Cats litter training is a profound topic, so I will try to go through every aspect to help you guys as much as possible.
Earlier in another post; 10 Things you need, before bringing your new cat home, I talked about the 10 basic supplies you will need before your new friend comes home, where i discussed everything you need to know about litter boxes and cats preferences, and some mistakes most people do that may cause cats to stop using the litter box.
If you haven’t already read this article, I suggest you go check it before going any further.
First things first:
If you’re re-training a cat that has already been litter-box trained, yet all of a sudden she just stopped using the litter box. The first thing you should do is; take her to the vet. Because many times, cats stop using the litter box because they’re hormonal, or because something hurts, but she doesn’t know how to show it.
So now you went to the vet and everything is fine, but the cat’s still not using the litter box. OR maybe you just got a new one, and you wanna train him to use the litter box properly.
Understanding your cat:
In order to shape a cat’s behavior, we need to dig a little bit deeper into her brain, to understand how cats see and comprehend things.
1. What does the litter-box represent to your cat?
- Cats are naturally territorial, and when they go potty, it’s more than just a mere digestion process.
Cats need to mark their territory, to prove their dominance and ownership in their home, especially male cats.
Outdoor or wild cats, would be digging and peeing all around their territory. And So, a litter box should be serving the same purpose for our indoor cats, so that they keep coming back to the same spot, instead of doing it in all the wrong places.
However, cats should start using the litter box instinctively at only a few weeks old.
2. Difference between spraying and Indiscriminate Urination:
Spraying – If your cat is spraying , he’s not missing, but he’s simply trying to communicate either to you or to other cats. This occurs specially with highly territorial cats. However, spraying is harder to work with, than Indiscriminate Urination.
Indiscriminate Urination – is when a cat mistakenly goes outside the litter box, due to medical reasons, or because they are discomforted by the litter box presented.
3. Never punish your cat:
Contrary to many beliefs, cats never response to punishment. They simply don’t get it. If a cat pees on your favorite carpet, and you yell at him, or put his nose in it, splash him with a water bottle or use any other method, I promise you, your cat has no idea why you’re doing it…
The only thing that actually does is; teach your cat to be scared of you, but once you’re out of sight, he’ll be peeing under the couch, or behind something in some corner where he thinks you can’t see him.
Even worse, your cat may assassinate the litter box with negative experience and refuse to go back to the litter-box anymore.
So what should you do if your cat or kitten “goes” outside the litter box?
Take the poop, place it in the litter box, then gently carry your cat and place him/her inside the litter-box. Then clean out the spot where she did it with a water and vinegar.
This step is very important, because cats’ poop may leave a stain or a scent that we talked about earlier, that cannot be seen or smelled by humans. Normal detergents don’t get this residue out, that’s why you need to use vinegar, then finish with your normal detergent if you wish.
Personally, I like to keep a spray bottle of half and half of water and vinegar for such accidents,plus its good for other cleansing uses too. Vinegar is a natural deodorizer, mild disinfectant and germicide. It leaves no residue, so you don’t have to rinse the stain again after cleaning with it. Plus, it’s a natural ingredient, so it’s not harmful on your pets.
Start early… Prepare before your cat comes home.
Before your new cat comes home, have things ready for him/her, what you’ll need is the litter boxes, litter scoop and the litter itself. 10 Things you need, before bringing your new cat home
First thing you should do, once your cat comes home:
Have a litter-box prepared in a room, with a bowl of fresh food and water on the other side as well. Open the carrier, and let him/her explore. If the cat doesn’t check the litter-box on her own, gently carry her and place her inside the litter-box and scratch around to get her attention.
Develop a feeding time schedule for your cat:
Don’t give your cat free feeding… This step is important for so many reasons that we will discuss in further articles.
However, regarding our current issue, it is as simple as that;
Developing a feeding time schedule for your cat will automatically help you predict when your cat is going to go potty. And so, you can help him/her out by placing her inside the litter-box, or placing her in a room where the litter-box is for a little while, until she does it.
Whenever your cat is in the litter box, praise him, either by words, giving him a scratch or his favorite treat. By time, this will create a positive mental connection. Meaning that, the cat would remember having a positive experience every time he goes to the litter-box, so he’s gonna continue going there.
Clean up the litter-box Regularly, but…:
Just like us, cats are very hygienic by nature, and if they keep coming back to a dirty litter-box, they will get sick of it, and may stop using the litter box.
However, when your cat is still in the process of learning to use the litter box, leave a small piece behind, so that the scent would remind her that this is the right place to go.
Hope you found that useful.. I’ll See you next time ✌️