Introducing your cat to a litter box for the first time can be very daunting, will they use it? What happens if they reject it? Will it start to smell bad? With so many questions, the whole situation can become worrying for you and your cat.
The good news is that the majority of cats will have no problems using a litter box, once they get over the initial hurdle of figuring out what it’s for and why they need to use it. In fact, a lot of cats come to enjoy the peace and solitude of having their own space to do what they need to do.
The first hurdle you’re going to have to face, however, is working out where the best place in your home is to put the litter box. While there is no 100% right or 100% wrong location, there are some top tips you can follow to make sure the transition to using a litter box goes as smoothly as possible.
If you’re trying to tempt your cat into using a litter box for the first time, then our top 10 tips are on hand to help!
Keep the Litter Box Away from Food
The first tip is a vital one, you’re going to want to keep the litter box away from food, or any food preparation area. Cat litter boxes can start to smell, and sometimes keeping the litter in the actual box is not always your cat’s first priority.
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Give Your Cat Privacy
Few cats are going to want to adopt the use of a litter box if they don’t have privacy. Finding somewhere in your home that is very rarely used is a great place to start when looking for the optimum place to put your cat’s litter box.
Maintain a Peaceful Environment Around the Litter Box
Giving your cat privacy also helps to give them a peaceful environment. Loud noises or lots of foot traffic can make the litter box an unpleasant and distracting place for your cat.
Make Sure Your Cat Has Easy Access
If your cat can’t get to the litter box with ease, then they may not always try. Finding a place that your cat can easily reach, and that they want to get to, is essential. Some cats won’t climb the stairs to get to a litter box, so it’s important to bear that in mind if you can’t figure out why your cat won’t use the litter box.
Don’t Lock Away the Litter Box
Cats need to be able to get to their litter box at all times if you want to prevent them from having an accident somewhere else in your home. This means that doors should be left open, and the room where the litter box is located left unobstructed.
Use Multiple Litter Boxes
Cats are notoriously fussy, and more often than not, you’ll find that they are unwilling to share a litter box with another cat in the house. A common solution to this is to have one litter box for each cat, and an additional litter box (or more if you have a large number of cats).
Ensure the Position Is Permanent
If you constantly move the litter box around, you’re going to start confusing your cat. If they visit the normal spot and discover the litter box isn’t there, they may just decide to go anyway instead of hunting it down.
Keep the Litter Box a Positive Place
An unappealing litter box is not going to be one that is often used. For litter box success, you need to make sure that your cat is comfortable with the spot, the litter box is big enough for them, and that there are no harsh sounds or anything that could scare your cat.
Always Keep the Litter Box Clean
Litter boxes should be kept clean, but not overly clean. Your cat will want the spot to be familiar, and not reek of cleaning products. However, a dirty environment will completely turn them away. Make sure you only clean the box when it needs to be cleaned. For ease of use, you may wish to read our review of the best self cleaning litter box.
Make Sure the Litter Box is Cool
Most cats prefer to use a litter box that is kept cool, so any location next to a radiator, or where the litter box is likely to get hot, is a definite thing to avoid.
Litter box training your cat is an experience that a lot of cat owners have to go through at one point or another. While it may be difficult to start with, once you get into a routine and your cat feels happy with your choice of placement, you won’t have to worry about it again. After all, cats are creatures of habit!
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- Matt Wildman, Setting Your Cat Up For Litter Box Success, The Humane Society
- Litterboxes, The MSPCA–Angell