Cats and litter box
Did you know that cats are basically very housebroken? It's part of their natural instinct to keep themselves clean, fresh and tidy as they don't like to be dirty, to say the least. For this very reason, it's usually not too difficult to teach a little kitten to go to the toilet in the litter box. However, it may take a little practice and effort to make it go as smoothly as possible without accidents. We'll go through everything you need to know when you want to get your cat toilet trained!
How do I train my cat to use the box? If you haven't had a cat in your home before, it may feel a little strange to have a litter box in your home. Especially if you're used to dogs and having to take them out for a walk. But as strange as it may seem at first, we can promise you that a litter tray is incredibly convenient for both of you - the cat can go to the toilet whenever it wants, and you don't have to go out. For this to be possible, however, your cat needs to know how to use the litter tray.
Although cats are naturally housebroken, it is essential that you teach your cat how to use the box - they don't have a natural instinct to do their business in that particular box, they do it outside. The cat also needs to learn where the box is located so that all toilet visits can be made there in the future.
This usually does not require excessive training or effort. However, there are some things that you as a cat owner should be aware of that can make the learning process easier and faster. Check out our top tips below!
Correct litter box placement Something that is essential for your cat to learn how to use its litter box is that it is placed in the right place. Cats are quite sensitive and picky when it comes to their "privacy". In other words, the box should preferably be placed in a somewhat secluded spot where the cat can be left alone during the toilet visit. They don't want to feel exhausted.
At the same time, it's important that the box is not too far away or too hidden. This can make it difficult or awkward for the cat to find it, which in itself can reduce its use. The right place is therefore crucial for the cat's learning process. Remember that cats do not want to go to the toilet in the same room as they eat and drink.
Show where the litter tray is If you've brought home a kitten and want to introduce it to the box, it's best to lift the kitten to the box, preferably after it has eaten. Then let the kitten explore the area and location on its own. This is often all it takes for the kitten to learn. This is because a large proportion of kittens collected from a breeder are already somewhat trained to use the box - so they may be familiar with the process of carrying out their needs in it. However, for them to feel completely comfortable, it is important that they understand where the box is placed. So this is what you need to do.
Encourage the right behaviour Just as you can teach dogs different tricks and behaviours by rewarding them when they do the right thing, you can teach your kitten to do the things in the litter box with a little reward. So when your cat learns to pee and poop in the box, you can give a little treat or a snack - then the cat understands that it's the right thing to do.
If it turns out that the cat hasn't quite got the hang of the box yet, and instead sits down to pee somewhere else, you can gently move it there. Then let the cat do its business and reward. However, it is important that you do not disturb the cat during the process.
My cat doesn't want to use his box - what do I do? As easy as it may sound to train your cat to be housebroken, it's not entirely obvious that this is the case. Cats can be reluctant to use the box for a variety of reasons. This is true both at the beginning of the training and after it has learned. Usually, however, there is a fairly natural explanation for this behaviour. It may be that:
- The box is not clean - cats hate dirty boxes!
- The cat has to share a box with one or more cats
- There is not enough (fresh) cat litter
- The cat does not like the specific type of litter
- The litter box is too small
- The location of the box is wrong - secluded but not too far away