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Cats - Litter Training

Training your cat may seem like an uphill battle, but cats are actually quite intelligent and many are willing to please. One of the biggest concerns of anyone adopting a new cat is whether or not the cat is litter box trained. If you are keeping your cat indoors, litter box training is very important to help limit accidents.  Litter box training can be fairly easy if you devote the right amount of time and practice patience.

Choosing the Right Litter Box

You have to choose the right litter box and litter before you get started. A plastic litter box is usually the easiest to clean and can be easy for your cat to get in and out. It is best to use clay and clumping litter. The box should be placed in an area of that is quiet and discreet so that your cat can have some privacy. Do not place the litter box by the cat’s food or water dish as many of them will not go to the bathroom there. Make sure that the cat always has access to his litter box in order to prevent accidents. If you have multiple cats it is important to have a separate litter box for each of them to alleviate the smell. At first, you need to closely monitor your cat to help your cat find and use the litter box during the appropriate time. If your cat uses the litter box correctly make sure it receives some sort of praise- whether it be treats or verbally. For the first two weeks that you leave your cat alone after beginning to litter box train it make sure that you close it in a room with the litter box while you are gone so it becomes familiar with it.

How Often to Change Your Cat’s Litter Box

If you clean the litter box regularly your cat will want to use it more because they have a very strong sense of smell. Common causes for the cat to have accidents include medical problems, scented litter, or the litter box being moved. If your cat does have accidents do not punish it because it will become frightened of you. Rather make sure that you clean up the affected area thoroughly and sanitize the scent so that the cat will not begin marking this area frequently.

As your cat matures, it may begin to spray on walls and furniture. Spraying is a way that cats mark their territory. Many male cats stop spraying after being neutered, but some may continue. If your cat has this problem, speak with your vet about possible treatment options.

A common complaint about litter boxes is the odor. A covered litter box helps with this issue. Regular changing of the cat litter and washing the box will also help reduce odor. There are many effective air fresheners and deodorizers available and can be found at pet value stores.

Training Your Cat to Use the Toilet

If you do not want to have to deal with a litter box at all, there are other options. Some people train their cat to go outside or even use the toilet. Toilet training your cat may be a bit more difficult than just litter box training, but it can also be very worth it, especially if you have small living quarters or a sensitive nose. The first step is to place the cats litter box next to the toilet that you want it to use. Once your cat is used to having the litter box placed there, start to raise the litter box up gradually. This can be done by placing the litter box on old phonebooks or magazines. Each time you raise the box discard a little bit of the litter out. Once the litter box is level with the toilet seat start to move it over a little towards the toilet seat each day. When the litter box covers the seat of the toilet replace it with a training box. This box will allow the cats waste to go through into the toilet. A training box can also be home made with wax paper that is underneath the seat that has a hole cut in the middle for the cats waste. Flush after your cat goes to the washroom. Reward your pet with positive reinforcement or treats so that they will continue to use the toilet properly. If you are looking for step by step instructions, print off this list for a helpful reference.

Training your cat to use the litter box will take time, but it is well worth it so that your house remains in good condition.  Training can also help you bond and form a relationship with your cat, so don’t look at it as work, but rather a learning experience for you and your cat.