Pet care and behaviour help topics | BC SPCA
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Pet care and behaviour help topics

Cats are not born knowing how to use a litter box. Kittens learn about the bathroom from mom. When we give them a plastic box with litter in it we have to teach them to use this as their bathroom.

Pet your cat, give a him a treat or engage in a play session every time he uses the litter box. Never punish your cat or scare him for inappropriate elimination.

Not using a litter box is one of the most common cat behaviour issues guardians deal with. Recognize when there is an issue and try to solve it. Your cat may stop using the litter box for medical, behavioural or emotional reasons.

Steps to litter train (house train) your cat

1.) Location of cat litter box

Put the litter box in a convenient and quiet area for your cat. Make sure the litter box is the right size and type for your cat. The rule of thumb is that a litter box should be one and half times the length of your cat. Go bigger if you’re not sure!

2.) Type of cat litter

Most cats prefer soft small grained litter. Your cat may prefer one litter over another, so when you find what he likes, stick with it. One way to see what he likes is to put several litter boxes out with different litter and let him choose.

If you have multiple cats you should have one litter box per cat, plus one extra.

3.) Take your cat to the litter box

Take him to his litter box after meals and naps until he gets the idea. If his box is in a separate room, put him in the room and close the door after meals and naps.

4.) Use treats to train your cat

Give him a treat after he uses his litter box.

5.) Cleaning your cat’s litter box

Scoop litter box daily and depending on the litter you use wash box every one to two weeks.

6.) No bad cats

If your cat has an accident never yell or hit him. Go back to step one or check out “My cat won’t use the litter box, what should I do?”.

It’s important to remember your cat’s litter box is a big part of her life. Keep it clean so that she enjoys using it. Learn about cat litter box maintenance.

Need more information? Download Litter box problems treating and reducing cat inappropriate elimination (PDF).

Cat playing with woman with wand toy