How to train a cat to use a litter box?
There is nothing worse than cleaning cat’s poo or pee around your apartment after a hard working day. Punishment and talks wouldn’t help: the cat “undermines” the territory again and again. In order to prevent this nightmare from becoming true, you need to know how to litter train a cat even before the pet appears in your apartment.
In general, cat owners are lucky in comparison with dog owners: even little kittens are able to quickly understand, what this plastic thing is used for. If the kitten was born in a cat nursery, it is even easier: each responsible breeder trains kittens how to use a litter box at the age of three weeks. Mom cat also doesn’t remain indifferent, showing its kittens where they need to relieve themselves. All you need is to ask a breeder, what kind of litter the kitten got used to.
But if your cat isn’t trained to use a litter box, you should train it. Luckily, cats are cleanly by nature and even foundlings taken from the street quickly get litter trained.
An adult cat found in the street will quickly get used to the litter box, if you use some sand and mix it with the filler This is unhygienic, but it works as a temporary measure. Once the pet gets trained to use a litter box, you can add more filler instead of sand, gradually replacing the share of the “natural” material with filler totally.
So, to train your cat to use a litter box you will need:
- A litter box of appropriate size (with high walls for adult animals and with low walls for a kitten);
- Mild odorless, non-caustic disinfectant;
- Scoop for removing excrement;
- Brush for washing the litter box.
The right place to put a litter box is a nook that is always available nook. It is imperative that the cat didn’t have any negative associations with this place, for example, fearing a falling object or the sound of running water. The cat should not be punished near this place, also it’s not recommended to make loud noises near the cat’s toilet etc. When the cat gets used to the litter box, sensitivity can be left behind, but initially it is very necessary. Another important point is the cleanliness of the tray. Cat poos should be regularly cleaned and the litter box itself should be thoroughly washed when it is necessary.
Since training cats to the litter box should start from the first days of its stay at your apartment, it is more convenient to take a couple of days off. If the cat gets used to relieve itself in random places, it will be extremely difficult to “retrain” it. Usually kittens, like most adult cats, look for a litter box after a sleep, after a hearty meal or an active play. In searching for a toilet a pet behaves restlessly: shifts its feet, sniffs, sometimes slightly scraping the floor with a foot. Once the owner noticed such a behavior, they should pick up the cat and put it to the litter box without scaring it. Remember: no negative experience, no forcing and no holding the cat down, pressing on the croup. If the cat will connect these unpleasant experiences with the litter box, it would never want to go there again.
Cats are known for their aversion to changes, so the litter box should be put to its permanent place from the very beginning. The pet should have free access to the litter box anytime: you have to either leave the door to the room open or built a cat hole into the interior door.
As a rule, a cat willing to defecate and finding itself in a box with litter is able to understand what to do: it starts spinning around and digging. Noticing this, it is advisable to leave the room or just not moving too close, as most cats don’t like to relieve themselves in front of someone. It's not about shyness, but about their natural instinct: at this moment cats feel vulnerable to enemies. For the same reason the litter box is their favorite place for digging: the pet tends to “hide the traces”, so that enemies or pray couldn’t find the cat by smell.
So if the cat did that in the litter box, you should praise the cat and treat it to something delicious after that. It is not recommended to immediately remove “the evidence” – keep it in the box until the next time, so that the cat could find the place by smell. If the pet refuses to sit in the litter box and is trying to escape, you need to wait until it has the need again and try training again. Be persistent, but don’t be rude. If the cat “missed” the toilet or the owner failed to keep an eye on it, it is recommended to move the poo or a paper with pee into the litter box, and then bring the cat there to show where all that was moved.
In some cases, although the owner does everything right, the pet refuses to use the litter box. Perhaps it doesn’t like the litter box itself: it is too small, the litter smell is bad, or the location of the cat toilet is inappropriate. In such a situation only experimental approach and careful observation of the cat’s behavior can help.
There are some other cases, for example when the pet has already chosen a place used as toilet and wouldn’t want to change a habit. In order to stop this hooliganism, it is necessary to block access to the selected location and to get rid of the smell left on the floor or at the furniture. You can use any suitable disinfectant without chlorine. You can purchase a deterrent spray or sprinkle this area with citrus juice.
Demonstrative poos and pees left on the furniture or in the middle of the room usually are a signal that the cat feels uncomfortable. The reason for such behavior can be stress, a new pet in the house, the behavior of a kid or insufficient attention from the owner. In this case you need to find the cause and to fix it. Sometimes such behavior of a cat signal about the pain – in this case you should consult a vet.
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