How to Train a Cat to Use the Litter Box
Kitty litter box training is essential to raising a kitten. Some kittens need a few days of attention while others will require very little training at all. Fortunately, our favorite quirky companions adapt very quickly to using a litter box, even if they were raised outdoors. If your kitten was raised by a mother already accustomed to using a litter box, then you may not need to train them at all.
Most pick up the habit straight from their mother. However, if you need litter box training advice look no further. Here we’ll be taking you through a comprehensive look at how to train a cat to use a litter box.
Selecting a Litter Box
You have a huge selection of options when shopping for a litter box. A plastic litter box is the best choice but it may be too large for a kitten. Covered litter boxes also work but they’re generally best for cats who are already used to going in a box. Ultimately, it depends on the personality of your feline companion. Some prefer the concealed environment of a closed litter box while others prefer an open design.
If you don’t have an appropriately sized litter box on hand, then you can always start with a flat cardboard box or a baking tin. As long as the sides of the box are low enough for kitty to climb in without hassle, your box should work. You can always switch to a covered litter box once your cat or cats have become used to using one.
Picking the Best Cat Litter
There are so many different types of cat litter at any given pet shop or store that you could easily become lost in your sea of possibilities. The best cat litter is generally one that is scoop-able. Most cat litters mask odors extremely well but try not to buy the cheapest brands as they could carry a strong smell of plastic.
Cats will stay away from anything which has a very strong odor, so it may take one or two tries before you find the right cat litter for your kitty. Certain types of kitty litter even come with herbs which appeal to the natural instinct of felines making it much easier to coax your cat into using a litter box.
Preparing an Area For Your Litter Box
Your cat’s litter box should be positioned in an area that is a good distance from any loud noises or frequent interruptions. Put it far from your feline’s food or bed as kittens and cats prefer to go far from where they sleep and eat. Stay away from cramped spaces as this is unsuitable to your cat’s natural habits and a small area can fill up with odors rather quickly, seemingly reducing the effectiveness of your litter.
The best place for a litter box for kittens learning to use one is a place where the box is easy to locate. If your kittens are limited to a single room for the time being then place the litter box in a corner. As soon as your kittens begin exploring the house, you’ll want to place a second tray so that they always have easy access.
Once your litter box is ready, it’s time to introduce your kitty. Put them inside the tray, lifting some of the litter with a scoop to show how this is a soft area which can be dug in. It may take some time for your kitten to become comfortable with this foreign object, so be patient.
Throughout the first few days, whenever you notice your kitten squatting put the little one into the litter box. Some kittens, pick up the habit after just one try; others may take some time. Whenever your kitten uses the litter box correct be sure to praise them.
Potential Litter Box Issues
If your kitten or cat simply doesn’t want to start using their litter box then there could be a range of issues which you missed. When kitty won’t adjust, go through their potential litter box issues and see where you can make some changes.
Litter box sharing
Some cats will only use a litter box if they are the only ones using it. This is normally only an issue for older cats being introduced to a new household but if any feline won’t adjust and there is more than one cat in the house, try placing an extra litter box or two.
Synthetic scented cat litter
As before mentioned, certain synthetic scented cat litter products are very high in plastic and chemicals. You’ll normally notice the odor straight away, but if kitty doesn’t want to use their tray, no matter where you put it, then try switching out your cat litter even if it doesn’t carry a smell.
If your cat is suffering from stress from either an antagonizing member of the household, a sudden change within your home, a change of home, or the addition of a new pet, then they may end up going somewhere random.
If your cat starts urinating or defecating anywhere other than the litter box after becoming accustomed to using one, then consider what could be placing your kitty under stress. Common problems include a perceived danger from poor litter box placement or too many cats using the same tray.
When a cat or kitten is introduced to a new home they may be so perturbed that it is hard to get them to adjust to any form of habit. One of the only ways to help you cat accept its own home and in turn be ready to start using a litter box is to ground them in one room. Choose a room without carpets and line the floor with paper if need be. Put the litter box in one corner and its food and bed in the opposite. It may take up to a week or two of grounding before your cat is happy in their new home.