Some kittens learn naturally from their mothers how to use a litter box. In the beginning, I was the cat mama as I’d carry and place Theodore in the litter box after his meals to remind him where the litter box is. Nowadays he will look for me and let out two short meows as his code word for – “Please cleanup my poop”.
If you are starting from ground zero here are some tips:
– Start training with one room instead of free-run to localize accidents.
– Choose a large enough litter box for your cat to grow into adult cat size. Rule of thumb is one litter box to one cat.
– Litter box can be covered or uncovered. Some cats don’t mind either. You might have to experiment if kitty refuses to use his hooded box.
– Place litter box in an accessible and quiet low-traffic area; just like how you’ll prefer privacy in the toilet. Try another location if he refuses to use it.
– Do NOT place litter box near his sleeping, food and water area. Yes, they mind too.
– Choose the right litter and if he doesn’t go for it, you might have to experiment.
– Use the correct recommended amount of litter which is normally two to four inches. It shouldn’t be too much to create a mess, but enough for kitty to dig and bury.
– Clean litter box daily with fresh litter as cats are finicky about cleanliness. Regularly wash with warm water and mild detergent or some vinegar. For the first few weeks of training, leave some waste behind as a gentle reminder to kitty.
– Observe kitty’s schedule and place him in the litter box after napping, playing or eating.
– Praise lavishly when he hops into his litter box and reward him with a treat when he does it correctly.
– If your cat has never used a litter box before, you will need to carry him and dig around some litter to show him how to cover his waste. Don’ts:
– Do not scold or punish as it will just make him frightened. Pick him up and place him in the litter box instead so that he can make the connection.
– If he makes a mistake somewhere, scoop and place into his litter box to remind him.
– Clean accident spots thoroughly with an effective cleaner, so that he won’t return to the same crime scene. If it persists, try putting his food and water there to deter him.
– If the problem persists, you might want to consult the vet to rule out any medical problems such as urinary tract infections.