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How To Train Your Cat To Use The Litter Box

Updated: August 4, 2022 by Kristen Chapple

While most cats – and especially kittens – will simply know where to go to eliminate, there are some cases in which litter box training is necessary. Usually, kittens copy the behavior of their mother since they’re about two to three weeks of age, so by the time they get home to you, they’ll know what to do. But what about those cats or kittens who’ve lived outdoors and they’re making the transition to life indoors only now? They will need some help so let’s find out how to train your cat to use the litter box.

Cats and their natural instincts are great when they work out of the (not litter) box, as most felines will seek out a sandy place to poop and pee by instinct. But sometimes, some of them will need a little bit of troubleshooting and learning the right manners and the rules of the house.

How To Train Your Cat To Use The Litter Box

First and foremost, make sure you’ve got the right litter box for your cat. There are a few things to consider here, such as the size, the height and the shape. You should think like a cat here and choose a litter box that’s appealing to them, not to you.

Choosing the Right Litter Box

Cats won’t like to be trapped – or caught by a predator – while in the act, so they prefer open spaces, therefore choose uncovered litter boxes. You might be surprised, but most cats won’t like those covered, self-cleaning litter boxes. In addition to that, the litter box should be easy to find, so don’t hide it somewhere thinking of maximum privacy.

Besides that, the size of the box should be around one and a half times the length of the cat to be comfortable enough for a cat to use.

The Number and Location(s) of Litter Boxes

The number of litter boxes you have at home should match the number of cats you have, since they don’t like sharing their territory. If your cat used to live outdoors until you got her home, it’s a good idea to have more than one litter box around your home, because she is probably used to eliminate in more than one place. That applies especially if you have a house with more than one story, so place at least one litter box per floor.

The location of the litter box(es) is important as well. Try to make it as convenient as possible for your cat to use it. Put it in her way, or by the door, so she can spot it when trying to go outside and not ruin your carpet.

Also, make sure it’s not placed near their food and water bowls or sleeping spots and that it’s not in a cramped and tight space.

Litter Box Training

One important thing in how to train your cat to use the litter box is to start small. When you first bring your cat home, have everything ready and try to keep her in only one room for the first week or so. After she eats and drinks water, take her to the litter box just in case. If you spot her in the middle of an accident or signaling that she may want to eliminate, take her and place her into the litter box. Never punish her, but always praise her for doing the right thing.

Last but not least, be patient. Most cats will get used to the litter box very easily, but sometimes it may take longer for the results to show up. Your little furry friend will eventually learn the way of the litter box.

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