Teaching your indoor cat to use a litter tray is something you should consider if you like having a clean home. It is a good idea to start training your cat the correct toilet behaviour as soon as you get them, whether they are a kitten or an adult cat, to get the habit ingrained in them early.
Train your cat to use a litter tray
Here’s how to train your indoor cat to use a litter tray.
Different Types Of Litter Tray
Deciding on the right litter tray for you and your cat is an excellent first step when it comes to toilet training. Often this can come down to the preference of your cat, and the amount of space you have available for the litter tray. Some cats prefer an open litter tray while others may prefer an enclosed tray, so you may have to try a few out before finding the best one for your cat.
You can also get smart litter trays, for the more discerning cat! Smart litter trays are self-cleaning and could come in handy for anyone who spends a lot of time away from home, as many cats prefer their litter trays to be clean at all times.
Familiarising Your Cat With The Litter Tray
When you first start training your cat to use their litter tray, you should consider allowing them to familiarise themselves with it. If your cat has never used a litter tray, then this can be particularly useful. You could give them time to sniff out the tray on their own or place them in the tray if your cat isn’t investigating on their own. This approach could help you to show your cat that the tray is for their use and, hopefully, help your cat to understand what it is for.
You could also consider playing with your cat near to his litter tray so that they used to its presence in your home.
Placement Of The Litter Tray
Some cats might be particular about where their litter tray is. Like humans, cats often prefer their litter trays to be out of sight and smelling distance from where they eat. Your cat might also want to feel safe to use the toilet, so it is best to aim to have the litter tray against a wall or in a corner.
A quiet, out of the way spot is a good choice of placement for both you and your cat. If you are unsure what your cat prefers, you can always try the litter tray out in a few different spaces around the home and see which your cat likes.
Learn Your Cat’s Routine
Much like humans, cats often have a set routine over their day. You can observe your cat to see when they are most likely to go to the toilet. When you anticipate that they may need to use the litter tray, you could help guide them towards it, or even place them in it if necessary.
Typical times for a cat or kitten to go to the toilet can include after meals, after play and after a nap, as this is when they’re body has excess waste to get rid of, though it will depend entirely on your cat.
You can help your cat understand the toilet behaviour expected of him by rewarding them with treats or fuss when they successfully uses the litter tray.
It is worth remembering that you should avoid disturbing your cat while they are using the litter tray, as this can put them off. Instead, you can reward him once your cat has completed his business. One exception to this rule can be when your cat is going to the toilet in an inappropriate place – here you could pick your cat up and put them in the litter tray so that your cat begins to associate this with going to the toilet.
Consider Getting Your Cat Checked Out By A Vet
If your cat is still having trouble using their litter tray despite your best efforts, you might consider taking them to be checked over by the vet. Some digestive and bowel conditions can cause toileting mishaps in cats, so having a health check up for your cat could help to put your mind at ease. If there is an issue, then early detection and treatment could give your cat the best chance of a full recovery.
This is where having cat insurance can be helpful for an owner, as your vet and treatment bills may be covered on your policy. If you don’t have cat insurance at the moment, you can find pet insurance for cats with Everypaw, and look to choose a policy that could be right for your pet.
Creating A Calm Environment
Cats can get stressed just like us humans can. Stress can cause your cat to have accidents about the house. As such, it could be helpful to have a calm environment for your cat when they are learning to use the litter tray.
If you have moved house with your cat or just brought them home from the animal shelter, then these can be stressful experiences, which may make them reluctant to use the litter tray. At this time, you should try your best to avoid doing anything that may cause him further stress so that they can quickly learn that he is safe in your home. Keeping your cat at ease is why it is important not to get angry or yell at your cat if they have an accident, even though it may be frustrating.
Cleaning The Litter Tray
How often you need to clean your cat’s litter tray depends on a few different factors. One is the type of litter you use, so it may be worth experimenting with different types of litter until you find one that works for you and your cat.
It would be best if you aimed to scoop up any deposits from your cat as soon as they occur, to prevent any accidents that may stem from your cat not wanting to use a dirty litter tray. It would help if you also aimed to completely replace the litter once per week using unscented cleaning products or products designed specifically for use on litter trays.