There are responsibilities that a cat-owner must bestow upon their furbaby, and one of the most essential is litter training.  Fortunately, most cats are naturally tidy and it is already in their instinct to clean as they go. But if your cat does not seem to learn litter box from the get-go, here are some tips and tricks to teach your cat to correctly use the litter box without any hesitations.
Tips and Tricks When Litter Training Your Cat

  Wed, Jun 2, 2021 5:56 AM

Taking care of a cat is one of the most fulfilling and rewarding experiences one can experience. Cats tend to be playful, loyal, and cuddly furballs, making them even more loveable. And like any pets, owning a cat has its own minor misfortunes that a pet parent must endure and encounter, such as occasional hairball, loud meowing in the middle of the night, and scratches as a sign of love.

Although taking care of cats is very beneficial for most people, of course, there are also responsibilities that a cat-owner must bestow upon their furbaby, and one of the most essential is litter training.

The good news is that most cats are naturally tidy and it is already in their instinct to clean as they go, that’s why cats are very famous when it comes to grooming themselves through licking. Cats have a strong instinct to bury their waste which makes litter training an easy task to accomplish, as long as you follow these tips and tricks to teach your cat to correctly use the litter box without any hesitations.

When to Start Litter Training Cats?

During the first few weeks after birth, mother cats stimulate their kittens to eliminate, by repeatedly licking at their bellies. Once the kittens have eliminated their waste, the mother cats will clean the waste up by burying it. During this time, kittens don’t necessarily need litter boxes yet.

Once the cat is four weeks old, start offering them litter boxes that are appropriately sized for them. This phase also coincides with the kitten’s weaning or the transition from consuming mother’ cat’s milk to solid food.

For adopted older kittens or adult cats, you can start to train them to use the litter box as soon as they are brought home, so it is best to have the correct litterbox readily available before adopting a new cat.

What Are The Essential Supplies For Litter Box Training?

Before we start listing down some tips for an easy litter box training, we have to get familiar first with the essential items to develop your cat’s good bathroom habits.

Litter Boxes

A litter box, also called a litter tray or a cat box, is an indoor waste collection box for cats and other pets that instinctively will make use of the box as a repository, such as rabbits, ferrets, miniature pigs, small dogs. Litter boxes are provided for pets that are permitted to freely roam around the house but cannot or do not always go outside to excrete their waste.

There are two major types of litter boxes to choose from, open litter box and hooded litter box, and each type has its own advantages and disadvantages. Some cats have a preference, while others are okay with any boxes.

Open Litter Box

An open litter box offers the most basic function and the least expensive design. They are typically made from plastic that is formed as a rectangular tray with outwardly sloped sides.

The main advantage of an open litter box is that it can offer maximum ventilation which may increase cat comfort. They are easier to clean since they are only a single piece of plastic.

However, since the litter is openly visible, cats tend to feel awkward using open litter boxes especially during the first few weeks of use. In the long run, they will become more associated with it and this phase will go away.

Covered Litter Box

Covered litter boxes are typically made from plastic and feature a plastic hood or dome that covers the litter pan and the litter. The cat enters an opening, either through a hole or by a swinging door.

The main advantage of a covered litter box is privacy, which some cats cherish. Having a cover may also prevent another pet, such as a dog, from eating out of a litter box.

On the other hand, a covered litter box tends to trap odors inside itself, which may deter your cat from using it frequently due to the unappealing odor. Additionally, big cats may have an uncomfortable time turning around inside the box or digging around the litter.

Whatever the type of litter box you’re getting, it is essential to have one more litter box than the number of cats a household will have. So let’s say you have one cat, then there should be at least two litter boxes, at least three litter boxes for two cats, and so on.

It is also essential to select a good location for the litter boxes. Choosing the perfect location may take a little trial and error, but in general, there are some common points to consider.

  • Make sure to place it somewhere accessible and convenient. Place it on the floor which can be easily reached by your cat.
  • Do not place a litter box near your cat’s feeding and drinking area. Cats view their feeding area as a sacred place that always needs to be clean. Setting up the litter box near this area will make your cat anxious and will likely have out-of-box eliminations.
  • Place the litter boxes in quiet, low-traffic areas. Like humans, cats want a quiet and undisturbed area to eliminate waste. If the litter box is located in a noisy, highly distracting area, such as the laundry room or family room, it is highly likely that they will not relieve themselves.

Litter Box Filler

Litter boxes are filled with a loose, granular material called a filler, which absorbs moisture and odors. The fillers also satisfy a cat’s instinct to hide their scent by burying their waste.

