Common Problems when Litter Training Your Cat

Litter training your cat is usually fairly easy, since most cats prefer to bury their own waste. However, there are some common problems that cat owners face when litter training their cats. Here's what you can do about them.

Put Your Cat's Litter Box in the Right Place

You'll want to put your cat's litter box in an inconspicuous place. Place your cat's box in a location that allows for some privacy; he'll appreciate it. Cats prefer to have privacy while they do their business.

You'll need to make sure, however, that your cat's box isn't too difficult to get to. If your cat is very young or very old, choose a low-sided box that's easy to get in and out of. Place the box in a quiet location, since your cat may find a noisy environment disturbing. If you're putting the litter box in a closet or bathroom, make sure your cat can't get trapped in the room, or shut out of the room; allowing him to be trapped could scare him away from using the box, and, of course, he can't use it at all if he can't get to it.

Use More than One Box

If you have multiple cats, each one should have his own box, and there should also be an extra box. If you have one cat, you need two boxes; if you have two cats, you need three boxes. Place boxes on each level of your home, and in different rooms, to make sure that your cat always has access to a box.

Use Fine-Grained, Unscented Litter

Many owners use scented litter to try to combat the smell of the litter box. Unfortunately, that's the very thing that puts many cats off using the litter box. An unscented litter is more appealing to your cat. You can put baking soda under the litter to absorb smells.

Many cats won't use the litter box because they don't like the texture of the litter. Most cats prefer a fine-grained litter, because it's more like soil. If you've tried a fine-grained litter without success, use potting soil or sand.

Keep Your Cat out of Potted Plants

Soiling potted plants is one of the most common problems you'll find when training your cat, especially for indoor/outdoor cats. Cover the surface of the soil in your potted plants with rocks to stop your cat from digging. You can place coffee grounds or orange peels around the base of the plant to further discourage your cat from going there.

Keep Boxes Clean

One of the primary reasons cats won't use boxes is that they're not, in the cat's opinion at least, clean enough. Cats can be pretty picky about this, and some cat owners find they have to clean the box every time their cat uses it. If this is a problem for you, consider using a self-cleaning box.

When to Call the Vet

If your cat's litter training problems develop suddenly, call the vet. It could be a sign of a urinary tract infection or other urinary disorder.