Are you bringing a new cat to your house? Is it your first time being a cat parent? Perhaps you are not sure about how to start with litter box training. Are you flip-flopping around the idea of having a new kitten because of the stress of training?
Do not worry! Although it is normal to have an anxious thought or two about the whole process of litter training, it is pretty straightforward once you have a checklist. Hint; this article includes everything you need to know to become a litter master!
As cats spend most of their time indoors, it is natural to wonder how they can manage their business without soiling your favorite rug or piece of furniture.
Cats are meticulous when it comes to the cleanliness of themselves or their surroundings. Once trained, they won’t ditch their litter box unless there’s an issue.
In fact, in my experience of owning cats for more than 15 years, I have never come across a cat that likes to eliminate in random places of the house for fun.
If you are looking forward to training your new cat, you must know that in order to start out right, you must have the right equipment.
The basic litter essentials include a litter box, your preferred type of litter, and a litter scoop. You can then improve the set-up by adding a mat and litter deodorizer. Find the best place for the litter box that is a bit private and quiet but not too secluded from the rest of the household.
Once you have it ready, you can begin your cat training.
Having the correct type of litter box depends upon many factors. These include the age, size, and health of your cat. An ideal litter box can be climbed by your cat easily, is easy to dig, and your cat should be able to turn around 360 degrees in it.
Each cat has a different preference. Here is a little insight into the types of litter boxes.
- Covered and uncovered litter boxes
Cat litter boxes are available in different shapes and sizes. Ideally, you should be looking for a model that serves the purpose-not the looks.
A covered litter box has at least three sides closed and one entryway that may or may not have a door. The entrance can be either at the front or the top of the box.
Experts advise against purchasing this type of litter box unless absolutely necessary. They trap odor and may get repulsive for cats. They also feel vulnerable in a closed box, especially if there are other cats in the same home. Climb-in boxes are also unsuitable if you have an older cat or a small kitten.
An uncovered litter box looks like a deep rectangular tray. It is big enough for the cat to twist and turn inside. It is usually a couple of inches deep to make it easier for the cat to dig. The wall on the side of the entrance is usually lower for the cat to climb in easily.
Considering the finicky nature of cats, scientists and cat enthusiasts have worked together to find cleaner and easier solutions for litter disposal. If you are as fastidious as your cat, you must have wondered many times, is there a litter box that cleans itself? The answer is, Yes! The future is here!
Another variation in this type includes a self-flushing toilet-like litter box that is installed along a drain. You won’t even have to take out the bag.
With so many options, the best bet is to figure out how comfortable your cat can be in the new litter box. Start with a basic box at first and upgrade later.
Choose a good litter
If you want cat litter training to go smoothly, you must know the litter types that cats prefer. You need a finely granulated litter that does not stick to the paws of your new feline friend.
- Scented litter
As the name suggests, they have scent added to them in order to keep the odor down. It might not be the best choice as it can alter the cat’s ability to distinguish the litter box from the clean surroundings. Most cats are discouraged when there are additional scents present.
- Natural litter
Natural litters are the best for cats. They are unscented and usually made of sand or clay derivatives. Use litter with very fine particles that are easy to dig and do not leave tracks. You can experiment with crystal litter or clay litter and then decide.
Check the depth of the litter box
Cats love to bury their waste once they are done, just like their ancestors and relatives in the wild. The litter pan must be a few inches deep so that the cat can hide the poop by digging and then dusting over it.
Location is one of the most important factors that determine the success of poop training. A cat prefers calm, low-traffic, and easily accessible spots. They must be away from distractions and loud noises, such as machines and dryers.
If you live with multiple cats, the litter box location must offer a wide view of the surroundings. It makes the cat feel safe and in control of the situation.
Maintain the litter box
Many litter box issues arise when the litter box is not tidy enough. Daily scooping of the waste is a must. If the litter has been sitting around unchanged for a long time, it may start pooling and get wet.
Cats do not like stepping on wet surfaces, let alone their pee! They would be disgusted and may discover cleaner spots elsewhere.
Number of litter boxes
If you have multiple cats, it is important to remember the basic litter box formula. That is one litter box per cat plus one. That means one cat needs two litter boxes, and two cats need three litter boxes.
According to Petmd, for multiple floors, keep an extra litter box on each floor. For a new cat, keep it separate from other cats for a few weeks and litter train in isolation.
You must develop a cat’s positive association with litter training. Do not scold a cat for accidents. Offer praise and treats each time a kitten successfully uses the toilet.
When you litter train your kitty, note that cats are intelligent and they remember experiences. If your cat is not using the litter box, chances are that there are underlying issues that are being ignored.
Do not rebuke the cat for inappropriate elimination; wipe clean surfaces with enzymatic cleaner so that there is no scent memory.
A few causes of bathroom accidents are as follows:
- Issues with litter or litter box. Change the litter, wipe, and refill. Look into the type of box you’re using.
- Note the cat behavior of older cats with the new kitty. They may be leaving scents in the box to intimidate the new cats.
- Your kitten needs to be spayed or neutered. It may be trying to mark territory.
- Issues with bladder or rectal health, such as UTIs. Painful elimination may cause a negative association with the litter box.
Whether you are new to pet parenting or you’re a pro, the need to litter train your cat is inevitable. You must make informed decisions that are best for the beautiful furry friend you’re bringing home.
Litter training may sound hard, but trust us, most of the job is done once you set the correct equipment in the correct location. Your smart kitty will only help you in the process. Have a cat-tastic time!