If you have cats or if you live together with them, you must have already asked yourself how do they know where the WC is. In fact, most of the cats know where they should when they want to urinate or defecate. Many cats surprise their owners because they never do it on the floor or other inappropriate places. It is believed that cats have a natural instinct to learn this, because most of them know it and their mothers don’t teach them to do it.
If you have a cat that doesn’t know how to use the litter box, you may be happy to know that it is possible to teach and train your cat to go to his private bathroom. It is fairly common that cats have elimination problems. Some cats never used the litter box, some other cats used to go to the litter box and then they stop using it for some reason.
It is important to remember that if your cat doesn’t know how to use the litter box and he eliminates on the kitchen floor, for instance, you should not rub his nose on the feces or yell at him, because he probably won’t understand what is going on. It is better to teach him how to do it in the right way.
How can I train a cat to use the litter box?
First of all, it is important to take your pet to the Veterinarian, because some cats eliminate on the wrong spots because they are sick, afraid or anxious. Try to understand if it is something bothering your cat or if he knows that there is a proper place to go when he needs to eliminate. Sometimes, cats urinate or defecate outside the litter box due to behavioural problems, but it is possible that your furry friend has a medical problem too, such as infections, a disease on the urinary tract, among others.
If you still haven’t a litter box and you are going to get one, make sure you make a good choice. The litter box must be big enough considering the size of your cat. It is important that your cat can easily go into the litter box. Older cats, sick cats or little kittens s may have some troubles with some types of litter boxes. Boxes which have sides that are too high, for instance, make it hard for cats to go in or out the box. Choose a litter box with low sides to make it easier.
It is also essential that the litter box is placed in a quiet and place (it might be your bathroom). You must find a place where your cat feels relaxed and safe. Make sure that the litter box is in a place where your cat feels comfortable. If is not the case, your cat probably won’t use it. It must be always very clean.
If you adopted a cat who used to live outside and you put litter in the box, he will probably find it strange, since he probably has never seen litter. In order to make thing easier, you can put some dirt in the box, and gradually replace the dirt with litter. It is very important not to yell at the cat if he does things wrong. You must have patience. Praise your cat whenever he does improvements.
If you want that your cat easily understands that he must use the litter box to eliminate, you can take him there every time you think he needs to do it. Some specialists suggest that you may leave a bit of urine or feces in the box because it will remember your cat that he must go there to eliminate.
When your cat learns how to use the litter box, try to change the litter regularly. When you decide to go buy a pack of litter, you will see that there are several brands and several types. You may try some of them until you understand which is the best for you and your cat.
If you took your cat to the Veterinarian and you are sure that he is not sick or has not a behaviour problem but he still eliminates outside the box, you might try to understand if there is something in the litter box that is bothering your cat. Is it clean enough? If it is not, save some time to clean it. Is your cat able to move inside the litter box? Is it easy for the cat to get into the box? If the litter you picked has scent, it might be bothering to your cat. You may choose unscented litter. Do you have more than one cat? Some cats don’t like to share the litter box and if there is more than one cat going there, the others may not go and eliminate in some other place. If you can, try to have at least a litter box per cat. You may remove covers and liners from the litter box. Your cat may not like to feel closed inside the box.
As you see, there are many tips to make the litter box an attractive place to your cat. Cats are very clean animals, so it is likely that your cat learns easily how to use the litter box. It might be helpful to follow some of these ideas to ensure that your cat is going to use the box in the future. Try to pay attention to what he likes, which places does he prefer and if he had a previous owner and you know him, try to investigate your cat’s previous habits. It may a good help to improve the training.