There are a lot of options to choose from, such as the inexpensive non-clumping clay to the higher-end fillers such as pine pellets and wheat. Although cats are not picky when it comes to fillers, some cats tend to dislike certain odors and textures of some types of filler. The best way to set a standard is to use a standard, unscented clumping filter and then once your cat is thoroughly trained, you may replace this filler with something else and experiment with which one they would like best.

Cat Litter Mat

A cat litter mat is a textured mat similar to a doormat that catches granules out of a cat’s litter box. When cats step on their litter box, we cannot eliminate the fact that their little toe beans can trap pellets and granules that can end up all over your home and furniture. With the help of our high-quality cat litter mat, these pesky granules will be caught before they spread all over your home.

Aside from the granules and pellets, even the most well-behaved cat can make a mess while relieving themselves: they can entirely miss out on the litter box, cough up hairballs, vomit on it or sprint out of the litter box, causing the granules to scatter everywhere. However, if a cat litter mat is just beside the litter box, these scenarios will never be a problem.

One of the best cat litter mats available in the market is the type with honeycomb structure because it can easily contain messes and is better than having your litter box on the bare floor. It also has dual layers composed of a honeycomb-holed top layer and the virtually hidden layer below, that hides the litter scatters from view, which is perfect for cat parents who want to keep their cat’s waste deceivingly out of sight and out of mind.

Treats and Toys

Like any sort of training, it is empirical to offer positive reinforcement to your cat once they have accomplished the things you wanted them to do, including properly using the litter box.

If you see your cat using the litter box, reward him with a treat or a piece of dry cat food. You can also use toys and praises to form positive associations with using the litter box.

How To Litter Train a Kitten?

Now that you are acquainted with the essential supplies that your cat needs to litter, it is time to train them on how to use it.

  • As soon as your kitten becomes four weeks old, or for adopted cats, as soon as she arrives home, get her settled in the litter box by letting her sniff and examine it. Make sure to not move the litter boxes to a different area once you’ve shown it to her to avoid confusion.
  • Every after meals and after waking up, set your cat in the litter box immediately. If you notice that your cat is behaving like she needs to do her business, such as sniffling or crouching, pick her up and put her in her litter box.
  • Always provide a reward whenever your kitten is using the litter box. Praise your cat and give her a treat.
  • Never punish if your kitten does an accident. It can lead to stress and anxiety, which can worsen the problem and make the training more difficult. Remember that your cat is not deliberately causing problems. It can be a symptom of a medical problem, or you may have gotten him a litter box that is uncomfortable when being used.

Any punishment given to your cat will only make her fearful of you and will do nothing to solve his elimination problems

Proper Maintenance and Cleaning of a Litter Box

Since litter boxes are considered as the “bathroom” for cats, it is also essential to keep them clean and maintained for longer use and a cleaner home. This will help eliminate an unpleasant smell in your house and will also make using the box a more pleasant experience for your cat.

Here are easy to keep the litter box clean.

  • Scoop the box daily to remove your cat’s waste. It is best to use a scoop with a built-in strainer to filter the waste from the usable litter that can still be resued and replaced back to the box.
  • Replace the litter as needed, usually when the litter stops managing the odor. Litters are usually changed out every week or a couple of weeks, depending on how many cats you have using the boxes.
  • When changing out the filler, clean and disinfect the box using mild soap and hot water, or a vinegar and water solution. Refrain from using bleach or other harsh cleaning chemicals because it may leave residual chemicals that can cause harm to your cat.

What To Do If Your Cat Does Not Use the Litter Box?

If you start noticing that your cat is still eliminating outside the litter box even after months of training, then there could be something wrong. It could be an underlying health issue, improper placement of the litter boxes.

Once you notice your cat that they are eliminating outside the litter box, gently interrupt them with a cheerful voice, a clap, or a whistle. Once you have your cat’s attention, guide him quickly to the litter box and allow them to finish eliminating with privacy and a quiet surrounding.

Go back to the area where the accident happened and make sure to clean the area thoroughly. Cats have a very acute sense of smell and they will be more likely to use the same area in the future if any urine or feces odor remains on the surface.

Remember not to punish your cat when an accident happens. Punishing him for a natural act can make them think they should never relieve themselves near a person and may lead them to become secretive or fearful about elimination.

Lastly, if your cat is ever seen frequently going to the litter box, standing or squatting in the litter for prolonged periods, posturing or standing in the litter box, and vocalizing, these are all urgent concerns that will require immediate veterinary attention.

Conclusion

Training pets to become familiar with wanted and pleasant behavior is as essential as keeping them happy and comfortable. Although cats are clean and neat animals in nature, it is always important to keep an eye on them to make sure that they are happy and content with their waste movement.

We hope that these tips and tricks on how to train your cat to properly use a litter box have been helpful. Like all training, it will take some time for your cat to become familiar with the litter box so patience and determination are vital in achieving this behavior.