Litter Training Your Cat
Anyone who has observed a cat grooming herself, patiently licking until every inch of fur has been washed, knows that cleanliness is an important feline trait. Simply put, cats like to stay clean.
That tendency is one for which cat owners can be exceedingly grateful, as it makes litter training a fairly easy process, unlike the more tedious house training that other pet owners may have in store for them.
While it is quite easy to litter train a cat, there are some things you can do to help your cat learn. First, find the right spot for her litter box. Your cat will be happiest if her litter box is in a slightly out-of-the-way area of the house, away from high-traffic areas.
If there are other animals or small children in your home, make sure they donít have access to the litter box. Your cat may find them disturbing.
Even if your other pets are cats as well, you may want to consider getting them separate litter boxes. Some cats donít like to eliminate in the same place as other cats. They see their litter boxes as their own territory.
Keep the litter box away from your catís food and water supply. Itís already been established that cats are very clean animals, and they donít like to eliminate near their eating area.
After youíve found an ideal spot for the litter box, the obvious next step is to show your cat where it is. Gently place her in the box and let her get used to the way it feels and smells. Some owners say it can help to rake your fingers, or even the catís paw, through the litter to demonstrate what the cat is to do with it.
Luckily for cat owners, itís instinctive for cats to bury their waste, so once they have a litter box to dig in, theyíll usually adapt to using it almost immediately.
Many cats wonít use their litter box if it gets too dirty, so be sure to scoop out the litter daily. Change the entire box once a week, washing out the box with a mixture of vinegar and water to remove odors if necessary.
If youíve taken all of these steps, your cat should adapt to using her litter box right away, and sheíll likely have very few accidents. If she does have an accident, try not to reprimand her.
Instead, take her immediately to her litter box and set her in it, praising her if she uses it. Clean up the accident immediately with the vinegar and water solution; if you get rid of the odor as quickly as possible, your cat wonít be as likely to revisit the area.
Every once in a while, a cat will refuse to use her litter box or will stop using it suddenly. There are several common causes, including stress or an overly dirty box. Your cat might also dislike her litter, so try changing your brand. If you own a male cat, and he has not been neutered, he may be marking his territory throughout your home.
If your cat wonít use her litter box, and a reason isnít apparent, contact your veterinarian. Some medical conditions, such as kidney stones or urinary tract infections, can cause cats to stop using their litter boxes.
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