How to Train a Cat to Use a Litter Box?

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Though for major pet parents, litter training of kittens is not a major issue at all as they have already been trained by their mothers at a small age. But what if they don’t even have the mother to train them? Of course, circumstances will be much complicated for you then.

If you’ve just bought home an adult cat who hasn’t been potty trained yet or a kitten who hasn’t been with his mother for long enough to get trained, then it’ll be necessary to get it trained as soon as possible, otherwise, you’ll have to suffer those disgusting feces everywhere.

But not to worry because litter training is quite an easy process and all the cats are developed to instinctively use the litter box. Though you might face some complications in rare cases, but overall it’s not something to be worried about much.

Now, moving on to our talk of the day, in order to get a cat to use a litter box, you and your family members would have to exert a little bit of effort to achieve maximum results.

Though potty training is not a time-consuming process and it won’t take long to potty train a cat or a kitten, but it can take you from 1-2 weeks to completely train your feline.

So if you are ready to take the responsibility and train your cat on your own, then keep reading below as we’ve come up with the most reliable method of potty training a cat with a litter box.

Buckle up!

Supplies you’re Gonna Need for Litter Training

First of all, in order to get your cat to use a litter box, you would be needing some basic supplies and accessories. These things are necessary to train a cat and can help a lot in making the whole process easier.

Litter Boxes or Trays

These are the must, and you can’t begin your training without these. So add them to your list. It’s important to know which one you’ll prefer the most, litter box or litter tray.

The decision is completely yours, however, let me tell you that most pet owners prefer litter trays as they are more convenient to clean and cat can easily go in and out of them.

Anyway, get at least 2 litter boxes or trays for your cat and in case you have multiple cats, then double the amount of product. Now you would be thinking that why double tools are needed when you only have one pet.

Well, you see cats are quite moody animals so, at the start of training, they will continuously change their places, so double boxes are better to use in such situations so that you can put them in different places wherever your cat likes. 

Toys

Toys are a great activator for the cats to do anything. Not just litter training, but toys are also used to train cats in lots of other skills like handshaking, sitting on order, coming on calls, name recognition, and many more. So bring the most attractive toys for your cats to play with.

You can give them toys as a reward for showing good behavior with the litter box or you can also throw the toys near the box. After all, it’s always better to learn something new in a fun way and this doesn’t implement to humans only. Make sure that all the toys are stuffed and not hard because cats are really sensitive animals and get hurt even with minor mishandling.

Treats

While giving those toys as a reward, how can you forget something yummy to eat? Yes, treats are also great activators to potty train a cat in a litter box. Bring home your cat’s favorite dry food or you can also dry up some chunks of meat as a treat. Offer them to your kitty if it poops for the first time in his box.

Good Quality Litter

Last but not least, premium quality litter is also a necessity while planning for cat litter training. And if you’re thinking to make it work with sand, then forget it as it’s gonna affect the health of your feline.

So ensure that the litter you are bringing home for your cat is of high quality, toxic-free and odor-free. Emphasis on the last one, the litter should not contain any kind of odor as the smell can repel the cat from using the litter box.

In case you don’t want to spend on readymade litter or are not comfortable with the chemicals used in it, then you can also make DIY cat litter out of newspaper, baking soda, and dish wash.  It would be a much economical and safe solution.

Training the Cat to Use Litter Box

Once you have gathered all the supplies, half of your work is already done, now you have to potty train a cat. Keep in mind that primarily cats already know how to use a litter box, they just need some confidence and support from you and that’s what you’re gonna provide them during the training. So to carry out the process you would have to follow these simple steps mentioned below.

Step 1: Introduce your Cat to the Box

You can’t expect your cat to start using the litter box the moment you bought it home, so a proper introduction will be nice. Let your cat be comfortable around the box. Give her some time to consider the box under her territory.

