How To Litter Train Your Cat or Kitten
Last week we talked about crate training for dogs. So how about training our feline friends? Well our professional Atlanta cat sitters have some tips on how to train your cat to use their litter box.
Many kittens learn how to use a litter box from their mothers. However, some adopted cats and strays have never encountered one before and need some proper training. And if your cat is already been trained but needs a refresher these tips will work for them as well.
Pick the Right Location for Your Cat’s Litter Box
The first thing to know is that cats are naturally motivated to bury their poop. It will be the most helpful to have a floor that is clear and free of items that can trigger this instinct. Make it look like the litter box is the most appealing and obvious place to bury something.
The second thing to know is that cats instinctually want to keep their homes clean. Keeping the litter box as far away as possible from your cats sleeping place, food, and water will help make the litter box look like the best choice to eliminate waste.
Place the litter box somewhere that’s easily accessible. The harder it is for your cat to find the litter box, the more likely they’ll use the restroom somewhere else.
Finally, cats like privacy! So keeping the litter box somewhere quiet and away from household and family activity is ideal. A calm environment for his business will reduce anxiety and help regulate good behavior.
Often, following all the above instructions is usually enough to get your cat to use the litter box because it all works with their natural instincts. But sometimes they need a little more directed training.
“How do I train a cat to actually use the litter box?”
If your cat is using the bathroom in places other than the litter box, make those spots unappealing as a restroom.
Thoroughly clean the spot. They associate relieving themselves with their sense of smell so you want to retrain the habit.
Remove all trace of the odor. Enzyme-based cleaners are great for this job.
Sometimes it can be helpful to move your cat’s poop into the litter box so they can start to build that habit. If this doesn’t work, try moving the cat’s food and water to the previously offending spot- this will be a major discouragement from using it as a bathroom!
Animals, like people, tend to be pretty regular with their behavior. You can learn your cats schedule and predict more or less when he or she will have to go. As the time approaches, you or your cat sitter can direct your cat to the litter box. If running around and playing near the box doesn’t do the trick, don’t be afraid to pick up your cat and place him or her in the box. You can simulate digging in the sand with your finger, or move his paw in a digging motion for your cat to mimic.
Be Patient. If your cat didn’t learn from his or her mother, you are now taking over that role and you don’t want to discourage him or her from going to their box. Yelling and forcing your cat can confuse them, cause anxiety and a negative association with the litter box.
Cats are fortunately very clean creatures in general. Use the tips above to show your cat that waste has its proper place and you’ll have a litter trained cat in no time!