Every cat owner would want to know how to introduce their cat to the litter box. After all, while cats are naturally hygienic, it’s not enough at preventing them from eliminating anywhere in and outside your home. If cats are not properly trained to use the litter box, expect some soiled carpets, stinky-smelling bathroom floors, and houseplants drenched in poo and piss. All of these mess would be avoided if you buy a litter box where she’s supposed to eliminate.
Litter boxes are available in different shapes, sizes and materials. We now have the luxury to buy from a wide range of options, but it will still boil down to what your cat likes. So training your cat to use the litter box will take some time. As frustrating as this could be, the reward would be a cleaner house and a much more disciplined cat, so the trade-off will be worth it.
When it comes to litter box training a cat, there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. It all depends on their age, health conditions and circumstances.
How To Introduce Your Cat To The Litter Box
Do you want to know how to introduce your cat to the litter box? Getting your cat to use the litter box is a daunting task for some people especially if they haven’t done it before. One thing you have to remember is that, cats are very particular with their hygiene, not only does she like to clean herself, she also tends to stick to her routine when she does her business. So teaching her to use a litter box would be challenging, especially if it’s a new one.
The good news is, with these tips, you will learn how to introduce your cat to the litter box in no time.
- Put the new litter box in the same location.
Cats, just like other pets, rely on old routines, and are comfortable with what they already know when navigating through your home, so finding a litter box on the same spot will lessen the burden of teaching her to use the new litter box.
- Take your kitty to her new litter box and watch her reaction. A lot of cats will naturally get curious. They will poke around, scratch the new litter and sniff. If she does, that’s a good sign she’s interested in her new environment. If she shows no interest, take her out and bring her there an hour later.
- Fill in the new litter box with less than 2 inches of new cat litter. Cover it with half an inch of your old litter. Cats rely on old sights and smells to associate with their habits and navigate in their environment. In this case, your cat will need the sight, smell and texture of her old litter to establish her bathroom routine. As your cat moves and shuffles around, the new litter will mix with the old and eventually, she will get used to the senses of the new litter.
- Put some of her old feces in her new litter box.
Some cats will get confused once their litter box is gone, so to establish her old bathroom routine, you will need the smell of her old poop. Cats’ noses are sensitive. Once you put her feces in her new litter box, she will associate its smell to her daily routine.
However, you must remember that the bacteria in those feces are harmful to your cat’s health, so it’s not recommended that you let them remain there. Take them out right away after your cat eliminates.
- Whenever your cat is done with her business, congratulate and praise him so she gets encouraged to use the litter box. Be careful with startling her, though – do it gently and make sure she does not get terrified.
- Don’t forget to clean the litter box everyday.
- The most important thing is to stay patient during the whole process. Use a firm, gentle tone when speaking with your cat, and never resort to yelling or verbal reprimands when she makes mistakes. When she does something right, reward her with praises and treats and your cat will pick up on your message.
How To Train Your Cat To Use A New Litter Box
When moving the litter box to a new location sometimes, you have to move the litter box to a new area of the house due to changes such as a renovation. The good news is, you can re-train your cat to use her new litter box in a new location with these tips.
- Put the new litter box on a spot where your cat frequents. That place should be free from too much people, noises and heat. These include near the fireplace, in the laundry room, near the kitchen and in the wash room. Your cat needs somewhere quiet where he can have his privacy and not too far away.
- You can change one thing with the litter box at a time to help your cat get used to the changes. Mix his old litter with the new, then move on to the new litter box.
- Take your cat to his new litter box and watch how he reacts. If he sniffs his new litter and shuffles it, he’s likely interested in his new bathroom. You just have to wait now how he uses the litter box. But if he lacks interest, bring him over in an hour.
- Put his old feces in his new litter box as a message for him that he’s there to poop. Cats rely so much on old memories and senses for their routines and when navigating through their environment. Putting some old poop in the new litter establishes that familiarity for your feline pet, signalling to him that it’s time for him to do his business. Just make sure to dispose of the poop immediately to prevent the bacteria from proliferating.
- Always be congratulatory whenever your cat poops in his litter box. Give him treats, pet him and praise him to encourage him to always follow his new routines. Be sure not to startle him, though, after he leaves his litter box. Do it gently and speak in a firm voice.
- Clean the litter box regularly.
- Most importantly, be patient when training your cat to use his new litter box. Punishing him, and yelling at him will only delay his progress and will only lead to more accidents.
How To Teach A Senior Cat To Use A Litter Box
When training your senior cat to use a litter box, expect to devote a lot of time and some frustrations along the way. Some cats that lived most of their lives in the streets were neglected, so they will need proper litter box training. In some cases, a litter box needs to change because the cat can no longer use it due to his age.
