What is a Litter Box?
A Litter box is simply a box made for home-pets such as cats, dogs, rabbits, etc. who are left free to roam around the house. This litter box is usually covered with sand that can be easily made at home or bought online. Pets can make use of the litter box to excrete their metabolic wastes (urine and feces). It is necessary to train a cat to use a litter box.
Cats are beautiful, playful and active animals to be kept as pets. But often their natural way of excreting their digested waste can cause some discomfort and hassle in and around your own house. Naturally, cats have a knack to excrete their wastes and bury it in soil. This natural instinct can be found in most cats, and also kittens learn this habit by observing their mother. However, this habit can sometimes be forgotten by cats, or maybe a newly bought kitten may not know about it and end up littering your home. In such cases, you can always train a cat to use a litter box. And since cats already have an instinct to excrete their waste in soil or sand, it won’t be so difficult for pet owners to train their cats to use a litter box.
Important Things to Remember About Litter-Box Training
- If you’ve brought home a kitten, it is best to start training it as soon as possible, so it gets accustomed to the litter box before anything else. Make sure that the litter box is placed somewhere quiet and away from people. It is believed that cats are very private animals when it comes to disposing of their wastes; means they are likely to use the litter box when there is no one around. So, make sure to give your cat the privacy it needs. While choosing the perfect location to place the litter box and you train the cat to use the litter box could be challenging, you can make sure that the litter box is placed somewhere convenient, where your cat can easily reach or find it.
- There are a variety of litter boxes you can choose from; covered litter boxes or the ones that come with a closed cover. Also, depending on the sizes and shapes, there are a number of boxes you can choose from. Different cats have different comfort and preferences for which you need to get a box that fits perfectly with your cat’s preference.
- Also, it would help if you did not keep the litter box near the place you feed your cats. Cats tend to excrete in a quiet space away from the area where they eat. So, you need to remember this while you train the cat to use a litter box.
- If you have two or more cats, it is recommended for you to have a different litter box for every cat. If you have enough room to place the litter boxes, even placing one or two extra boxes would help.
- While buying or making a litter box, you should always take note of the size and shape of the box. It is possible that your cat might not use the litter box is it is too small or inappropriate in any way. Also, check if the sides of the box are high for your cats to enter. It is best to get bigger litter boxes if your cat is still growing, so it doesn’t cause any problem in the future.
- It is vital for you as a pet owner to take care of the hygiene of your cats. You also need to maintain the litter box daily. Most cats naturally tend to bury their waste after they are done by scratching some sand over their waste, but this is not enough when it comes to ensuring that your cat’s litter box is clean. So, you’ll need to change the litter daily to maintain its hygiene and eliminate any odor.
How to Train Your Cat to Use the Litter Box
Once you’ve found your ideal litter box for your cat and the ideal location, you can start to train the cat to use a litter box.
If you’ve already trained your cat to use the litter box then in the case of its offspring, you actually wouldn’t have to worry about getting the kittens familiar with the litter box training since they usually learn it from their mother.
However, if you’ve brought a new kitten home, then you’d have to take up the job of getting them familiar with the litter box. Start slowly by taking your cats to the litter box and placing them on it. You can also start teaching them by bringing their front paws and scratching the sand or give them some toys to keep them busy so that they become comfortable with the litter box.
- A method that will help you a great deal is if you learn your cat’s schedule. Cats generally tend to relieve themselves from metabolic wastes after he wakes up from a nap or after he has eaten. Or when you’re playing with the cat, if you find it pacing or behaving strangely, then that might also be a sign. Once you’re familiar with your cat’s schedule, it’ll be easier for you to train a cat to use the litter box by taking it to the litter box at the right time and giving it its space.
- If your cat eliminates in the litter box but does not bury it, then you have to scrape off some sand and bury the waste and show it to your cat while you’re doing it. It is best suggested that you use your hands while doing this instead of dragging your cat’s paws to do so as this act might scare him, and he might completely oppose the litter box concept. This process might take some time, but with a little bit of patience and consistency, your cat will get the hang of it.
- In the case of older cats, it becomes a little harder to get them familiar with the litter box as they’ve been so habituated to excreting everywhere else except the litter box. But this doesn’t mean it is impossible to train them as well. Also, if your cat is quite old, you need to make sure that the litter box fits its comfort perfectly and does cause any physical hindrance.
- For stubborn cats who keep excreting outside the litter box, or if they usually excrete at a specific location, you can try and start feeding them in that area. Since cats generally don’t excrete and eat in the same area, this would be an ideal way of stopping them from eliminating waste in that particular location. Or another way is, you can place the litter box in that area. Once your cat gets familiar with the box, you can direct it towards wherever you want, given that it is easily accessible by your cat.
- If you find your cat excreting somewhere else, then you can try picking the waste with a paper or tray and place it on the litter box instead of throwing it in the dustbin. This might prove to be helpful since cats can smell it, and that might direct them to the litter box.
Just like it takes time to learn anything new, even your cat would take some time to get familiar with the litter box. It is a slow process but not an impossible one. When your cat is learning, it is not advisable to yell at it or scold it if it does not behave accordingly, as this might only scare it. Also, if you have two or more cats at home since every cat has different preferences and schedules, you need to realize that what works for one cat might not work for the other. So, understanding and realizing your cat’s preferences also helps you efficiently in training them and solves the problem of how to make cat use the litter box.