How to Litter Train a Cat

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Mother cats often train their kittens to use a litter box, so a new cat may already be housebroken. If not, don’t worry—cats are quick studies.

Step 1: Choose litter box
Make sure you choose a litter box that’s right for your cat. Kittens and older cats prefer boxes with lower sides. Larger cats will need—you guessed it—larger boxes.

Step 2: Set up litter box
Set up the litter box in an area separate from where your cat eats and sleeps.

Step 3: Place litter box
Try to keep the litter box in an easily accessible but semi-hidden place so the cat has privacy.

Step 4: After feeding, place cat
After each feeding, place the cat in the litter box.

Step 5: Scratch cat’s paws
Gently scratch the cat’s front paws in the litter to show that this is his own personal bathroom.

Step 6: Praise cat
Once the cat has used the litter box, praise and play with him to reinforce the behavior.

Step 7: Clean litter box
Make sure the litter box is clean. You should remove solid waste every day and clean the entire litter box with detergent and water once a week—or more, if it smells of urine. And always wash your hands after handling used litter.

Tip
If your cat hasn’t caught on after several days, try a different kind of litter. He may not like the texture or scent of the one you chose.

Step 8: Move littler box
Is Kitty still being stubborn? Try moving the litter box to a more secluded spot.

Step 9: Call vet
If he continues to eliminate outside the litter box—or if she stops using the box after having been successfully litter-trained—call your vet. It may be a sign of illness.

Did You Know?
Most cats will refuse to use a litter box if it’s not clean enough for them.

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