Tuesday, July 5, 2011

How To Train A Cat To Use The Litter Box

Cats are very smart and instinctual animals and usually take to the litter box without much effort. They are also very clean creatures and prefer their litter box that way as well. There are instances when a cat will stray from its litter box and it is important to recognize that this could be more than just an accident on the floor. Before you look to train your cat to use the litter box, first you should consider if your cat might be ill or have a urinary tract infection. Place a call to your vet and tell them what is going on. The vet may want a urine sample to rule out any infections. Once your cat has a clean bill of health, you will need to work on how to train your cat to use the litter box again.

There are techniques you can use when faced with how to train a cat to use its litter box. One thing you will want to avoid is scolding the cat for having gone to the bathroom on your floor or rug. The cat will not understand why you are scolding it and may look at you as just being mean. You will need to eliminate all possible causes of litter box avoidance. One of the biggest reasons a cat will stop using its litter box is because the box is not clean enough. Cats are very clean animals and if the litter box is not cleaned on a regualr basis, you will find they will stop using it and start using your floor ( I recommend scooping out the waste on a daily basis for best results). That alone will usually do the trick. You also want to make sure you empty all the litter out on a weekly basis and thoroughly clean the box with soap and water. This will help remove any additional unwanted odors. Your cat will thank you for keeping its litter box clean and appealing.

Other reasons a cat will stop using the litter box includes a change in the kind of kitty litter you use. Many people will buy a product simply because they may have a coupon or the item is on sale and they want to save money. However, your cat may not appreciate the different texture or scent of the litter. If you recently change litter brands, this may be the reason for the avoidance of the litter box. I recommend removing the new litter all together and replace with the cats preferred brand. Cats also appreciate a little privacy when using the bathroom and may avoid the box if it is in a high traffic or noisy environment. Place the box somewhere that the cat can feel secure that is quiet and private. Make sure the size of the litter box is large enough to accomodate your cat. If the box is too small, the cat wont have enough room to conduct its business and may resort to the floor because it is a larger space. I use an extra large litter box so the cats have plenty of room to move around and they seem to appreciate it. You may find that you do not need to learn how to train your cat to use the litter box, it might not be the cat's problem at all, but rather something new or different you have done.

If you have a multiple cat household it is very important to make sure you have adequate amounts of litter boxes in different areas of your home. One box per cat plus one additional box is recommended. Place them in different areas of your home and you will soon see which ones are preferred locations and which ones may not get used as often. Each cat should have a sense of ownership with their litter box and if you dont provide that for them, you may end up with waste on the floor. You will see that each cat will develop a preferred box and will be more cooperative about using it.

If you have tried all the above suggestions and yet your cat still will not use the litter box then you need to "show" them that is where they are suppose to go to the bathroom. If the cat pees on the floor, sop up the urine with a paper towel and place it inside the litter box. Do the same thing with feces as well. It wont take long for the cat to get the message. If all else fails, contact your vet and discuss the problem with a licensed professional. Your vet can provide you with additional suggestions.

Once you train your cat to use the litterbox, make sure you completely remove any scent of urine or feces from your floor. If the cat smells the odor, the bad behavior may continue. There are several good products out there for removing odors and well worth the money to prevent your pet from ruining your home.

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