Litter Box Training Tips for Your Cat and Kitten
We have prepared a guide for you to help you learn how to train your cat to use its litter box.
Adopting a cat be one of the most enjoyable and rewarding experiences in life. Kitties are playful, soft, and very loyal to the people they love. However, along with the joys of owning a cat, comes trivial misfortunes; having to deal with its short and long calls. For most people, they get so frustrated trying to deal with their cat urine and odor.
Understandably, this is a severe problem because cat urine or feces can make your whole house stink. The good news is that you can fix this problem by being patient enough to teach your kitty to use a litter box. Most cats are very clean, and that’s why they try burring their waste. This makes litter box training easy if you become persistent.
Litterbox Training for Kittens
Cats have that instinct of burying their waste in soil or sand, and kittens learn by observing what their mother is doing. Kittens start learning to use a litter box at the age of 3-4 weeks. Therefore, by the time you adopt a kitten, she will likely have known to use a litter box.
This means you will not need to train her to use a litter box the same way you would have taught a puppy. However, the most significant task you will have is to educate her to know the location of the litter box now that they are in a new environment. Make sure not to place your box in a hard-to-reach or noisy area.
After bringing her home, gently take her to the location of the litter box and place her front paws on the little box and help her scratch once or twice. Don’t worry if she jumps off the box right away. If she seems not to know the location, place her in the box in a day or the morning when they wake up, or after meals. Remember that cats like helping themselves in private and therefore, place its litter box in a hidden place. Also, if you see her using the litter box, leave her alone.
Most cats adjust to a new environment without problems, and soon they will learn where the litter box is. However, if they accidentally help themselves elsewhere, do not punish or scold the cat. Punishing or yelling at your cat will scare her and she will find it hard to understand when you are upset with her. Instead, use an enzymatic cleaner to clean up the cat waste to remove any odor or stains. Go back to the drawing board and place your kitten in the new litter box until she learns to use it.
If the accidents continue, or you start noticing straining or diarrhea, talk to your vet to have her examined for any medical problems. Cats with intestinal parasites and urinary tract diseases have a hard time using the litter box.
As I mentioned before, cats prefer using their litter box in a private, quiet place where they feel safer. Loud noises such as those of dryers or washing machine, or of people walking in and out, will make them stop using the litter box. Also, if they are startled by a dog or harassed by another cat when going or coming from the litter box, they may choose to help themselves in another location.
Assuming now that you know the basics of training a cat to use a litter box, let’s now discuss some litter box training tips for cats.
Choose the right size and type of litter box for your kitten
It is essential to make sure that your cat’s litter box is the perfect size for them. If it is too small, your cat or kitten will feel confined, and that feeling of being trapped may discourage her from using the box.
Your cat litter box should be large enough for him to feel comfortable in it. A good rule of thumb is to have a litter box 3X bigger than your kitty from nose to tail. If you have kittens, make sure to have a litter box with lower sides for purposes of easy access. As they grow, you can replace it with an adult-sized box. It is essential to do this before she becomes uncomfortable with the small size of the box and refuses to use it.
If you see your cat struggling to access their litter box because maybe the sides are too high, cut down to make it easier for her to access.
There are many types of cat’s litter boxes including self-cleaning boxes, hooded boxes, covered boxes, and litter boxes designed to fit in the corners of the house. If your cat feels more secure in a hooded litter box, get them this box. A litter box with a hood may also be helpful for cats that like digging enthusiastically to cover up their waste. This may also be great for cats that love standing on the edge of the box when defecating or urinating.
However, a hooded litter box has the downside of concentrating odor and therefore, should be cleaned regularly. Some cats don’t prefer hooded boxes as they cannot see outside the box. You might need to experiment with different types of litter boxes to know which your cat prefers, especially if it is finding it hard to use a litter box.
Self-cleaning litter boxes are better because they save on clean-up time. If you have several cats, you might need to have several types of litter boxes.
In general, cats like a litter that has garden soil or beach sand. They seem to like fine-textured litter as opposed to more coarse litter. Also, avoid scenting your litter. Two inches of litter is sufficient for your box. Another point here is that it generally works better to fill your box with less litter and change it often.
Place your cat’s litter box in a private location
The location of your kitty’s litter box is essential. Just like humans, cats too like a little privacy when helping themselves. Therefore, place the box in an area with no people traffic. Also, put your box in a place that offers him a different path to get out of the box. Cats are cautious creatures, and thus you need to provide a few escape routes in case your cat get startled by something when relieving themselves.
