Getting a cat is exciting, but litter training them may not be. Don't worry though! Here's a complete guide on litter training your cat.
After getting a new cat, one of the first questions that new pet parents ask is how to litter train your cat? A lot of people tend to feat that litter training is going to be complex and worrying. However, that truly isn’t the case.
In many cases, most kittens are taught how to use a litter box early on in their life. Even if the mother doesn’t train the kittens, they already have a solid instinct for burying evidence after going to the bathroom. However, some kittens need a little bit of extra help to start using their litter box properly.
Here are a few pointers that can help you in litter training your cat!
What You’re Going To Need
To teach your kitten proper bathroom habits, you need to ensure that you have all the necessary equipment. Getting everything before your kitten arrives is an excellent way to start litter training them right away!
Here’s everything that you’re going to need;
The most essential piece of equipment you need to start litter training your cat is a litter box. It’s a good idea to get more than one litter box. If it’s your first cat, then going with two is the way to go!
Ideally, it would be best to place the litter box in a private area and easy to access. However, if the litterbox is in an area that’s too open, it might discourage the kitten from going!
Something that can overwhelm new cat owners is the number of different litter options on the market. The most inexpensive tend to be the standard non-clumping clay litter. On the other end of the spectrum are eco-friendly options and scented variations.
Generally, cats aren’t too picky about the type of litter you pick. However, there are exceptions to every case. For example, certain cats only enjoy a litter of a particular texture.
When you’re picking your first kind of litter. It’s a good idea to go for inexpensive non-clumping options. If your cat doesn’t like those, then you can experiment with other types of litter.
Treats and toys
One of the best ways to reinforce good litter habits in your kitten is by providing them with rewards. You should always reward your kitten with a treat or a piece of dry food to create a positive sense of association.
Alternatively, you can also use toys and praise to help create positive associations with using the litter box. However, try to be careful not to overdo things. As you should create a situation where your cat expects a treat every time they go to the litter.
How to Litter Train Your Kitten
Read through this step-by-step guide to start training your new kitten as soon as they come home.
Introduce your kitten to the boxes as soon as they arrive home. Set her in the boxes while giving your cat a chance to sniff and thoroughly familiarize themselves with the box. Be careful not to move the boxes after showing your kitten the litter box in a particular area.
If you move the litter box around too much, it’s only going to confuse the kitten.
After your cat has a meal, pick them up and put them in the litter box. It would help if you also did the same after your kitten wakes up from a nap. Keep an eye on your kitten. If she’s acting like she needs to go, you should pick her up and put her in the litter box.
The more you enforce this habit, the faster your kitty will get accustomed to using the litter box.
Whenever you do notice your cat using the litter, reward them for their good behavior. You can provide them with praise, or you could reward them with a treat or a toy. Cats do well with positive association.
If your new cat doesn’t go in the litter box and has an accident, you shouldn’t punish them under any circumstances. Setting any punishments for kittens will only worsen the problem, and you’ll struggle to properly train your cat.
Cats don’t associate well with negative reinforcement or punishments at all. So you shouldn’t include them in your training, no matter what happens.
Maintaining the Litter Box
One of the most important aspects of keeping a litter box at home is maintaining it properly. If you don’t engage in proper maintenance and regular cleaning, you won’t be able to get rid of the “cat smell” from your home.
Not only does cleaning the litter box make it easier for you, but it also makes using the litter box a lot more pleasant for the cat. Cats prefer going in a litter box that’s clean and doesn’t smell too strongly.
Here are some tips that’ll help you keep a clean litter box;
- Scoop litter box daily to get rid of all of your kitten’s deposits. You should replace the soiled litter as soon as it stops controlling the odor. You should change the litter after every few days.
- When you’re completely changing the litter, it’s a good idea to clean and disinfect the litter box. You should use mild soap and water to clean the litter box. Another alternative is using a solution of water and white vinegar. Whatever happens, you should use bleach or any commercial disinfectant as they can prove to be dangerous for your cat.
- An enzyme cleaner can effectively help you clean the area outside the litter box where your cat has an accident. Enzyme cleaners are very useful for eliminating the smell. If you don’t treat the area properly, it can encourage the cat to go there again!
Litter Training an Older Pet
Litter training an older pet is comparatively more challenging than training a kitten. Especially if the cat in question is an outdoor cat that’s more inclined to go outside. While it might be more complex, it’s possible.
For older outdoor cats, you should start by filling up the litter with natural soil. Then, as the cat becomes more comfortable using the litter box, you should slowly start replacing the soil with litter. Eventually, even an older cat will become more comfortable with using the litter box!