To introduce your cat with his litter box, simply place it near her food bowl, bed, or any place where she spends a lot of her time. Once she will notice something irregular in his place, she will certainly examine it. So let her do it, let her touch it, sniff it so that she becomes familiar with its presence.

Step 2: Play Meal Scavenger

You know your cat, she will be dying to do anything just to place those crispy, delicious cat biscuits in its mouth. So why not use it as a reinforcement. Make a trail of dry cat food all the way to its litter box and put a handful of those biscuits inside the box.

Let her follow the meal trail all the way long so that she can discover the way to potty all by herself. Repeat this process at least two times a day and reduce it to one, once the cat starts to find the way to litter box on her own without any meal.  

Step 3: Make her Sit in the Box

To make her more familiar and comfortable with the box, put her in the box after every two to three hours. This will help her build relation with the box and soon she will start to use it for excretion purposes.

Step 4: Put the Toys near the Place

It’s important for the cat or the kitten to spend as much time near the litter box as possible so that whenever they are feeling to lighten themselves, they don’t have to struggle a lot. So in order to keep them near the litter box all the time, the best way is to place all their attractions near the box. Put all of their favorite toys which they often play with near the box. This is really gonna help in accelerating the whole process of litter training.  

Step 5: Take her to the Tray Every morning or after every Nap

To stimulate the use of the litter box, you would also have to note the potty routine of your cat. Mostly, cats defecate and urinate in the morning and at night, apart from these timings they can also suffer from bowel movements after nap times.

So keep track of the timings and take your cat to the litter box every morning, you can skip the night time as you shouldn’t compromise on your sleep.

Step 6: Notice the Behavior

Unlike most animals, cats often show a certain behavior when they need to defecate. This behavior often includes the practice of digging the floor and then smelling it. This is because their instinct signals them to dig the sand to bury their wastes. 

So whenever you notice this behavior, immediately hold up your cat so that it doesn’t get started right there, and take it to the litter box as fast as possible. Doing this will make her remember the purpose of the litter box and it will develop the relation of its defecating behavior with the box.

Step 7: Reward your Cat when it Shows Good behavior

It’s the law of nature that everyone whether animal or human if appreciated or rewarded for certain behavior tends to repeat that behavior because after all, everyone likes to be loved and rewarded. So it will be much better to reward your kitty with either a dry cat biscuit or a meat chunk once it starts using the litter box, it’ll be part of the training.

Receiving a reward will stimulate the feeling of being appreciated in your can and it will repeat the process of defecating in the litter box just to make you happy so that you will reward it.

Once this routine will turn into a habit, then you won’t be needing to give any rewards after that as the kitty will now become used to using the litter box that it will no longer which for the reinforcement anymore.

Problems Faced During Litter Training and their Solutions

Though litter train a cat is not that complicated at all, but in rare cases, it can become a serious headache to make the cat use the litter tray. There are several problems that owners can face during the whole process, some of the major ones are discussed below along with their solutions so that if your cat starts to show these problems, you know what to do. Let’s have a look at them:

Stubbornness

As you may know, unlike dogs and other pets who are more likely to obey your order, cats, on the other hand, are quite moody and self-obsessed, so it’s possible that they won’t accept your idea of pooping in the liter and they will start to show quite stubborn behavior.

For example, they will start to urinate and defecate on your furniture and other household items. They may also urinate near the litter box but not into it, just to show you who’s the boss.

So in such cases, we’ve got some solutions ready for you below, but before that let me tell you something, never shout or yell at your cat as this will induce more negativity in it.

Solutions

  • Confine your cat to one room only, don’t let her come out at any chance. Place the food, water, and litter box in that room. It’s possible that your cat might start using it by this method. However, if she still urinates on the floor, then scatter the litter all over the room floor, so that she can get used to of excreting on the litter. After that, stop scattering the litter on the floor and see whether she start to use the litter box or not.
  • If this doesn’t help, then place the food bowl of your cat at every place where your cat defecates, felines hate the smell of waste near their food, therefore they will try to defecate far enough from the food. So place the box at the corner of the room, distant from the bowl, and observe if the cat starts to use litter in this way.

