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Litter Box Training for Newbies – The Basics

Most cat owners know the ins and outs of their cat’s litter box habits. When I got my first cat, I didn’t have a clue how to teach her to use the litter box. Here are some helpful hints and suggestions to jump start your litter box training and keep them from relieving themselves in your potted plants! 

In my experience, litter box training is amazingly easy compared to potty training a puppy. It only takes a few days for them to get it right. Cats instinctually want to bury their waste. Provide a litter box filled 2-3 inches deep with clean litter. Place it in a private area, because who wants anyone watching you do your business? If it would make you uncomfortable, your cat feels the same way. 

To litter box train my cats I started by placing the kittens in the litter box, one by one, to show them where it was. I would place them in the litter box after play time, meal time, and nap time. Within a few days they had figured it out what they were supposed to do. I also found the strategy of gently wiping their rear end with a slightly warmed baby wipe after meals, then placing them directly into the litter box effective. It mimics the mother cat’s way to stimulate bowel movements in young kittens.

Until your cat or new kitten is reliably using their litter boxes you should keep a close watch on them. There are times when you won’t be around to keep an eye on them; for these times confine your cat in a room with the litter box on one end and a place to sleep and water on the other end of the room. Our kittens were very small, so we kept them in the bathroom when we couldn’t supervise them. 

Keep in mind that cats respond well to positive reinforcement training techniques, lots of praise when kitty goes in the box is key. Secondly make sure that the litter box is always fresh and clean. You will avoid lots of accidents by regularly cleaning the litter box.

About hcrotsley

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Currently an owner of 3 dogs and 2 cats, I’ve gained a plethora of pet-related experience over the years. I strive to provide the best home I can for my little terrors, and you’ll read all about our trials and tribulations as I continue down the rewarding yet rocky road of pet parenthood.
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