If you’ve ever adopted a feral cat, he might not like the idea of using a litter box for eliminating in the beginning. However, kittens observe their momma cats and simply learn this behavior from them. Also, a cat adopted from a shelter is likely to be litter trained. Meaning, you won’t have to put so many efforts to litter train your feline as litter boxes are similar to where they eliminate in the wild, and cats can manifest eliminating in the boxes easily.
However, you need to set up litter boxes the right way in order to train your cat and to avoid problems related to litter in the future. Well, that is another article for another time. For now, we will assume that the litter boxes are set up correctly and focus on training your feline furball.
Things to keep in mind to litter train your cat
Here’s a rundown on how to train your cat to use a litter box.
Importance of a good location
Find a quiet location where your cat can relax and human intervention is the least. Felines have a natural instinct for eliminating and burying. If a cat feels the litter box is inaccessible to him, he might start eliminating around the house. The more they do it elsewhere, the more likely they feel it’s ok to do so. That said, address this issue as soon as possible. Many cats end up in shelters because their owners fail to solve litter related matters. But it is not that tough.
The location should be convenient and easily accessible. A cat won’t trek long to search the litter box when he feels the urge to eliminate. Moreover, there should be enough litter boxes so that cats can reach them from most places in the house quickly.
Ensure that your cat’s food and water bowls are not near to the box. Cats like everything clean and they would never appreciate a litter box near their food and water. In this case, a cat will be anxious and will be stressed enough to have accidents.
Observe your cat’s schedule closely
Cats feel the urge to go after taking a nap, having their meals, and after their playing sessions. However, your cat may want to go slightly more frequently and that’s okay. Observe your cat when he wants to eliminate during the day. This will help you understanding when to be around the litter box and not to take him with you on the sofa for binge-watching with you.
Play with your cat near the litter box
Many cats need to eliminate after playing and running around in the house. Go into the room where the litter box is placed and close the door. Bring in your cat’s favorite toys and let him play. When your furball is done with the playtime and wants to eliminate, you can easily and quickly direct him to a litter box.
Type of litter
The need for easy clumping litter may lead you to make a mistake sometimes. If you’re training a kitten, you should avoid using clumping litter. Kittens are curious and tend to eat whatever new is introduced to them. That said, your kitten may want to eat clumps after eliminating. So, it is wise using the natural, pallet-based litter until they turn 2-3 months old at least. Natural litter will also keep them safe from toxic materials and scents present in clumping litters.
Teach him how to do inside the box
Some cats have never used a litter box and if this is the case with your cat, you need to teach him how to do in the box. Most cats observe their mother and learn using a poop box in their kitten stage. Also, if you have other cats at home using the litter box, it would be easier for your cat to learn and adapt to the behavior.
Well, you don’t actually have to use the litter box to teach them. Carry your furball and place him into the box when he is about to eliminate after his playtime. Teach him how to dig in the litter.
Even if your cat eliminates and doesn’t bury the waste, you should teach him how to do it. Use your finger and cover his waste with the litter. Also, you can grab his paw gently and cover the waste. Please be sure that you’re not freaking him out and making anxious. If this is the case, your cat might feel aversion to this new habit.
This might take time but he will definitely understand that you want him to adapt their eliminating and burying behavior.
How to address accidents
No matter how careful you be, your cat at some point may eliminate outside the box. And that’s totally okay. There can be a lot of reasons behind that including not setting up litter boxes the right way or your cat is just learning to use it. You should never ever shout at your kitty. He will be confused, frightened, and anxious and it will not solve the problem anyway.
If your cat has an accident, do not just throw away the fecal matter in the garbage. Instead, put it into the litter box. This way, your cat will associate the scent of his excreta with the litter box and will approve himself to use it the next time.
When your cat eliminates outside, clean that spot thoroughly using enzyme cleaner. Cats have surprisingly better smelling ability than us. Even if the spot looks clean visibly, they can identify the scent from that spot.
After trying everything, if your feline buddy keeps repeating the mistake, you should try putting a litter box at that spot as that place might be territorial important for him and wants to mark it. In addition, you can move his food and water bowls near that spot because your cat will feel the aversion of eliminating near it and should solve the problem.
It is not tough to litter train your cat as litter boxes are a replica of where your cats would eliminate if they were in the wild. Your cat will manifest the behavior and learn using litter boxes soon. But if you find any change in behavior of your cat, for instance, meowing loud while urinating or having accidents or observing blood in stool or urine, visit your veterinarian as soon as possible. There can be urinary tract infections or gastrointestinal issues with your cat that need to be addressed. Do you want to share your experiences with us? Let us know in the comment section below.