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Cats are the cutest creatures on this earth. They’re fluffy, cuddly and playful, with the attitude of an absolute diva.
Although we all love our cats, dealing with feline potty is never a nice experience. If you’re planning on getting a cat though, don’t let that bring you down. It’s all worth it at the end of the day when your cat rubs against you and meows!
But don’t be afraid! Feedfond has a solution for all you newbies. Keep reading to find out how to litter train your cat.
Contents & Quick Navigation
- Arranging the Kitty Litter Box
- All About the Litter
- How to Train Your Cat to Use the Litter Box
- Cleaning Your Cat’s Litter Box
- Reasons Why Cats Might Not Use the Litter Box
- Final Thoughts
Arranging the Kitty Litter Box
The right time to start litter training is when your kitten is 3 weeks old.
A 3-8 week kitten should be kept close to the litter box at all times. The box needs to be in a clean area which your cat will identify as the potty zone.
Once your cat is a little older, you’ll have to train it to adjust to a larger space. In that case, the best option is to keep multiple litter boxes around your house. Just make sure your cat is always no farther than 10 feet away from the litter box.
This is also a good idea if you have more than one cat.
Picking the Perfect Place
The first rule about the litter box is that it has to be easily accessible. Your cat shouldn’t have to cross the seven seas and jump over a billion obstacles just to pee.
Cats are also pretty serious about the whole ‘Don’t poop where you eat’ philosophy. So, the litterbox should be nowhere near its food or drink bowls.
You’d also be surprised to know that cats, like humans, prefer quiet places to do their business. So, if you want your cat to use the litter box, keep it away from the hub of the house.
But don’t isolate it. Your cat will still want to be somewhere it can see what’s going on.
What Type of Litter box Should You Get?
The litter box for your kitty needs to be of the right size. The safest option is to get a big one, which your cat can use even when it’s an adult. So, it’s wise to get a litter box that is 1.5 times bigger than your cat’s length.
Make sure to get a sturdy litter box that can’t be tilted by the movement or your cat’s weight.
For tiny or senior cats, a box with shorter sides is easier to access. If you’ve got a dog in the house that likes digging up sand, or a cat that likes its privacy, its best to opt for a covered box.
You can look for self-cleaning litter boxes self-cleaning litter boxes available in the market. Those are pretty easy to use and simplifies the whole process. It usually comes with a built-in mechanism that allows you to separate and scoop out the cat poop. Some litter boxes these days even come with sensors and timers.
However, keep in mind that covered boxes end up being stinkier and require more frequent cleaning.
All About the Litter
There are many types of litter like clumping clay litter, non-clumping litter, recycled paper, silica gel crystals and many more. Clumping litter or even litter that smells nice shouldn’t be used for younger kittens because they contain harmful chemicals.
It’s best to opt for the natural option of pellet-based litter for a kitten.
But clumping litter is actually recommended for older cats. You can start giving your cat clumping litter only when it is 2-3 months old.
Picking the Right Kind of Litter
At the end of the day, you need to try and test out all the different litters to find the right fit for your cat. But here are some general litter rules that will definitely make your life easier-
Litter that Clumps
The faster and harder the litter clumps, the better. This is because it’s smoother walking terrain and your cat will be able to bury its business more easily.
Clumping litter also greatly facilitates the job of scooping out cat poop. Even better is that your cat won’t be stomping around with pee saturated litter on top of it.
Litter that Absorbs Odor
You want to use litter that doesn’t retain odor but removes it. There’s a bunch of litter in the market that has ingredients with this property.
Even if your kitty’s litter isn’t odor absorbent you can always DIY a solution. Just add some baking soda or activated charcoal to the litter mix to keep the litter box smelling fresh.
The dustier the litter, the messier your house will be. So, to protect your floors and furniture from unhygienic dust particles, it’s best to pick litter that has the least amount of dust.
Not only this, but litter dust can be harmful to your cat’s lungs and cause humans to have allergic reactions as well. So, if someone in your house has asthma, this is a factor you should keep in mind.
Of course, the best type of litter will not be messy. It should stay inside the box.
Luckily, you can get anti-track litter available in the market these days. But, if you can’t get that litter, there are also different types of anti-littering mats that you can use.
How Much Litter is the Right Amount?
You need to use just the right amount of litter in the litter box. Too much will be messy while too little will discourage your cat. Clumping clay litter usually needs to be replaced two times a week. But if you scoop regularly, you may be able to put it off to once every two or three weeks.
It’s better to pour 2 inches of litter in the box and never more than 4 inches. Whatever amount you pour should be consistent or your cat will get confused.
How to Train Your Cat to Use the Litter Box
Litter training a cat is very easy. They learn pretty fast and are inherently used to eliminating in the litter like terrains.
When to Potty
Observe your cat closely. Since you’ll have control over your cat’s bathroom visits initially, you’ll need to have ideas about its potty schedule. Normally, you should be taking your cat to potty after playtime, meals, and naps.
So, after each of these events, take your cat to its litter box.
To better predict potty schedules, make sure to feed your cat at specific times daily. In the initial phases, you should take your kitten to potty after every two hours.
Introducing the Litter Box
- Place your kitten on the litter and move the clean litter around with your hands. This will make your kitten more enthusiastic to explore the litter.
