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How to litter train your cat

Cats instinctively know where to toilet as they assess the place and what came into contact with. Most cats learn how to use a litter tray by observing and learning from their mother. However, your kitten may not have learnt this, so we've included some tips on how to teach your kitten to use a litter tray.

cat litter

Preparation is key

To feel comfortable, cats require a clean space, privacy, and a steady routine. One of the most important aspects, when your cat uses the litter tray, is by making them feel comfortable. This takes a little determination and a knowledge of their instincts. Once the cat is familiar with the toilet space, the litter tray becomes one of the most important spaces for it.

Before getting a cat, find out what kind of cat litter they used in their previous home and use that at your home. If possible, bring some of their previous litter with you. If you decide to change the litter, do it gradually; cats don’t like change and it’s preferable to maintain things as consistent as possible for them. Even if your cat is still small, invest in a large tray - they'll grow into it before you know it; just make sure they can simply get in and out of it.

cat litter

Begin how you plan to continue

Allow your kitten to explore the room; perhaps, he or she will discover the tray on its own. Take your kitten to the litter tray every time he or she squats, wakes up, or eats so they know where it is. Never shout or punish your cat around its litter tray, since it may have a bad association with it and refuse to use it. It's ideal if you can get a second tray for your kitten, and any additional cats should have their own tray as well.

If you feel your cat dislikes the litter but has previously shown a willingness to use the tray, make sure to gradually replace the litter. Changing their litter too frequently can confuse your cat, and they may seek out a new location to relieve themselves.

litter box

When to say "less is more"

Bad habits may develop rapidly in any cat, whether it's a kitten or an adult you've recently adopted. Maybe your kitten didn't get the chance to learn from its mother, or maybe your cat was a stray that was used to urinating wherever it wanted.

In such situations, start by keeping your cat in a limited area for example in a single large room. Cats don’t’ eat where they go to the toilet, place the litter box on the opposite side of the room from their bed and food bowl. Remove any huge potted plants and make sure the area is as calm as possible.

Move the cat back to the litter tray if the cat leaks around the house. Clean up any mess thoroughly so they don't link them with their toilet space and consider limiting their space until they learn to simply use the litter tray.

fresh and clean cat litter

Recognising accidents and overcoming unwanted behavior

Generally, cats squat to relieve their bladder, so any urine up the sides of the furniture or walls is probably to mark their territory. Although neutering your cat is likely to stop this behavior, if it persists, you may need to consult a behaviorist to figure out what's causing it.

Although neutering your cat is likely to stop this behavior, if it persists, you may need to consult a behaviorist to figure out what's causing it. It might also be the consequence of a health issue like cystitis; if your cat continues to toilet in an unpleasant manner, you should contact your veterinarian.

There might be a number of reasons for your cat's refusal to use the litter tray every time. Perhaps your kitten has a negative connection with the litter and is put off by a change in the surroundings or wants attention. Always consult your vet and rule out any medical issues. You can always go back to square one, whether your cat is young or old.

Reduce their space, move them to the tray when they need to go, and reward them when they do. Your feline companion needs a secure, familiar place to relieve themselves, so pay attention to their habits and preferences, and they'll be trained to use the litter tray correctly in no time.

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