Cat BehaviourGuides And Advice

Litter Box Training And Tips

Cats are generally low-maintenance pets and will follow their routine regarding toilet habits. If you’ve recently adopted a kitten or cat, you may be unsure what’s actually best for your cat to use the litter box regularly.

So here are some tips for helping your feline friend feel comfortable and confident using their bathroom space.

Start As Early As Possible

A kitten is an infant still discovering and learning the world, making them much more intuitive using the litter box. In fact, it’s common for a kitten to use its toilet on the very first day in its new home. So, before you bring a new kitten into your home, set up the litter tray ready to go.

If you’ve adopted or inherited an older cat, don’t worry; chances are your cat will still be used to using a litter box. They will just need a few easy pointers to get used to the new environment.

Choose The Right Litter Box

Make sure it’s the right size for your cat. Cats should have enough room to turn around and stand comfortably inside the box. If the litter tray is too small, there’s a risk your cat may not use it at all.

Litter boxes come in all shapes and sizes though avoiding gimmicks such as self-cleaning is recommended. 

Enclosed boxes can prevent odour and lose litter from spilling out, but not all cats will like to use those. If this is the case, then a high-sided open litter box may be preferable for your cat’s toilet needs.

If you have more than one cat in your household, it’s essential to have multiple litter boxes available so that each feline has its own private space personal to their scent.

Litter box training and tips

Place The Litter Box In The Right Place

The location of your cat’s litter box is of utmost importance. Ideally, it should be in a quiet, private area where your cat feels comfortable and safe.

Avoid busy areas of your home with much family activity and noise. Cats prefer to go when no one else is around, so tucked away in a quiet corner is best.

Place the litter box well away from food and water dishes. Cats are fastidiously clean creatures who don’t want their food or water contaminated by waste odours.

If your kitten has trouble with the litter box location, try placing one or two bedding pads in different parts of your home and see where they prefer to go.

If they consistently use one spot, place a litter box there and gradually move it closer to your preferred location over several days until the kitty has no problem using it regularly.

Choose The Right Cat Litter

Cats have a very acute sense of smell, so you must use unscented cat litter that isn’t perfumed or has additives to cover natural odours.

While the premise of such products may sound great, if it’s off-putting for your cat, it just won’t go.

Clumping cat litter is generally considered the best option because it sticks to feline waste, making it easier to scoop and won’t stick to your kitty’s paws when they walk through it. Clumping litter is also absorbent, which will soak up urine and odour.

Every cat is different, so the best advice is to try a few brands and see what works best for you and your cat. Remember, the most expensive isn’t always the best, so try to see through the marketing.

Litter box training and tips

Scoop Regularly And Keep The Box Clean

Like us humans, cats like to use a clean and inviting toilet. Scoop the litter box at least daily. This will prevent a build-up of odours and immeasurably reduces the risk of your cat rejecting the tray.

You should also change the litter entirely and wash the tray approximately every week. Avoid using citrus-based detergents, as cats hate the smell of oranges or lemons. Similarly, strong-smelling disinfectants, such as Dettol, should also be avoided.

Don’t Punish Your Cat

Cats generally take to the litter box very quickly and routinely; however, if there are issues, be patient and don’t punish your cat for “bad behaviour”.

Punishing your cat will only make them more afraid of you, making it harder for both of you to work together towards a happy solution.

Instead, try moving the tray to a different location in your house or switching the brand of litter.

If your cat is still having trouble or showing additional signs of a stressed cat, talk to your veterinarian. There may be an underlying medical condition that is causing your cat to avoid the litter box.

Litter Box Success

As mentioned, most cats will instantly take to their litter box in the right conditions. Following these tips can help your cat get the hang of litter box etiquette and create a happy and pleasant toilet experience ongoing.