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April 12, 2022 4 min read

Some people believe it’s cruel to train cats to use litter boxes, but as long as you go about it the right way, there’s no reason not to make your cat use a litter box rather than choosing where he wants to go on the floor or in other areas of your home. Here are some steps to help you train your cat to use the litter box instead of your floor!

Pick an appropriate spot

Your cat should be able to easily access his litter box without struggling. If you have more than one cat, make sure they aren’t competing for litter box space. Make it easy on yourself and position his or her litter box in a quiet, low-traffic area of your home.

A bathroom is typically ideal because it offers privacy and has fewer distractions (for example, no kids). If possible, locate litter boxes away from heating vents or places where they may receive direct sunlight during most of their day.

Don’t rush it

Training your cat to use its litter box takes time and patience, but it’s not something you need to rush. Cats are creatures of habit, and they’ll be more likely to use their litter box if it’s been set up in an area that they frequent.

Give them a little time and space to get used to things. Until your cat is comfortable with its new setup, don’t move it around.

Set your cat up for success

Your cat may be very reluctant to use her litter box when you first bring her home. To keep your cat from developing bad habits, you'll want to provide her with a litter box as soon as possible and also set up an environment that makes it easy for her to succeed. Cats prefer cleanliness, so scoop waste at least once per day (more if you have multiple cats).

Consider getting two litter boxes and placing them in different locations of your home or changing their position every few days. Finally, try adding things such as catnip or toys for enrichment purposes—but don't put them where your cat will eliminate! Your feline friend is already familiar with eliminating in places where she has fun—you don't want her confused!

Watch, wait, reward

In most cases, cats will not just wake up one day and decide they’re ready to use litter boxes. This process is called watch, wait, reward. Watch your cat for any signs of wanting or needing to use the bathroom.

After about 10 minutes, if your cat does not do anything in that time frame (like go in another corner), walk over with a treat and gently place it in your cat’s face near their nose.

Familiarize yourself with the signs of readiness

Life is too short to get upset over every little thing. Complaining, whining and grumbling doesn’t do anything positive for anyone, and it certainly won’t change your situation.

If you want something to change in your life, don’t go on about it. Instead of fussing, simply change it yourself. You can make all kinds of excuses for not trying: you don’t have time, you can’t possibly do better than others or no one else seems to be making any progress; but only you control how hard you try or what you accomplish.

Forget about punishment (it won’t work anyway)

It’s hard enough for humans to learn new behavior—imagine how difficult it can be for a cat! This may seem odd, but cats don’t see things from our perspective. If you get angry or punish your cat for not using its litter box, it won’t make sense and your pet won’t understand what he did wrong.

After all, why would something bad happen because they tried to do their business in a box? No matter how angry you get, never hit or kick your cat. Hitting is always bad even if we don't mean it (for example hitting walls), cats can take that very personally and hold grudges. Cats are also more sensitive than dogs and cannot bear physical punishment too well.

Keep calm when cleaning up mistakes

Cats can be picky, so start by changing things up slowly. If your cat has been going in one corner of your home and you want her to use a litter box instead, put an unused litter box in another room and fill it with her favorite litter.

Leave both boxes accessible for about two weeks. Your cat will likely use one or both of them as she wishes. Soon you’ll have more than enough locations for her deposits. When cats feel safe and happy, they’re more likely to do what their humans ask!

Be happy, no matter what...

The general rule of thumb is that cats will use their litter box if they are happy, healthy and feel safe. This means it's important to establish an environment in which your cat feels comfortable and unthreatened. If you're starting from scratch, provide a large litter box with low sides that allow your cat easy access and plenty of room for privacy.

There should be at least one box per cat, plus one extra—so if you have two cats, three boxes are ideal. Make sure there's enough space in each box for your pet so that he can comfortably fit in it; he shouldn't feel crowded or intimidated by his surroundings. The location of each litter box is also important: Look for spots with good ventilation and minimal outside noise.

Do check out Furvenzy's Cat Litter Box to give your Cat a Secluded Toilet & a Comfortable Environment.

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