Train your Cat to Use the Litter Tray
Correct use of the litter tray is one of the easiest things you can train a cat to do, as cats have a similar view to humans on the best place for a toilet, and tend to get the concept of the tray pretty quickly.
None of us likes to eat too near the toilet, and none of us likes to relax near it either, and so it is for cats, so you're already two steps ahead from most training tasks.
Unfortunately when litter training is not working it can also be one of the most unpleasant and frustrating problems to try and solve - but if you're having problems in this area do not despair.
A cat will urinate for only one of two reasons, the first being waste disposal the second being territorial 'spraying'. A cat will only defecate for waste disposal. It is the waste disposal aspect we are dealing with in this article.
If your cat is spraying then the problem is beyond the scope of this article, but there are some excellent resources on the web that deal specifically with spraying problems.
Getting a cat to do anything is almost always a matter of psychology. If you can work out how the cat sees the situation and change the environment to promote a different point of view, then often all that is needed is a little encouragement.
So, how does my cat see the situation?
When your cat chooses a place to use as a toilet their reasoning is a balance of convenience, cleanliness, somewhere unlikely to be disturbed and somewhere away from the other areas that are already allocated for eating, socialising, relaxing or some other activity.
Getting your cat to use the tray is simply a matter of making the litter tray the most appropriate choice and minimising the suitability of other areas.
Step-By-Step Litter Training
Step 1: Choose an appropriate litter tray.
The regular large litter trays available in our shopping section are perfect for training with most cats. The only advice with these is to make sure you get one large enough that your cat could comfortably lay down in it (although hopefully that's not what he'll be doing there) so we also offer extra large litter trays which are suitable for larger cats.
If you’re keen to avoid direct contact with cat litter then cat litter liners are a great help, and the disposable litter trays from Katpak are also a viable option. You will have to cut your own access hole in the top of each new Katpak during training, but that’s a simple enough ask for the convenience they provide.
I would definitely encurage anyone to try the disposable trays once the cat finished this training - I can’t tell you how pleased I am to know that I never need to clean another litter tray! Our cats went from the normal litter tray to the Katpak without any encouragement or effort on our part, but scroll to the bottom of this article for a supplemental section on how to encourage cats to make the switch if they don’t do it all by themselves.
Step 2: Choose some litter.
There are so many types of litter that it would be impossible to go into detail here, but the commonly available plain types, such as wood pellets, paper or clay, are fine for most cats.
Don’t use anything with strong perfumes or antibacterial chemicals during training, and whichever you choose, try to avoid changing it until the training is complete.
Step 3: Choose the right spot.
Make sure the location of the litter tray meets all of the criteria to make it an appealing spot (as discussed above), being careful not to hide it.
In a nook of a utility room or garage is ideal, somewhere near the cat flap might be good too. It doesn't matter if the tray is in an area with less heating than the main parts of the house. The cat will not spend much time there and they are perfectly prepared to go outside, so the shelter of a garage is almost considered a luxury.
The corner of a bedroom is not a bad place to start with a litter tray, but the associated smells can sometimes be unpleasant, so you might not want it in the bedroom for longer than necessary.
Wherever you put it, make sure you put some newspaper down underneath it - even well trained cats can sometimes have 'boundary issues'! (If your cat is a persistant offender in this area then you'll love the extra large cat litter trays)
Step 4: Introduction
Having found the perfect spot, you now need to show the cat where the tray is. Make sure to have a generous layer of litter in the tray (3cm or so will be fine) and gently place the cat in the tray.
You might like to have a dig around yourself, partly to show the cat that this is OK but also so they can hear the sound and see that it might be something they would like to do.
Don't worry if the cat seems disinterested, even if they go off to another room straight away. Almost certainly they will have made a mental note of the location, and it's even quite possible that they will already know what to do and are just waiting for the need to arise, or some privacy, or possibly delivery of the morning paper for some reading material.
Step 5a: Creating a positive
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