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How do I teach my cat to use its litter box?

The cat is an animal that appreciates cleanliness and routine. If he learns to naturally use the litter box in contact with his mother, incomplete weaning or a disturbance in his environment may encourage him to urinate or defecate outside the bin. Fortunately, you can teach him the right actions to remedy this, but you will have to be patient, gentle and be rigorous in the choice and maintenance of the bin. Discover our tips for teaching your cat how to use his litter box.

Why is a cat naturally clean?

The cat is an animal clean by nature; this reflex goes back to its savage instinct for preservation, because the cat is aware that the smell of its needs can help its predators to follow its trail. It is for this reason that he covers his urine and excrement while smelling it from time to time to ensure that they are indeed “odorless”. The animal sees this as a survival reflex.

The kitten learns by mimicry, that is to say by observing its mother making the movement and by reproducing its gestures. On the other hand, some animals separated too early from their mother did not have time to be weaned and to learn to use the litter box. Nevertheless, it is possible to teach them to make their needs in the litter and to cover them. Check out our tips for getting there.

The litter box for your cat

The first step is to choose the right litter box for your pet and maintain it properly.

Choose the right litter box

In order for your cat to be attracted to the litter box and to want to poop, it is important that it is comfortable for him.

We recommend that you invest in a large container (even if you have a kitten, because it will grow!), Deep and closed, with a hinged door. This type of bin is more comfortable, more intimate and more reassuring for your pet, but also more hygienic. Odors are more contained there, which avoids diffusing them in the environment of the tray, like grains, cats love to scratch in all directions until scattered everywhere.

Choose the right litter

The choice of litter is important, because if your cat does not like it, it will flee. Avoid clumping litter boxes, which stick to the legs, and toxic and scented models, as it can happen that your cat swallows a little.

Outdoors, cats like to scratch in the sand, so don’t hesitate to opt for a very fine, non-sticky version. If the odors bother him, avoid chemical perfumes, often irritants and repellents, and prefer to sprinkle a little baking soda in the bottom of the container, before the litter; it will absorb odor naturally.

Another good solution, ecological, healthy, economical, clean and natural, is to choose wood pellets that we put in pellet stoves. These are small wood pellets, as the name suggests, safe for your pet. They naturally absorb odors and do not make dust, being too large to be caught in the claws of the tomcat and therefore transported elsewhere. When the granules are contaminated with urine, they turn into powder and fall into the bottom of the container, while drying. Washing the tank is much easier, leaving no residue on the walls. If your cat tolerates them, do not hesitate to use this economical and ecological solution.

Once your cat likes a litter box, do not change it again, as it may be disturbed. On the other hand, to make a change if the bedding chosen is of poor quality, operate as for kibble. Indeed, do not make a sudden replacement: mix the two litters (the old and the new) by increasing the dosage of the new each time until there is only the latter. This will give your tomcat time to get used to it calmly and without stress.

Where to place the litter box?

The cat is modest and needs to be reassured and calm when it does its needs. Place the bin in a quiet place in the house, with few passages and noises, and especially away from its bowls of water and food. Indeed, the odors of his needs are unpleasant to him when he eats, as for you!

If you have several cats, you will need one tray per animal and each placed in different and spaced places.

How to maintain the litter box?

The cat is an animal which likes cleanliness; if his litter box is dirty, he will not go there to do his business. It is therefore important to remove the excrement from the tank and the grains contaminated with urine once a day. Buy a suitable shovel for this. Avoid intervening after each passage of your tomcat in the tray, because it may no longer understand what it is for. One pickup per day is sufficient.

Once a week on average – earlier if necessary – empty the tank and clean it with bleach. Cats love this smell and will therefore be attracted to it for their needs. Empty everything into a bag and throw it in the trash.

On the other hand, never clean an accident outside the litter box with bleach, because your cat, attracted by the smell, will start again. In these places, diffuse a repellent on the contrary so that it is not tempted to return there.

Teach your cat to use his litter box

Do not hesitate to place your cat in his litter box after his meals and make a scratching movement to encourage him to make his needs if he does not do it himself. On the other hand, do not force it to make the movement by holding its legs, because it may become scared.