Teaching Your Cat to Use the Litterbox

Catherine Forman

Keep in mind that kittens are a lot like toddlers who are potty training: sometimes it's just easier to wet the bed than to go find that bathroom.

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The first thing to do when training your kitty to use a litterbox is to have many many boxes available. I'd suggest using those disposable aluminum baking pans during your training period, they're easy enough to get rid of when you no longer need them!

Place multiple litterboxes through the house. One in each room, if you have to. Make sure the boxes are easily accessible for your cat or kitten. Every day, move the litterboxes a few inches towards the spot you have picked to be the permanent litterbox spot. Slowly remove the excess boxes until only a few remain. And keep in mind that you may need more than one litterbox if you have more than one cat!

During the training period, you will need to be vigilant and consistent. Keep an eye on your cat, especially if he heads for a spot where he has had an "accident" before. It's much better to stop him before he wets again than to clean up a new mess. Adding strange objects to the area, like balloons, can help deter your not-quite-potty-trained cat.

Clean up any accident areas with an enzyme-based cleaner, like Nature's Miracle. This will help eliminate all traces of scent left behind, so your cat won't feel the need to try and cover it. Though if your cat keeps picking the same spot for his accidents, you may want to think about putting a litterbox there. If it's a room where you don't want a litterbox, block access to the room! A closed door can work wonders for keeping a room accident-free.

Above all, remember to be patient! Most kittens will outgrow that awkward "potty accident" stage and become litterbox professionals.

If your cat was using the litterbox and has suddenly stopped, look for what has changed.

  • Are you using a new litter?
  • Is the box in a new location?
  • Is the box clean?
  • Do you have enough litterboxes? A multiple cat home needs multiple litterboxes.
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  • Is there a new animal in the house? Your cat may feel the need to mark his territory.
  • Has your routine changed? A cat may mark when he feels insecure.
  • Your cat could also be experiencing a health problem, so it doesn't hurt to call your vet if none of the above applies to you and your kitty.
  • If a cat eliminates inappropriately, clean the area and any soiled items with a strong enzyme-powered cleaner. If there is a certain room a cat finds irresistible, block access to this location.

Comments

May 14, 20120 found this helpful

Mother cats train the kittens to use the litter box if they stay with Mom for 8 weeks.

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