Have a privatized litter box for every cat
If you have several cats, get them a couple of litter boxes. Most cats do not like sharing litter boxes, and therefore it is best to have one litter box for one cat. Forcing a family of feline to use one box may result in undesirable outcomes such as defecating or urinating on the area near the box, ambush-attacks by other attacks, and hostility.
In addition to this, avoid placing all of the boxes in one area. Have them spread a little bit- they should not be close to each other. If you put them together, cats might see it as one big box.
Know the right amount of litter to keep in your box
The litter depth preferences vary from kitty to kitty, and therefore you might need to experiment with different depths. Start by having 1-2 inches of litter and put 3-4 inches the next day. Observe your kitty behavior with different depth to know which works better.
Remember I mentioned about patience at the start; litter box training requires love and patience. Kittens and cats like burying their waste, so it is good to know if your cat likes burying their waste entirely or partially. This will give you a better idea of the depth of litter to add to your box.
And don’t worry; it takes months to potty-train kids, but your kitten will grasp the concept in less than a month- in fact, some will take a few days.
Make sure to keep the litter box clean
Cats are clean creatures, and they may avoid a litter box because it is not cleaned often. Clean your boxes at least once a day and wash them thoroughly once a week. Change the litter entirely after it gets soaked up and avoid cleaning the litter box with disinfectant with a strong smell.
Any accidents need to be cleaned with enzymatic cleaners manufactured explicitly for pet stains. Regular cleaner might only mask the odor, but a cat’s sense of smell will feel the odor, and this can prompt it to turn to another area for private duties. Knowing these basics will help prevent your cat from failing to use its litter box because of odor or uncleanliness.
With those tips in mind, let’s wind up our guide with some of the frequently asked questions in cat’s litter box training.
FAQ in Cat’s Litter Potty Training
How many litter boxes should I have?
One litter box is enough if you have one cat. However, if you have several cats, make sure each cat has its own litter box. That means if you have three cats, you need to have three litter boxes. Make sure not to keep these boxes in close proximity.
How big should a cat litter box be?
A litter box need be roomy enough for your kitty to turn around in it. Don’t try getting a small litter box to keep it out of sight. Your visitors will understand since you have a cat. If your box is too small, your cat will not use it since it will feel as though it is trapped. Also, if the box is too big, it will scare your kitten. Therefore, invest in a smaller litter box for your kitten and buy a larger box as she grows.
Should I cover my cat’s litter box?
There are covered and open litter boxes. If you prefer a covered box, make sure it has ample space and opening whereby your cat can get in and out quickly. Make sure it has overlapping clothes to prevent urine from leaking out.
If you notice your cat is defecating or urinating outside the box, you might need to buy an open box. Some cats like viewing nearby environment when relieving themselves and thus won’t like an enclosed litter box.
What kind of cat litter should I use?
Cats like digging and scratching in soft soil to bury their waste. The litter you provide should be a substitute for the dirt or sand outside. The question now is, which is the best litter material to use? There are a couple of litter materials you can use including those made of clay and those from plant materials.
Some cats will prefer a particular litter and refuse to relieve themselves on specific substances. It is all a matter of what your cat prefers. You might need to experiment with different materials to know the best one for your feline friend. Some litters are better at odor control than others. Either way, choose the type that works for both of you.
Clay cat litter act as a sound absorbent of odor and moisture. Small granular litter has become popular because of their ease of disposal as they form firm balls when moistened.
You can also try environmentally friendly cat litters made of recycled waste products. There are also those made of silica gel. Choose one that suits your budget and cat preferences.
How often should I change the litter?
Try to remove moistened cat litter on a daily basis. Also, regularly scoop feces to keep your box free of odor. This will not only keep the odor from coming to your home but also will maintain your box as an attractive place for your kitty.
Depending on the buildup of soils and odors, clean out your box on a weekly basis and thoroughly wash this box with an enzymatic detergent specially made for cats. Use warm, soapy water and rinse it thoroughly before refilling the box with litter. Never clean a litter box with detergents or soaps that have strong scents as this will likely cause your cat to turn away.
There you have it; our guide to cat’s litter box training. We hope to have answered all the questions you might have regarding training your kitten to use a litter box. Share with us other tips for litter box training for cats you may know in our comment section below!
You May Also Interested In:
- 10 Best Cat Litter Box Reviews and Buyer Guide
- 8 Fun Ways to Give Your Cat More Room to Play and Explore
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