possible. Cats have a great sense of smell so scented varieties are likely to be off-putting. Instead, opt for a natural scent, ideally with a soft, sandy texture.

Teaching your cat to use the litter box

Learning your cat’s schedule is essential to teach them to successfully use a litter box. Ordinarily, there are three times that a cat is more likely to need to relieve herself. These are:

-         After eating

-         After a nap

-         After running around playing
By recognizing these occasions, you can encourage your cat towards the litter box at the appropriate time.

Start familiarizing your cat with the litter box by playing games together near it. This will help her to feel comfortable around it, and when you have finished playing, you can place her in or near it to encourage her to ‘go’. If your kitty’s litter box is in a room that has a door, close it so she can’t run away.

An important part of the litter box process is teaching your feline how to dig and bury her waste. Some cats will do this naturally, but others will need to be shown. Use one of your fingers to scrap some of the litter aside, or to bury it, until your cat picks up on this behavior and starts to copy it – eventually, she will.

Litter box training tips

-         If your cat ‘goes’ outside the litter box, pick the waste up and put it inside. She will associate the smell with the box and it will help remind her where she needs to go when she needs to relieve herself.

-         Don’t shout at your kitty if she goes in the wrong place. This is more likely to make her anxious and have further toilet training problems.

-         Clean out the litter boxes regularly and thoroughly. Cats like to be clean and won’t like to use a box that is dirty.
Don’t use bleach or disinfectant to clean the boxes. They have a strong chemical smell and can be toxic to your furry friend. Instead use non-perfumed hot soapy water.