How to Litter Box
Train Your Cat
Whether you have a kitten or a
cat that you're training to not be feral, litter box training can be a
real chore. Kittens that are with a litter-trained mother will usually
be trained by the mother cat, but once they're away from Mom, you get
to take over.
But you can't do what you do with children and use the litter box to
show them! (You could, but ick!) Here are a few things you can do to
encourage things along.
Start young. The younger a cat learns to use the litter box, the more
reliable they will be about it. Keep the kitten's bed near the litter
box, or move the litter box closer to the cat's normal haunts. One very
good place for the litter box during the training phase is your
bathroom, if you can leave the door ajar when you go. The cat knows
what you do in there, and if she sees you using the bathroom, she'll
come in and try things out herself. Most bathrooms are tile, and cats
don't like going on tile; they instinctively want to bury their waste,
and the litter box is the only place to do that. You may find a problem
with the cat going on the carpet or on clothes left on the floor;
you'll have to remove these things until the cat starts using the
litter box reliably.
Be patient with accidents. Like small children, cats will have
accidents, and they'll be a lot more arrogant about them. Don't rub a
cat's nose in its waste but do show it the waste and scold it while you
clean up the mess. The absolute critical thing you must do here is make
the area smell different, unpleasant to the cat. I use a few different
things: cut fresh lemon, mint teabags, Lysol, and – carefully and
only as a last resort – bleach. Lemon and mint smell to a cat
about the same way skunk smells to us, and they'll generally avoid it.
Lysol is good for cleaning up, and if it's a citrus-based spray the cat
won't like that any better than the lemons.
Bleach will react with urine to produce highly toxic chlorine gas,
which can make you very sick indeed; it was used in WWI gas warfare to
kill people. If you can't keep the cat out of the corner any other way,
put on rubber gloves, ventilate the area, keep pets and kids away, and
spray or pour bleach in the corner after wiping up what you can. This
can, of course, damage fabrics, so think ahead. If the fumes make you
cough, get away from them! They'll dissipate shortly if you have things
ventilated well. When you're finished bleaching, wipe up and rinse with
I've also been told that putting aluminum foil down will keep the cat
away, but I haven't tried that. And when you dispose of the waste, by
the way, take it to the litter box and let the cat see you do so, so
she knows where that's supposed to go.
Consult the veterinarian. If your cat just can't seem to make it to the
litter box, you should definitely take him to the vet. There may be an
underlying medical issue causing your problem.
Change the litter box often, but not often enough to completely
eliminate the odor. Cats are drawn to the odor of waste when they need
to go to the bathroom; that's why you should clean up messes so
thoroughly. But cats are fastidious and won't go to a litter box that
is, in their estimation, too dirty. So don't change the litter box
every day; instead, change it every other day -- and do not try to
sanitize it. It won't work anyway, and it may trigger the cat to start
When Kitty starts using the corner or closet you can try these tricks
to train your kitty. As noted above, lemon, mint, and cleaning solvents
will chase the cat away. She may be drawn by the smell of your
footwear, so try putting these up high where she can't get to them, and
lay aluminum foil down on the floor as well. Block Kitty off from these
places; if she's chosen your closet, close the closet door and evict
her from your room; if she cries at the door, evict her to another part
of the house, preferably close to the litter box.
Cat Article courtesy of I-Love-Cats.com