How to Train Your Cat to Use the Litter Box
Aren't cats wonderful? They're cute, they purr, they're soft. And, it's a good thing, too. They have to be so cute to get us humans to deal with their litter boxes. Any cat owner will tell you, cats are wonderful pets to have around. However, that same owner can also tell you that one of the downsides is needing to deal with their toilet business.
But that should not be a drawn out problem if you take the time and proper care in training your cat to use the litter box.
Before any training begins, make sure you have the right litter box. Choose one that is made of durable plastic for easy washing. It should also be deep enough to contain just a little less than 2 inches of litter. And, it should be wide enough to allow the cats to dig around and cover.
Do not think that by putting more litter in the box will mean fewer times you would have to change it. Your cat will very likely refuse a soiled box even if there’s a lot of litter in it.
Cat litter comes in different varieties of grades and scents. However, the benefits of scented litter only applies to the pet owners. In fact, cats dislike scented litter because it seems unnatural to them. They will very likely reject eliminating in the box and go somewhere else.
The kind of litter grade your pet will prefer varies with each one, but it is observed that cats are particularly fond of smaller grades. Perhaps this is because smaller grains make the litter softer. You can also choose between a clumping and non clumping litter. Clumping litter allows you to throw away the urine as well as the feces, as the urine causes the litter to clump when wet, making it easy to scoop up and flush or throw away. This also cuts down drastically on the smell of the cat box. However, the clumping litter can be carcinogenic and enter the cats' lungs when they breathe (not to mention, your lungs).
When setting up the cat box, place the litter boxes in areas where your cat usually soils. You are building on the cat’s association of places and activities. Eventually, you may move the litter box around when your pet has gotten used to eliminating in the box. (If your cat is new and hasn't soiled other areas of your house, pick a private area with easy access to the cat. I always prefer a bathroom as there's a sink nearby to wash up after sifting through the cat's waste.
Now that you have a good litter box set up, it’s time to teach your cat to use it.
Cats usually do their business after a meal or a nap. So take note of these times. Before feeding take 10-15 minutes to play with your pet.
Allow about 15 minutes for the meal and clear up leftovers after that period. When the meal is finished, play with your cat for another 10-15 minutes, this time somewhere near the litter box.
Lead your cat to the box. Move the litter around with your hand to intrigue the cat with the texture of the litter, inviting it to step into it.
Encourage your pet once it steps inside, speaking to it in gentle tones. Make the cat feel that the box is a nice and comfortable place. Whether your cat soils in the box or not, be consistent with that tone. Eventually, your pet will like the litter box and do its business there.
Finally, be consistent and patient. Results may not come right away, but the training will pay off in time.
Open discussion about pets: training tips, stories, etc.
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