If you have a senior cat, recognize if she has the following health problems. The following are some of the reasons why she can’t use the litter box properly.
- Age-related cognitive decline, memory, vision and hearing loss
Your cat rely on their sharp senses and memory when navigating their homes. Unfortunately, their sense of sight and hearing, as well as their memory decline as they age. Due to this, they may have difficulty continuing their bathroom routine because of their inability to locate their litter box.
- Urinary tract infection, diabetes and kidney problems will make it hard for your cat to control his bladder. He may suffer from frequent urination. If he only has one litter box, he may not make it in time to relieve herself, resulting to dirty carpets and a smelly floor.
- Joint problems such as arthritis will make it hard for your cat to get in and out of his litter box properly. If the litter box is too high for him, or has too narrow entryway, he may have some trouble entering and leaving.
HOW TO TEACH A SENIOR CAT TO USE A LITTER BOX
- Take your cat to a veterinarian.
Because your cat is getting older, it is now more important than ever to bring your cat for a medical check-up. A general check-up will determine if your cat has health problems which could be the reason behind his difficulty or discomfort in using his litter box. It could be his joints, or any of his organs, or cognitive decline. Your vet will prescribe the right medications to help ease those health problems.
- Change one thing with his litter box at a time
Cats rely on old sensory perceptions for his routines. So it makes sense that your cat will be upset or shocked by the sudden changes if his litter box is gone, or has a new appearance. He would eliminate elsewhere.
As a cat parent, you know there are times when you have to change your feline’s litter box. It could be because his aging body can’t access it anymore, the brand of litter box you always buy is no longer available, you have to move or your house is undergoing renovation. You can still work around these changes and make sure your cat uses his litter box properly.
You can introduce your cat to his new litter box by changing one thing at a time. The first thing you would change is the litter. Choose a high quality litter that leaves less debris, is unscented and feels like a natural surface outdoors. Fill the litter box of two inches on the new litter, and cover it with the old litter of about half an inch. Your cat will slowly familiarize with the new litter as it moves around.
The next thing you would change is the litter box itself. Since older cats have particular needs, you should choose a litter box that is more accessible for his aging body. It should not be too tall. If your cat has joint problems, he shouldn’t have any trouble entering and leaving. It should also have a ramp or have low sides so he could easily get in when he does his business. Lastly, it must have a lot of room so he could freely move around.
For blind cats, it would be better if you don’t move the litter box’s location, but if you have to, read the next tip.
- Change your litter box’s location to somewhere safer
As mentioned above, there are times you have to put the litter box in another place. If this were the case, you should choose somewhere he frequents, not too crowded, and not too noisy. Don’t put it where there are carpets as they may get soiled, don’t put it too far away from his food and bed, either.
To help direct your cat to his litter box’s new location, take him there and pop her in. Observe his reaction. Some cats will sniff the litter and move around, which could mean his new bathroom piques her interest.
Cats have a sharp sense of smell. Put some of his old feces in his litter box to help him find his litter box and to give him the message that’s where he will poop.
- If you live in a multi-story home, put a litter box in every floor so your senior cat won’t have to climb or descend when nature calls.
These litter boxes you are going to use should be identical, so your cat won’t get confused.
- Escort your cat to her litter box
Taking your cat to her litter box will help remind her where her loo is. Bring him there after mealtimes and every time she’s looking to eliminate. Cats are guided by their smell, so putting some feces will help.
Afters he eliminates, shower your cat with praises. Pet him and give him treats. Be careful not to shock or startle him though, as that will be counter-productive and will result to accidents.
- Put your cat’s litter box on the same spot if you can help it. Since cats are used to what they already know, it will be a huge inconvenience if the litter box is moved to another area.
- Give him the right medications for his health problems. If your cat can’t use his litter box anymore due to his age, his health problem may be holding him back. Make him life easier easier by giving him some prescription medicines advised by your vet. He may have a disease or condition in his bladder, or having anxieties due to separation issues. His medications, together with a more accessible litter box, will help him continue his bathroom routines from now on.
- Exercise more patience. Your cat is old. He has health problems. He may be forgetting some things, and he’s acting out. Of course you will be frustrated. Younger cats easily absorb everything you teach them, not so much with older ones. But yelling at him and scolding him will not do anything, either. It will instead delay the whole process. Your cat will eliminate elsewhere, and you just might give up.
Sadly, some people surrender or abandon their cats when they are no longer cute and more of a problem. At this point, your love for your feline friend will be tested. Will you still love him when he’s old and at the later stage of his life? You decide.
- Use a closed litter box. Some cats don’t mind a litter box with a hood or a covering, although some cats probably do. Some cats feel intimidated by a closed litter box because it entraps them and offers less chances of getting out easily.
