There’s no denying that cats are tidy creatures. They’re fastidious in their grooming habits and they typically keep their litter box clean. But even the best-behaved cats can sometimes have accidents, which is why it’s important to know how to litter train a cat. With a little patience and some basic instruction, you can get your cat using the litter box like a pro in no time.
How to Litter Train a Grown Adult Cat
Cats can be finicky and unpredictable, but the right litter box with a good location will make it easier for your cat to get used to using its new bathroom. This is just one of many aspects that impact how well they adjust when you’re first training them. It can be difficult to train a cat to use the litter box. But with patience and persistence, you should find success in training your new pet. When it comes time for them to start using their litter box on their own, some key elements will impact how well they adjust.
Cats are creatures of habit, and they also have a sensitive sense of smell. If you want to encourage your cat to use the litter box instead of going on your carpet or furniture, you must put the litter box in a place where he or she will feel comfortable using it. Make sure there is enough space around the area so as not to intimidate them by being too close to other areas. A safe zone for food, water, and their business should be at least 3 ft away from each other with plenty of open spaces between all three zones. The more confident your cat will feel about his or her surroundings when doing these things, the better chance they have at being successful.
Cats are very clean animals with a need for order. They will not use the litter box if it is dirty, so make sure to keep your cat’s environment tidy by cleaning their litter pan daily and fully emptying and washing it out every seven to ten days. This way they can cover things in the box as they have an instinctual desire to do.
Quantity of litter boxes
If you have more than one cat in your household, it may be time to add another litter box. Cats are typically very private and don’t like sharing a space with other felines. This can cause problems when there is only one or two available for all of the cats in the house. The general rule of thumb is having one litter box per cat.
Bringing your Outdoor Cat Indoors
If you’ve ever had an outdoor cat before, then you know that transitioning them indoors can be a challenge. The cats are used to burying their waste in all different types of elements like grass or sand and they’re not necessarily familiar with the feel of litter boxes.
To tackle this what you need to do is gradually transition your cat into the litter box. For example, if your cat was a backyard cat, then use some backyard grass in the litter box. You can then start sprinkling the litter of choice on top and add more and more litter until you transition your cat to use the litter of choice.
Another method you can use is to use different litter boxes, with different materials.
Though there aren’t any diseases that are transferrable from cats to humans, cat feces can be a source of salmonella or toxoplasmosis, proper handwashing, protective gear like gloves, and not accidentally ingesting the waste should be enough to protect many cat owners in most situations.
Changing Litter Training Habits With a Senior Cat
Senior cats can be a challenge to litter train because of their age-specific needs. If your cat is showing signs of aging, it may start to need assistance with litter training. For example, if they have vision changes or hearing problems that make them more anxious about using the box at night, installing a nightlight could help them find their way and relieve some stress from being scared in the dark.
As your cat gets older, their needs may change. They might need a low-sided litter box with no cover to help them get in and out more easily. You also want to keep an eye on any signs of cognitive decline like forgetting where the litter box is located or having trouble remembering how to use it. If you notice these symptoms, consider sporadically reminding your senior feline friend of where the kitty bathroom is so they’re not left searching for hours on end.
If you see your cat struggling with getting around, having accidents, seeming lethargic, or moving more slowly than normal, it’s time to take them in for a check-up. You may not know all of the signs that indicate something is wrong and should consult a vet as soon as possible.
Why Do Cats Fall Asleep In the Litter Box?
When you notice your cat dozing off in the litter box, it’s not because they want to be annoying or don’t like their home. There are a few potential reasons for this quirky behavior, which are the following:
Stress and Anxiety
If you have adopted a cat from a shelter, chances are that your new cat is stressed or anxious, because of the new surroundings. To make themselves more comfortable your cat will often retreat into familiar environments. For example, cats are creatures of habit and they may be looking for a familiar scent to calm themselves down. They like being in places that make them feel safe, which includes their litter box because it smells just like them.
Cats are solitary creatures and they need time to themselves to thrive. If your kitty is spending too much time inside the litter box due to feeling overwhelmed by household activity, try giving them more space at home for their private naps or playtime sessions.
Cats are very sensitive animals and sometimes they can sense that something is wrong even before we do. If you suspect your cat isn’t feeling well, it’s always a good idea to get them checked out by the vet. However, if the vet ruled out health issues, then the next step is to assess any changes in their environment at home. Try making the area around the box more comfortable for them such as moving a cat tree or cat bed near the box. This gives them an alternative to sleeping in the box!
What if your cat still doesn’t use the Litter Box?
If you’ve tried everything and your cat still won’t use the litter box, it is time to take them to a veterinarian. Cats are very good at hiding illness and many times we don’t notice until they show signs of pain. After your vet rules out medical conditions, you take your cat to a veterinary training behaviorist or certified feline behavior consultant near you that can work with you on what might be going on with your pet.