Do you know how to litter train an outdoor cat? For a lot of cat owners who adopted a street cat, that could be a challenge. Feral cats know only one thing and one thing only, and that is how to survive in the streets. Because no one is looking after them, they have to fend for themselves in order to survive. You, as a cat owner, must realize that feral cats might have a hard time trusting humans since they have been in the streets for so long. Some feral cats, on the other hand, have been abused and abandoned by their human owners, so earning their trust could be a tough challenge as well.
The number one goal of every cat parent is to provide their cats with unconditional love and a loving forever home where they are deeply cared for until the very end.
Why You Should Litter Train Your Cat
Believe it or not, there are still people who don’t see the benefits of litter trained cat. They just allow their pets to take a dump anywhere at home. If you are one of these people who are not fully convinced that cats should be litter trained, here are the following reasons for you.
1. For hygiene purposes
Obviously, if a cat takes a dump anywhere she’d like, you’ll get to smell her feces and urine. Her wastes are full of pathogens and bacteria which could get to your other pets, your kids and even on your skin if you let those wastes remain for a long time. They could cause sicknesses and health problems. But if a cat is litter trained, she has a bathroom to run to, where she could take a dump as freely as she’d like.
2. To avoid mess
I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure most people hate the idea of picking up wastes while at home. When you’re home, you’re supposed to relax and take some time off, not deal with some mess. Picking up wastes is never fun, worse it makes your house smell because you could find your cat’s wastes in the most obscure spaces! Having a litter box, on the other hand, is so much easier for human owners because they don’t have to worry about any mess they could find on the carpet or even in the most unexpected places. It just makes your house much cleaner overall. A litter box is the practical solution if you don’t want your cat causing you headaches due to her wastes.
3. Nurtures cat’s natural instincts
Cats are clean creatures. You see a cat licking herself because she cleans herself from all contacts. Having a litter box nurtures or encourages that instinct because it’s much cleaner compared to taking a dump anywhere she wants.
4. To avoid disputes
Neighbors normally don’t want stray cats in their yard because they might poop in their property. If your cat happens to wander about in their own land and take a dump there, who knows what could happen? Obviously, your neighbors will be upset and might even take legal action. You certainly don’t want any of this to happen at all, and none of these would have happened if your cat is litter trained.
Now that your cat must be litter trained, we should select a good litter box that will suit your cat’s needs. What makes a good litter box?
Qualities Of A Good Litter Box
1. Size: One of the most important things you must consider when buying a litter box is its size. Cats need to move freely when they enter the litter box. It should not be too small for their size and not cramped or else they will feel uncomfortable doing their business. Just imagine being in a small bathroom. I’m pretty sure you won’t appreciate that, either.
The litter box must be big enough for your cat’s size. It must have a lot of room, so they can shuffle and kick the litter, pee and poop comfortably inside. If you are buying for a feral kitten, buy a litter box that will be big enough for her once she grows.
2. Durability: The quality of the litter box relies heavily on its durability. Make sure it’s made by a trusted brand. If a litter box is durable, it will not easily break down and be unusable. It will last for years. A litter box made from plastic is good, because it can last for years.
3. If your cat is old or disabled, make sure the litter box has a ramp or a lower entryway or both. Older and disabled cats have needs much different from able bodied cats, since the former have difficulty moving about and accessing the litter box. A lot of old cats have vision and mobility problems, so they can’t enter their litter box with ease. Same with disabled cats. A ramp and a lower entryway, however, will help them enter their litter box more easily but make sure you’re also there for them for additional assistance. There are litter box companies that sell litter boxes with ramps so you better look out for them.
Once you have your litter box, it’s time that you buy a good cat litter. Your cat will not have a pleasant experience pooping in the litter box if the litter is not made of good quality. Basically, there are certain things you have to consider when buying good cat litter. It must absorb the urine very well, it must be odorless and they should be hazard-free. These qualities are further discussed in Best Litter For Cats.
