Using a litter box comes natural to the vast majority of cats. In fact, “potty training” for new cats is not a requirement in most cases. Instead, there are many things you can do as an owner to ensure your cat chooses to use a litter box instead of somewhere less appealing to you! Remember, cats can be a little picky when it comes to their litter boxes, so a little thought and effort needs to be put in to gain success.
Location The location of a litter box is potentially one of the most important aspects that will determine whether or not your cat uses it. While you might want to place the litter box out of sight or in a hidden area, your cat may not have the same concerns. Choose a place for the litter box that is both convenient and has a sense of privacy. Believe it or not, cats prefer privacy for the restroom just like humans do! If the box is difficult to find or get to, or if the cat feels exposed to others, they may just not use the litter box and find another place to go. Avoid putting the box near appliances, ventilation ducts, or other heat and noise producing items. Noise and vibration may scare the cat away and excess heat can cause bad smells to get worse. Cats also generally prefer to have their litter boxes away from the area where they have their food and water dishes.
Multiple Litter Boxes You should have one more litter box in your home than you have cats. This always gives your cats a place to go no matter how many boxes are being used and also gives them an option of locations. This way, a cat won’t decide to go to the bathroom outside of a litter box if it sees a box is already occupied. There should be at least one litter box on each level of your home. For multi-cat homes, separate the litter boxes so cats can maintain their privacy and comfort levels. If you keep the boxes in areas that can be closed off, such as a closet, make sure you have a doorstop keeping the area accessible and also have alternative boxes in case a box does get closed off.
Keeping it Clean Cats greatly prefer to use a clean litter box. To help keep your kitty happy, scooping out feces should be done daily. Replacing the actual litter depends on how much each box is used and how soiled it has gotten. To ensure your cat finds its box a clean and enjoyable location to use, consider changing out litter at least twice a week. However, you may find that it needs done more or less frequently. If you can smell a bad odor coming from your litter box area, it is for sure ready to be replace. Dirty and smelly litter boxes are one of the most common reasons cats choose to find a different place to go. Remember that the litter boxes themselves need scrubbed when litter is replaced. Make sure to use a cleaning detergent that is safe for your cat.
Dealing with Odor Smelly litter boxes are one of the least favorite things of cat owners. Cats actually have much more sensitive noses than humans, so imagine how much they dislike a smelly litter box! Some litters have scents in them to mask the smell of the litter box. This is fine if your cat doesn’t seem to mind it, but if your cat is having a hard time using the box, try switching out for an unscented litter. The artificial smell may be repelling the cat away. Baking soda is a common solution to the smell issue. Try lining the bottom of the litter box with some baking soda before putting in new litter. This helps to absorb smells and doesn’t have a harsh smell itself. Covered litter boxes keep smells contained inside them better, but in doing so make the smell worse for a cat using it. If your cat doesn’t like using its covered box, consider trying it uncovered.
Litter Box Issues If your cat is having issues going inside a litter box, try making some of the changes previously discussed. Cats are picky and it can take some patience and trial and error to get the right situation to keep everyone happy. If it still has issues after these changes, make sure to take you cat to a veterinarian to consult on the issue. Many times, these problems can be caused by health issues.