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Teach Your Cat to Use the Litter in No Time With These Amazing Tips!

Even the most stubborn cat will learn to use the litter box! 

If you just adopted a cat, you’d think it’s all fun and games: the purring, the playing, the cuddling, the litter box training…wait what? Do I need to do that? Sadly, the answer is yes. And, honestly, it’s not particularly pleasant, especially considering how stubborn kittens can be. But one thing is certain: cats are intelligent creatures who are also independent and stubborn.

While most cats already have the instinct to use the litter box without your help, others, especially the newborn ones, might need a little extra help. Here’s how you can teach your cat to use its litter box in a few easy steps:

Photo by Fotoring from Envato Elements

1. First step: purchase one full-size litter box

You’ve made the step, and you adopted that little kitty you saw in the shelter a couple of weeks ago. Now you must provide everything it needs to feel like home, and one of the first things you should do is buy a proper litter box. You choose a simple one (especially if the cat is small) or a covered one (for already trained cats) that allows your cat to urinate in private. Both of them are available at regular pet shops or online.

After that, make sure you pick the right type of cat litter! I would recommend going for an unscented, sandy, and less clumping one because you won’t like to see it spread all over the floor after the cat gets out of the litter box.

2. Fill the litter box with litter according to its size

If you put the litter box in the desired spot but your cat still doesn’t use it, try to change the cat litter. Some types of cat litter are too clumpy, others are troublesome for their paws, and the poor-quality ones aren’t good at absorbing urine very well. Please don’t be selfish when it comes to cat litter!

You will see that even if some products are more pricey than others, they might have better quality compared to others. And after all, you want nothing but the best for your furry friend, right?

Fill the litter box around three inches deep for the clumping type of litter and two inches for the non-clumping one. You’ll notice that after your cat is pooping, its instinct is to bury it as much as possible, so this depth will allow them to do the action comfortably.

If your kitty is small, opt for non-clumping litter because, in some cases, they’ll try to eat it, and not only is it, not a healthy meal, but it can also give them serious stomach issues. Be careful!

3. Place it in a shaded, private spot

Place the supplies in a quiet area, preferably when there’s little to no traffic (in the bathroom under the sink if it’s possible). You must choose a spot where it’s easy for your cat to access it whenever they need to. If your house is bigger than one floor, it might be a good idea to have a box on each floor. This will allow your kitty to feel comfortable in every spot of the house.

Additionally, if you decide to use clumping litter, scoop the feces every day to make it easier for both of you. You will have less trash, and they will be happy to dig in a clean box.

4. Show it to your kitty

Now that you have the litter box set up, it’s time to let the cat explore the territory. Put it gently in the box and let it explore and sniff around. These actions will help them recognize it and acknowledge it belongs to them. However, you must avoid any other distractions while they’re in the toilet, otherwise, they will be confused. To help them urinate normally, put them in the box after a meal or after they drink water.

When they’re tiny and clueless about what a litter means, kittens tend to pee or poop all over the carpet but before they do that, they usually start scratching and sniffing the spot so be fast and grab them before they’ll make a mess!

5. If it’s possible put the box and food bowl in the same room

There is an easy hack that will help a little cat that has never used a litter box before to become used to it more quickly. Try to position the box and the food bowl in the same room but on different sides. Of course, it might take a while until it will get used to it but once they’re comfortable with it you can let it explore the remaining rooms. My cat taught me many valuable lessons, one of which is to never, under any circumstances, move the box!

6. Always keep it clean! Otherwise…

…you will have some unwanted “things” on your carpet. To keep a clean and fresh box try to pick up feces on the same day and replace the litter every two or three days depending on how often the cat is using it. If it’s possible try to clean the box at least once a week to avoid unpleasant smells lingering around the house. The process of cleaning is easy peasy and with just an unscented soap and warm water, you will get it squeaky clean in less than 15 minutes.

7. Don’t punish your kitty!

Along the way, it’s normal that small accidents will happen, and sometimes they will make you angry. But it’s okay! Before anything remember that your kitty is an animal that doesn’t know much and it’s your job as their owner to teach them how to act correctly. If it’s possible avoid harsh punishment at all costs!

Rubbing its nose in the feces or urine will cause nothing but fear and anxiety. Yes, animals can become anxious too and it’s much worse for them compared to us, humans. When the accident happens, gently pick your pet up and put them in their litter box. They might be confused in the beginning but don’t worry, they will learn in a couple of weeks!

Photo by viki2win from Envato Elements

8. Acknowledge your pet’s good behavior

Now that you’re all set and your kitty is finally using its “toilet” on their own without being pushed from behind, it’s time to reward it with a small treat. I am sure they’re going to love it! Plus they will feel your appreciation so they’ll know they’ve made you happy.

And always remember to still sneak peek at them even after they go used to the box! You never know when they suddenly decide the sand is too dirty or they don’t like the smell of it. Be aware and responsive to your pet’s needs. In case it passed a few days without going to the box check with your vet if there is something wrong.

Unfortunately, animals can’t speak in words to us, so we might need to go “deeper” to solve the issue. It does take some patience, but it will be worth it!

If you’re interested in reading more stuff about pets, here’s a nice article for you: These 11 Adorable Dogs Will Get Along With Your Cat! 

One Response

  1. I adopted a feral kitten and she did not know how to use a litter box. On the couple of occasions that I let her into the house, she just “went” (both #1 and #2) anywhere she felt like, including the family room carpet. I kept her outside until it was time for her spaying. After her operation, I couldn’t leave her exposed to raccoons, coyotes and raptors, so I prepared the spare bathroom for her. I lined the floor with plastic dropcloth and taped it to the baseboards. I put her food/water in one section, a kitty bed in another and her litter box in the water closet. Then I put her in the bathroom and closed the door, of course checking on her numerous times daily to freshen her waer and food bowls. When she “went” on the plastic dropcloth, I simply cut out the soiled piece, taped a new patch down and continued the routine of feeding, providing fresh water and checking on her. After exactly three days she figured out what the litter box was for. She has turned out to be the best, sweetest, most polite, fastidious cat I have ever known. She has never had an accident outside of the litter box. She doesn’t claw the furniture, try to get outside, howl, get hairballs or vomit. She’s just part of the family! I recommend this method for box training kitties that have never seen a litter box.

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