Litter box problems are among the most frustrating problems for cat owners. The good news is that by following some tried and tested guidelines, you can prepare your cat for a life of good litter box habits.
“I’ve always felt that the term ‘throw training’ is a bit of a misnomer because cats are naturally clean animals who want to cover their trash,” says Hannah Shaw, the kitten lady, kitten rescuer, humane educator and author of the Book of Tiny But Mighty. “We just have to create the right circumstances for them to be successful.”
The key is to easily find and invite your cat to use the litter box. “The instinct to bury or hide garbage, and not clear sleeping or eating areas, is instinctive for cats,” said Jessica Watson, Team Leader – Cat World, Certified Animal Training and Enrichment Professional with the Best Friends Animal Society. “Most of the time, cats move into a litter box.”
Ready for training? As a human of your cat, these litter box training tips are a must have.
Get the right size
Cats want to make themselves comfortable when they go to the bathroom (don’t we all?) Adult cats need a large crate: at least one and a half times its length. For kittens, it’s okay to start with a large crate, but one with a low side or ramp for easy access. Keep the litter a little flat (about 5 cm deep).
Have enough litter boxes
The more boxes you have, the more likely your cat will use them. This is especially important in homes with multiple cats. Have one crate per cat plus an extra one for good measure and place them in different parts of the house.
Choose the right place
Put boxes in quiet areas near where your cat spends most of his time. People like to keep litter boxes in remote locations, but if the litter box is too far away, or in a noisy or scary place like the laundry room or garage, your cat may choose to dispose of them elsewhere. “If the litter box is the best, and the best, option for covering her litter, she will choose it,” says Hannah.
Connected: Tips on choosing the right litter box and litter box location
Choose the right litter
There are many types of cat litter. Some cats will use anything, others are more specific. A safe bet is to use an odorless, soft, clumping garbage. If you want to experiment, put the new litter in one box and the old one in another and see if your cat has a preference.
Use enough rubbish
Some cats like to dig deep when burying their trash. Start with 2 to 3 inches of litter, but add more if your cat frequently digs bare spots in the bottom of the box.
When training the litter box, be sure to insert the box correctly
The first time you bring a new kitten home, take it straight to the litter box and put it in so it knows where to find it. Reinforce this by taking them back a few times a day for the first few days.
“If you catch your kitten exiting the box, pick it up and put it in the box,” says Jessica. “Then she can end her business in the right place.”
Hannah recommends keeping kittens down to a smaller space first so they don’t have to search high and low to find a box. “Eliminate other areas that might appeal to the kitten’s desire to cover their trash, like piles of laundry on the floor,” she says.
Draw every day
Since cats are naturally clean animals, it’s not surprising that they don’t like a dirty crate. (Think how you feel when you find an unflushed toilet!) Scoop solid material out of the box at least once a day. Twice a day is even better.
Clean thoroughly every week
Every week, throw away all of the trash and wash the box well with soap and water. Dry completely and then fill up with fresh waste. Alternatively, you can use litter box liners – just throw the bag and litter away weekly and replace it with a new bag and fresh trash.
Handle accidents properly
“If you find the mess afterwards, all you can do is clean it up,” says Jessica. “If you try to scold this [cat or] Kitten, he won’t know why you’re upset. Animals live in the moment. If it’s poop, Jessica recommends picking it up and putting it in the box, as cats are more likely to eliminate in a place where they can see or smell poop and pee.
Hannah recommends making a note of where the accident happened to find out what the cat is telling you. “If you’ve put the box in the middle of a wall and the kitten is peeing in the corner, she’ll tell you,” I’d prefer my box to be in the corner, “she says.” If she poops in a room, “she says. where there is no box, she may tell you that she needs more boxes. “
See a veterinarian for advice on litter box training
If your cat leaves the litter box, always have it checked by your veterinarian. “When a cat that normally uses the litter box begins to inappropriately eliminate, it is often a warning sign of a medical or emotional problem,” says Jessica.
Give Kitty time
When you’re considering how long it takes to potty training human babies, training a kitten with a litter is a breeze. “Kittens can usually learn how to use the crate pretty quickly, maybe up to a month,” says Jessica. “Remember to be patient.”
A couple of mistakes don’t mean that she doesn’t get the idea. The same applies to an adult cat who is getting used to a new home and a new litter box. If you’ve followed the golden rules, your cat will likely adapt quickly.
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