Always remember to place the litter box far away from where your cat eats. Cats are clean creatures so they will not poop right where they eat.
How To Litter Train An Outdoor Cat
Training an outdoor cat to use the litter box is like teaching a child how to use the potty. There will be lots of frustrations along the way because your cat will not get it at first. There will be mistakes and upsetting situations, so I’m telling you this early not to yell nor hurt your cat because it will only make things worse.
1. Have a litter box on every floor
Your cat wanders a lot most of the time on her own. In other words, you will never know where your cat is, so it’s much better to have a litter box on every floor of your home to make it convenient for her wherever she is. The golden rule is to have a litter box for every cat, plus one. So if you have two cats, you must have three litter boxes in case of an emergency.
2. Far away from the food and water bowls
As mentioned, cats are naturally hygienic animals that naturally groom themselves. Cats will poop somewhere else if her water and food bowls are near where she poops. Therefore, place her litter box far away from where she eats. If your cat eats in the Dining Room on the first floor, your cat’s litter box should be in the bathroom or in the guestroom where it’s far away. That way, she won’t be stressed and there would be no mess.
3. Pop her in
The best way to introduce your feral cat to her litter box is by popping her in. Outdoor cats have no problem pooping anywhere they want, but this time, the rules will change. You have to lay down the rules and send a message to your cat that she will not poop in the garden anymore. If your cat is still adjusting to her new home life, now’s the time to get your cat to her shiny new toy – her litter box.
Simply bring your cat over to the litter box and pop her in there. Watch for her reaction. If she kicks and shuffles the litter around and sniffs where she is, it’s a good sign that she’s curious and take it in. But if your cat seems uninterested, you will have to bring her over next time. Introducing your cat to the litter box is meant to be stress-free. You should not force your cat to react in a certain way you like. There will be many opportunities ahead for your cat to get used to the litter box so don’t be disappointed.
5. If your cat is disabled or old, more assistance is required
Assist her by bringing her over to the litter box itself. If she eliminates there, you know the drill. Praise or give her some treats. Don’t get frustrated if she doesn’t eliminate there at first.
6. You can get your cat to use the litter box by putting catnip towards the litter box. This is to bring her over there if your cat is hesitant to go to the litter box.
7. If your old or disabled cat has difficulty using the litter box, a good alternative to this problem are *puppy training pads* which you can use for your cat. Puppy training pads, instead of litter box, should be where your cat eliminates from now on. You can also use *puppy training holders* to keep the pads in place. Bring her over after meals and when she successfully does her business, praise her or give her treats.
8. Bring her old feces to the litter box for her to get the memo.
Bringing her old feces is an effective way of telling your cat the litter box is where she should eliminate. When she finally eliminates there, praise her or give her treats.
9. Don’t forget to praise your cat every time she eliminates inside her litter box.
This will motivate her to keep doing her business there because it’s something nice and pleasurable.
10. If your cat still refuses to eliminate despite all your best efforts, there are various reasons why.
Health problem: Maybe your cat has a health problem that is keeping her from eliminating properly. Whatever it is, it’d be better to being her over to the vet for checkup.
Anxiety: Maybe your cat is feeling some anxiety. That anxiety is usually caused by environment. If there are changes in your environment, they are enough for your cat to feel anxious and not use the litter box. Have you moved? Has your house undergone renovation? Do you have a new cat, a new pet or a new baby? Is she bullied by other cats in the neighborhood? She may be an outdoor cat but that doesn’t mean she can’t feel any anxiety. Go to the root cause of her anxiety and address it.
Cleanliness: Your cat’s litter box should be clean all the time so she can always use it. Remember, cats are clean creatures, so if her bathroom isn’t clean, she’s not going to use it. So always clean her litter box after every use so she won’t hesitate to use it. Check the litter and make sure it has no traces of poop and urine.
There are many ways how to train an outdoor cat. An outdoor cat is just like any other cat in that, she needs love and thorough attention and when you give her that, she will be your companion and friend for life.