Medical Issues

Another issue of out-of-the-box defecating might be the health problem of your cat. When cats are suffering through any kind of health issues like diarrhea, hairball, urinary tract infections, lung issue, or anything like that, then it becomes difficult for them to walk the whole way towards the litter box to eliminate the waste material, therefore, they defecate anywhere they are standing.

So before starting the training of your cat, look for the health issue signs like that of loose motions, vomiting, blood in urine, and meowing of your cat before pooping.

Solutions

  • The only solution for this problem is to seek help from the professional veterinary doctor of your pet.

Puberty Issues

In some cases, people might think that their cat has not been litter trained and that’s why it is urinating out of the box. Whereas that is not always the case, it might be possible that your cat has been litter trained and the real problem is something else.

When cats reach their reproduction stage, whether male or female. They start to spray and mark their territory, and for this purpose, they use their urine. So if your cat has been previously using the litter box but has suddenly stopped using it now, then this might be the only possible reason.

Solutions

  • To solve this problem, you should take your cat to its veterinary and have it properly spayed or neutered.
  • If you are not comfortable with the neutering process, then you can go for mating and breeding. This will also help stop the cat from showing these unethical behaviors.

Litter box Dislikes

Another possible reason behind a cat showing difficulty in litter training might be its personnel dislikes issue. Yes, it is possible for a cat not to like the litter box or litter you have just bought for her and that’s why she is not cooperating with you.

Of course, we’re not talking about the color or design of the litter box as cats don’t have such choices, but what we’re talking about is the level of comfort of a litter box or litter.

If a litter box is too short, too big, or too deep for a cat, then it won’t use it in any case. And if the litter contains any chemical that causes itching, then that too can cause the kitty to withdraw from the litter box.

Solutions

  • To solve this problem, you should buy a litter box or tray that is suitable for the size and physique of your cat.
  • You must also take care while choosing the litter that it doesn’t contain any harmful or irritating material.

How to Choose the Right Litter Box

When training a cat to use a litter box, it’s also important for the owner to choose the right type of litter box for their cat. Often, cat owners get confused due to the vast variety of litter boxes available in the market.

And they end up buying the wrong litter boxes only because they look prettier. As a result, the cat either faces a problem in using the box or completely rejects to use it. Therefore, it is necessary to wisely choose the litter box.

So to help you deal with this problem, we have come up with a buying guide to help you decide better which type of litter box is suitable for your cat.

Big or Small

Now the question arises about what should be the size of your cat’s litter box, well, let me tell you that the thumbs up formula for this purpose is to simply measure the height of your cat and then see if your cat can comfortably fit in the litter tray or box with leaving extra room to spare. If yes, then voila, you’ve found the best one.

Different Heights

Moving on to the heights, if your cat is a normal one, means if it is not too hyperactive, then a litter box with small sides will work best.

However, if your cat is a little hyperactive and likes to play a lot even when pooping, then you must go for a box with slightly higher sides so that sand or wastes doesn’t pop out of the box.

Hooded or Un-hooded

To choose between hooded or unhooded boxes, you would have to examine the personality of your cat. If your cat is shy and introverted, then it will prefer a fully hooded box that will cover it while eliminating it because cats often don’t like to be watched while excreting.

But if your cat is a confident one and doesn’t show any shy behavior, then uncover hood will be okay for it. 

Bottom Line

So after coming all the way through, we have deduced that litter training of a cat is not a difficult process after all, and you can achieve the maximum results if you have carried out the training process properly with complete dedication because after all, it’s your cat and it surely deserves to be trained by its owners.

I hope that this article has helped you in the best way by providing you all the necessary information regarding the cat’s litter training. So best of luck with your furry little friend.

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