How to Get a Cat to Love their Litter Box?

Cats will normally look for a granular and sandy place to go to the bathroom. As a cat owner, you can do things to encourage them to use a litter pan their whole life. These tips provided will hopefully make it a more pleasurable experience for you cat.

1. Picking Out The Right Litter Pan

A lot of people choose a litter pan that is too small for their cats. Their litter pan should be 1 ½ times their length. You should clean them out on a daily basis and they should be thoroughly cleaned on a monthly basis. The reason that cats like to go to the bathroom in a clean place is because that in the wild a cat is a predator and prey.

Certified cat consultant Marilyn Krieger says that the smell of their waste attracts predators. She also said a cats desire to be clean is instinctive so they will not be caught and they prefer litter pans that are uncovered for the same reason.

Sally Foote DVM and International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) certified feline behavior consultant said that whether or not your cat wants to use a litter pan that is covered all depends on what their personal preferences are.

She said some cats want to go into an open space and others want to use an enclosed space. She says it is a good idea to give them a choice at the beginning when you first bring them home.

She also suggests to have more than one cat litter tray if you have multiple cats in your household.  This will provide an adequate space for your kitty to eliminate.

2. Getting The Right Litter

If you are bringing a new cat into your home, Foote says, the best litter to use is the one that they used in their previous home. She also says that keeping the litter pan clean is more important than the litter that you put in the litter pan.

The Humane Society says that the majority of cats like a fine-grained litter because it is believed that those litters are softer than other litters. A lot of cats have their own personal preference when it comes to scented or unscented and clumping or non-clumping litters.

A lot of the times cats will not use the bathroom in a litter pan that has corn or wheat based litter because it smells like food and a cat does not want to go to the bathroom on food, according to IAABC certified cat behavior consultant Mieshelle Nagelschneider.

How often you change the litter depends on many cats and litter pans you have in your home. The Humane Society recommends changing out clay litter two times a week. However, if you do clean out the litter pans on a daily basis, you may only have to change out clumping litter every two to three weeks.

3. The Location of The Litter Pan

Where you put the litter pan can be a critical factor in encouraging your cat to use their litter pan. Experts suggest that you should have at least one litter pan for every cat in your home and they should have one on every level of your home.

An example of this is that in a two-story house with two cats, there should be four litter pans, two on each story. The litter pans should never be in a closet either. The reason for this is, according to Foote, that cats do not like to feel cornered or trapped while they are going to the bathroom. 

Cats also need to have easy access to their litter pans. “Don’t make them have to go down the stairs, through the playroom, through the kitty door, into the utility room,” Nagelschneider said. “Cat’s don’t want to go any farther than we do to reach the bathroom.”

They also need some type of light to find and see their litter pans. If there is no ambient light where the litter box is, then Nagelschneider suggests trying having some nightlights to guide your cats to their litter pan.

Also, don't place your cats food next to the litter box.  In nature cats habitually have been trained to eliminate in areas far away from their food source.  Try and place the food dish in a separate room if possible.  This will enforce a positive experience for your furry friend.

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