- Use unscented litter. Scented or perfumed litter may be attractive to us humans because it conceals the strong odor of cat poop and urine. Many cats will not prefer using it, though. Cats’ noses are not only sharp but also sensitive. Having a litter that smells too strong will overwhelm them and will lead them to do their business somewhere else.
Instead, buy a litter that resembles or feels like those natural surfaces outdoors so your cat feels at home.
- Change everything with your cat’s litter box all at once. As mentioned, cats rely on old memories and senses to do their routines. How would you feel if you wake up one day and learn that everything in your house has changed? Stressed, right? Your cats will feel no better. While having a new litter box is all for the best, that does not mean you can’t change it any longer. One way of introducing your cat to the new litter box is by adding changes one by one, instead of everything right away. Add new litter to his litter box, have him use the new litter box and move it to another area, if the last is necessary. That way, your cat is able to adapt to the changes and is less stressed about everything.
How To Litter Train An Outdoor Cat
Outdoor cats were either abandoned cats that have been neglected by their owners or cats that have lived their lives on the streets from the day they were born. These cats rely on human kindness and instincts for survival, and time and time again some are lucky enough to fall on the hands of kind strangers who decide to foster them and bring them to their homes.
If there’s an outdoor feline you’d like to take in and be a part of your family, it will take some time before he trusts you. Litter training an outdoor cat may take some time if the cat has lived his life on the streets. If a cat has been trained before, it will take awhile before he adjusts himself again to a comfy home life.
HOW TO LITTER TRAIN AN OUTDOOR CAT
- Choose a good type of litter.
A good litter is important because that’s where your outdoor feline friend feels right at home. Humans want a litter that masks the odor of the cat’s urine and feces, without being aware that scented litter smells way too strong for cats. As mentioned above, cats have sensitive noses so artificially perfumed litter is a no-no. There are different types of litters available in the market today: Pine, sand, corn, pellet, clay, crystals and so on. An outdoor cat that spent his time eliminating outside would prefer a litter that reminds him of the surfaces he always pooped on. Sand litter s a good choice, with some plain soil. It’s important to remember that crystals are dangerous for cats when they ingest them by licking their paws.
As for clumping and non-clumping type of litter, it’s up to the cat so it’s a good idea to offer two litter boxes and let the cat decide where he’d rather eliminate. Clumping litter seems to be a good time saver because it clumps with the urine so it’s easier to clean. But at the end of the day, experimenting with various types of litter is a good option because it will let you know which your cat prefers.
- The right litter box
The right litter box depends on your outdoor cat friend. A good rule of thumb, however, is it should be not be too tall for her body height. About 6 inches is acceptable. It must also have enough room so she can freely move around. Hooded litter boxes are intimidating to some cats because they seem threatening and offer no chances of escape. An enclosed litter box, on the other hand, may make the cat uncomfortable because it offers little privacy. A good solution to this is a safer location when he can have some privacy, such as behind some potted plants.
If the outdoor cat is old or disabled, special modifications to the litter box should be made. Adding a ramp, or buying a litter box with low entryway so he could easily get in and out is a good idea.
- Put the litter box in the right places
If your outdoor cat friend has been hanging out in the same places where see him, you know where to put the litter box. If you don’t know where, good places include in the garden, behind potted plants as mentioned above, or in the door to your house where he likely hangs out.
After feeding him, take him to him litter box and let him do his business. If he ends up urinating or pooping there, shower him with praises and give him treats. If he doesn’t, put some of his old feces in the litter box and always take him there until he gets it. Since cats are led by their sense of smell, it wouldn’t be hard for them not to establish the link between her old poop and the litter box.
Every several days, bring the litter box further inside your home to get him used to home life. Don’t forget to reward him with treats to help motivate him further and establish a new habit for him.
- Help him transition to his new life
Now that you’re preparing him for a new life, be ready with multiple litter boxes to make sure he could eliminate in other areas and avoid accidents. Have one litter box on every floor so your cat has options and wouldn’t have to go far. Make sure his food and water bowls are far away from his litter boxes.
Cat pheromones such as ThunderEase Cat Calming Pheromone Diffuser are useful in dulling all the scents inside your home. Because your cat is still adjusting to your home, he’ll be overwhelmed with too much scents in his new environment. So, this product will help and make him comfortable in his surroundings. Don’t forget to buy other cat-related stuff to turn your place into a cat-friendly home. Cat scratch posts, cat toys and beds are all a must-have since your cat needs some basic necessities to survive.
- Remember, it will take weeks or months to get this done. When training an outdoor cat to use a litter box, remember it will not be accomplished right away. Cats that have been abandoned by their owners will probably take some time before they fully trust humans again, so be sure you will take care of your cat forever. A cat is a huge responsibility with expenses to handle and lots of care to give. So be ready to sacrifice some time not only to train him but also to introduce him to his new life. If you win his trust, it will be worth it and your hard work will pay off.
