Encouraging Litter Box Use
Most kittens and cats are eager and happy to use the litter box. When we had a litter of Siamese kittens years ago, we put down the top of a shoebox filled with litter for them to use, and those little guys went right into it to do their business at about four weeks of age. However, things do not always go as smoothly as this, and when your kitten or cat is avoiding the box, it’s time to take a close look at what the problem might be.
Getting Your Feline Friend to Use the Litter Box
In a natural state, cats seek out dry, loose sand or soil in which to urinate and defecate. Avoiding litter box and inappropriate elimination shouldn’t be too hard for cats of any age.
- In a natural state, cats look for dry, loose sand or soil in which to urinate and defecate. If you provide a litter that mimics this, you will have a good chance of having your cat use the box without problem. Many cats do not like scented litter, so stick with an unscented brand at least until your cat is used to the box.
- Keep the box clean. Remove soiled litter every day, and the sooner the better. The litter in the box should be changed completely once a week and the litter pan washed.
- If you have more than one cat, provide a litter box for each one of them. Most cats aren’t fond of sharing the box with another.
- Choose a spot that the cat likes to use for elimination, preferably away from where the cat eats and drinks. Most cats like a bit of privacy, too, so placing the box in a more out-of-the-way spot can encourage use.
- Should your cat be resisting using the box, you can try confining the cat in a small room with the box available. In most cases, the cat will get the idea and start using the box.
- Kittens, especially, can be easily trained by using an attractant in the box until they become accustomed to using it.
The above suggestions refer to getting a cat or kitten to use the box to begin with. However, if you have a cat that has been using the litter box reliably and suddenly stops, there could be a medical problem involved and you should schedule a visit to your veterinarian as soon as possible.
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