- Back away for a bit and let your kitten do its thing. After your kitten gets comfortable in the litter box, take it out and give it some food and water.
- 15-20 minutes later, take your kitten to the litter box again. If your kitten doesn’t potty, take it out and wait a bit longer to try again.
- When your kitten finally relieves itself, praise it and give it a treat. Keep taking your kitten to the litter box every two hours and especially after the key events mentioned above
- For the first few weeks, it’s wise to not clean the litter that thoroughly. Leave a bit of the waste to remind your kitten where the bathroom is.
Correcting Potty Habits
- Sometimes kittens may learn to use the litter box, but not to bury their waste. In that case, use your hands to cover its waste with litter and soon your cat will follow.
- It’s possible for your cat to have accidents during the initial learning process. In this case, yelling or scolding will be of no good. Positive reinforcement and repeated practice will bring the best results.
- Even if your cat has an accident outside the litter box, put it back in its place. This may be disgusting but it will help in the long run. Simply use a paper towel to put the waste back in the litter box.
- Thoroughly clean accident spots outside the litterbox. Any bathroom smells coming from that spot will make your cat think that’s where it should potty.
Dealing with Preferred Eliminating Spots
- If your cat keeps going to a particular spot to potty, restrict its entrance to the room for a while.
- You could also just place the litter boxes in those spots. And if that’s not possible, place its food and water bowls there. This is a sure way of preventing accidents in those spots.
- Another good idea is to place uncomfortable material like aluminum foil or sticky tape on your cat’s favorite potty spots.
Cleaning Your Cat’s Litter Box
Cleaning the cat potty is one of the biggest responsibilities as a cat owner. You’ve got to be vigilant and regular. There’s no scope for carelessness as it will only make your life more difficult.
- Daily cleaning is absolutely mandatory. The more frequently you can scoop out poop, the better! So, you should definitely be scooping out poop and urine clumps every day.
- After scooping out the waste, put it in a sealed bag and throw it away. Make sure to wash the scoop itself properly as well and store it in a plastic bag.
- You should also keep a trashcan right next to the litter box so you don’t have to walk too far. Also, wear gloves during the process and wash your hands after to stay sanitary.
- Don’t forget to wipe the box’s edge cover with water and soap every day. If those nooks and crannies aren’t cleaned, it can really start to smell!
- It’s very important to wash the litter box once a week. This can be done in the sink or using a hand spray or garden hose. Use warm water along with soap or mild detergent to clean it.
- Always pick a soap that is gentle and chemical free. Never use chemicals like ammonia or bleach. Not only do chemicals harm your cat, but the smells can also actually discourage them from using the litter box as well.
- After drying the box fill it up with fresh litter. But make sure it is properly dry or the litter will stick to the box. You can always speed up the process by using paper towels for the drying.
Reasons Why Cats Might Not Use the Litter Box
Cats aren’t difficult to litter train. But when they’re not using their litter box, there’s usually a good reason.
Improper Litter Box Maintenance
I believe we’ve stressed enough on the cleanliness of the litter box. This is actually the most common reason that delays potty training in cats. The litter box size, location, cleanliness, depth of litter and accessibility all play a huge role in the training process.
Negative Feelings Associated with the Litter Box
If something upsetting or traumatic happened while your cat was at the litter box, it’s most likely going to discourage your cat from using it. In such cases, cats tend to be hesitant to go near the box or leave as soon as they are placed there.
For example, if your cat had experienced pain while relieving itself due to a medical condition, it might associate pain with the box. So even if your cat is feeling better now, it might not want to use it.
Your Cat Might Be Stressed Out
Yes, you heard that right. Cats too can feel stressed out. Things that might not be a big deal for us might be extremely stressful for our cats. For example, moving to a new place, bringing in new pets or even changing some aspect of its daily routine.
Even when there are multiple cats in the house, it can be quite a stressful situation. This is because cats like to show ownership of their things. Cats also don’t like change and take some time to adjust.
Underlying Medical Problems
Elimination problems despite training might also be because of medical problems. This is why you have to keep a close eye on your cat’s potty habits and dumps. If there’s any sign of unusual behavior and weird potty, go to a vet.
With medication and professional care as early as possible, your cat won’t suffer as much.
Here are some common potty related medical problems that cat face-
Urinary Tract Infection
If your cat isn’t peeing as much as usual, even though its paying frequent visits to the litter box, it’s probably a UTI. Cats with UTIs also prefer peeing in cool and smooth surfaces like tiles or wooden floors.
Kidney Stones or Blocks
Cats with kidney stones or blocks are in extreme pain when they try to go to the bathroom. You’ll notice that the visits to the litterbox are frequent, but your cat will also be meowing and crying.
Feline Inflammatory Bowel Disease
If you notice blood in your cat’s litter box, then it’s time to get it checked by a vet. IBD in cats involves a lot of vomiting, bloody stool, and diarrhea.
Cats are majestic creatures that deserve all the love and care in the world. In fact, they consider themselves as royalties, while you are their humble servants.
Well, they’re not wrong!
The price we pay for enjoying their adorable company, unfortunately, involves taking care of their waste. Fortunately, now that you’ve read the article, you’re well equipped with all the knowledge you need to litter train your cat.
So, go on and serve the fluffy feline in your house and ensure that it has a healthy and happy potty experience!
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