How To Train A Disabled Cat To Use A Litter Box
Disabled cats are a challenge to some people because they don’t function or move around normally as younger, able-bodied cats. Blind cats, amputated cats and even paralyzed cats will always need more assistance in using the litter box so make sure you’re there for your feline friend whenever he needs your help.
- Blind cats may not be able to see clearly but they could rely on their other senses. Since your cat will not be able to see his surroundings more clearly, it is more important to keep your home the way it is so he would have no trouble navigating around your house. Cats are used to routines they already know, so if you move his litter box to another area, he will have a hard time using the litter box again.
You can also leave some of his old feces in his litter box for awhile so he’d be guided by his smell.
- Amputated cats or those missing a limb may need support in their daily lives or they might experience more pain when they move around. Therefore, their litter box must be easy to access so they won’t have any trouble getting in and out. A good litter box for disabled cats is one that is not too high for his height. Its side must be low so he could get in and out easily. An automatic, self-cleaning litter box might be too intimidating for him because of the sound. Same with hooded litter boxes. To provide him with privacy and some comfort, place it behind a huge potted plant in your home.
- Paralyzed cats may have a hard time moving. A good alternative to litter boxes for a paralyzed cat are washable puppy training pads that dog owners use when training their puppies to pee. Washable puppy training pads are absorbent so you don’t need to worry about spills. This way, your paralyzed cat will be more comfortable peeing because they don’t need to stand up. You will also need a puppy holding tray to make it easier to clean the mess.
After mealtime, bring your cat to the puppy pad and wait for him to pee. When he does, pet him and give him praises. Bring him there on designated schedule so your cat knows when it’s time to use the potty.
How To Get Your Cat To Use The Litter Box In Your New House
When you move to a new home, expect your pets to be the most stressed. Cats rely on old memories to live their day-to-day life. Where his food is, the toys, bed, all of them he knew by now through memory from years of being trained. So just imagine moving to a new place your cat doesn’t know about. His old memories will be replaced by a host of new signs and smells he’s not even familiar with. It will take a lot of time before he gets used to his surroundings again.
So if you are planning to move, know that your cat needs special and meticulous attention.
PRE-MOVE: 1. Before moving, make sure your cat is calm and not stressed with a lot of things going on. Your cat must have some anti-anxiety treatments to help him cope with the stress and anxiety during the trip.
- Before you settle in you new home, unpack most of your things. This way, by the time your cat enters your new home, he will be welcomed with old scents from your previous dwelling. This will lessen the stress of moving to a new territory.
This is the time when you, your family and your cat settle in your new home. There will be new things your cat needs to soak in before he feels comfortable. Getting him to use his litter box will definitely take some time.
- Don’t overwhelm your cat with his new environment. Introduce him to one or two rooms only at first, so he wouldn’t be stressed. To do this, keep him inside a room where all his things are – toys, food and water bowl – along with some of your old clothes.
Cats have a sensitive nose. Your old clothes will serve as a reminder for your cat of his old surroundings and will help him calm down.
Keeping your cat in one room for awhile with his belongings and your possessions will also get him acclimated to the new sighs and smells.
- Spend more time with your cat. Since he is likely to be stressed being in a new environment, be there for him all the time. Stroke him, pet him and always keep your eye on him. If he’s cooped up under a couch, don’t force him to come out and instead, let him crawl out of his hole on his own terms.
- After confining your cat in his room, it’s time to let him wander and explore the rest of the house. But be sure you keep tabs of him wherever he goes so he doesn’t go missing.
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR CAT TO USE THE LITTER BOX
- It would be wise to keep his old litter box so he wouldn’t get confused. Put it in his own room with toys, food and water bowl.
- Having his old litter box will get him to use it for pooping and urinating. However, accidents can still happen because of stress. if he urinates outside his litter box, spray and thoroughly clean that area with a cat enzyme cleaner such as Rocco & Roxie Supply Professional Strength Stain and Odor Eliminator. This product removes the urine scent so he wouldn’t have to pee there again.
- Use multiple litter boxes. Just like living in your old home, your cat needs multiple litter boxes throughout the house so he has many options when he needs to go.
- If you’re using a new litter box, put some of his old feces in it so he could get the message he can poop in there. Of course, immediately remove them to avoid the spread of bacteria.
- Whenever he uses his new litter box, praise him, pet him or give him some treat to give him an idea it’s pleasurable to use the litter box. Be careful not to startle him, though, or he might fear using it again.
OTHER TIPS: 1. Since you’ve just moved into your new home, it only makes sense to make it cat-friendly. Place scratch posts and toys in some areas at your home home to encourage playing.
- Have your cat micro-chipped or put a tag around your cat just in case he goes missing.