Show Them the Way
If your new kitten or cat is confused about where to go, try placing them in the litter box after they’ve eaten. This is the time they will most likely to need to eliminate. The more times they successfully use the box, the more they’ll realize that’s where they should be going.
Some cats will develop an association with the location of the box, as opposed to the box itself. If you’ve recently moved your litter box and your cat demonstrates confusion, try putting it back in its former location and move it slowly over the course of several days.
Have Multiple Litter Boxes
For every cat you have, you should have the same number of litter boxes plus one. For example, if you have two cats, the ideal number of litter boxes is three. At least one litter box should be placed in an area of your home where you spend a lot of time. This is especially important if:
1. You have more than one cat in your home: When bringing a new kitten or cat into a home with other cats, territorial disputes and disagreements can happen. Not all cats can immediately transition into living in peace with each other. This is one reason why having multiple litter boxes is so important. Each cat needs a place to relieve themselves without competing with another cat; otherwise, you might find your cats marking their territory or bullying each other.
2. Your cats mark their territory or spray regularly: In nature, cats are territorial creatures. They use their urine and scent to mark a space as theirs. Simply bringing a cat indoors doesn’t prevent this from happening, especially if they’re living in an environment with multiple cats or experiencing stress.
If your cat frequently marks their territory in the house, try placing litter boxes in areas of your home where you spend the most time. This way, you give your cat the opportunity to mark their territory in a socially important space and discourage marking in other parts of your home.
If your cat is urinating along the walls or on the side of your sofa, they’re spraying. This action has nothing to do with your cat relieving themselves, but it often signals a bigger problem, such as an underlying medical condition or feelings of anxiety. Hormones also a play a large role in spraying. It’s no surprise, then, that this behavior is common among unneutered male cats. Neutering can often fix the issue, but it’s always a good idea to consult your veterinarian if your cat sprays.
Try Different Litter Textures
Not all cats prefer the same kind of litter. When it comes to litter, there are a few varieties you can try: standard clay gravel litter and litter made with finer grains or different materials. If you’ve adopted a former outdoor cat, litter with a texture similar to dirt or sand might help make the transition easier.
Many cat litters are fragranced to help keep your home smelling fresh. But, sometimes, covering up your cat’s odors can cause them stress or make them feel like their territory isn’t properly marked. Instead of using heavily scented litter or litter deodorizers, regularly cleaning the litter box is the best way to keep your home smelling fresh.
Use a Few Litter Box Styles
If you’re looking for the right style of litter box, try a mixture of shallow and deep boxes, as well as covered and uncovered ones. Some cats will gravitate toward a box that lends them more privacy, while others might feel trapped or cornered in a covered box. If you notice a greater number of accidents around one box, try swapping it out for a different style. Your cat likely knows where they should be relieving themselves, but they’re uncomfortable using that particular box.
Clean Up the Litter Box and Accidents
Cats will often refuse to use a litter box if it’s too dirty. If that’s the case, they might eliminate in the area around the litter box. Some cats will want the litter box cleaned after every use, but most will be satisfied if it’s cleaned once a day or even every other day.
If your cat has an accident, use an enzyme-based cleaner to mop it up. It will remove the source of the odor, as well as stains. Avoid ammonia cleansers as this can attract your cat back to the spot.
When they are successful, reward them. Just like dogs, cats respond well to positive reinforcement training. If you find that litter box use is hit and miss, give your cat a treat when they manage to use it. Soon they’ll associate the reward with the action and realize that it’s a good behavior.