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How to Train Your Cat to Use The Litter Box

Cane Bay Summerville Cat in Litter BoxTraining your cat to use the litter box is extremely important. Not only do you not want to find accidents all over your living area, but kitty does not want to be around an upset owner constantly. Therefore, the best time to train your cat to use the litter box is right when she comes home.

The good news is that kittens oftentimes have an instinct to use the litter box. This does not mean there will be zero accidents. There will most likely be accidents, so expect them.

Below is a list of things you can do to start training kitty to use the litter box and not your dining room floor to eliminate.

Location, Location, Location

Cats are like humans in the sense that they do not like to eliminate in public. They prefer to go to the bathroom in quiet, secluded locations. If you are trying to train your cat to use the litter box, make sure you place it in a quiet area with minimal foot traffic. An ideal location would be a quiet corner, but if you can’t find a corner, even having the litter box up against one wall will do.

Make sure that kitty knows where the litter box is and that there are no obstructions to reaching it. Ideally, you don’t want the litter box right next to kitty’s food or water either.   

Confine Kitty

Because kitty is still most likely to have accidents, do not give her full reign of the apartment or house. Keep kitty to a confined location that you spend a lot of time in – a room or two – so that you can observe her.

Kitty will usually let you know she has to go to the bathroom by scratching at the floor or by running away from an activity she is involved with, like playing with a toy.

Help Kitty Out At First

Training kitty to use the litter box will be easier if you help her out at first.

If you observe that she has to eliminate, pick her up and lead her to the litter box. Once she is in it, if she seems confused and doesn’t know what to do, take her front paw and gently start scratching and digging the litter with it. If this doesn’t work, take your own hand and scratch at the litter so kitty will know this is a safe location. The scratching motion also indicates that this is a place to eliminate.

Generally, cats eliminate right after they wake up, after they eat and after exercise or play time. While kitty is still learning to use the litter box, after each of these activities, pick kitty up and place her in the litter box. Getting kitty in the habit of using the little box after these activities will help teach her what to do and avoid accidents.

In the very beginning, it is a good idea to even take kitty to the bathroom more often than that, such as once every hour. Again, this will help to avoid accidents and get kitty in the habit of using her litter box.

Give Lots Of Praise

Always praise kitty for using the litter box and never scold her for not using it. You do not want to associate the litter box with getting in trouble or negative memories. This will scare kitty away from using it. Always use gentle, pleasing tones.

Accident? Move Kitty To The Litter Box

If kitty does have an accident, remember never to raise your voice at her. Instead, pick her up from the accident area, gently say, “No,” and place her in the litter box. Give constant praise to kitty as soon as her paws touch the litter. This will reinforce the idea that kitty is supposed to go to the bathroom in the litter box, not on the floor.

If you enjoyed our article and found helpful tips about how to train your cat, go ahead and share it with your friends so they too can have a simple, positive experience with training their cats.

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