How to Train an Outdoor Cat to Use a Litter Box

by Mary Lougee, Demand Media
    Indoor cats appreciate a soft bed for cat naps.

    Indoor cats appreciate a soft bed for cat naps.

    An outdoor cat sees her environment as one big litter box and goes where she wishes. A no-fail confinement method trains her to use a litter box inside and become an indoor cat. Indoor cats rely on their owners for food, water and a snuggly lap for a purr-fect nap.

    Items you will need

    • Large pet crate
    • Large litter box
    • Food and water dishes
    • Blanket or cat bed
    • Cat toys
    • Cat litter
    • Cat litter scoop
    • Dish soap
    • Water
    • Sand (optional)
    • Soil (optional)

    Step 1

    Place a large pet crate in a quiet area of your home such as a bathroom or laundry room. Pour cat litter into a large litter box and place it in the rear of the crate. This location will give your cat privacy when she uses the litter box.

    Step 2

    Place a dish of food and water near the center of the crate. Position a cat bed or a blanket in the front of the crate so the cat can rest in that area and observe action in the house. Scatter a few cat toys on the bed for when she wants to play.

    Step 3

    Clean the litter box one or more times a day with a litter scoop. Remove the litter box at least once a week and dispose of the litter. Wash the litter box thoroughly with soap and water, rinse it well and allow it to air dry. Pour fresh litter into the box and replace it in the pet crate. Continue this schedule of cleaning the litter box so she will use it; cats do not like to step in a litter box with refuse in it.

    Step 4

    Remove the cat and all the contents from the crate and place them in a small room, such as a bathroom, as soon as she uses the litter box consistently. Store the crate in another area for later use. Let your cat have free run of the room. Keep the door to the room closed, but visit her often to calm her and observe the room for any accidents. Clean all accidents up immediately and apply an enzyme cleaner that masks the smell to the area.

    Step 5

    Place the litter box in a larger room along with all of the cat accessories and the cat as soon as she has no accidents outside the litter box. This can be a bedroom or laundry area.

    Step 6

    Choose an area that will give your cat privacy for the final resting spot of her litter box. The ideal place is quiet and without a lot of traffic, but an easy area for her to get to. You can now place her food and water dishes in a separate room and her bed in a cozy area.

    Tips

    • You may add some sand or soil from outdoors to the litter box when you first set it up in the pet crate. An outdoor cat may be more comfortable scratching in what feels natural to her as a transition to becoming an indoor cat.
    • If your cat regresses at any point in this training method, place her items back into the next smallest area where she continuously used the litter box without accidents.

    About the Author

    Mary Lougee is a writer in Texas who writes on a wide variety of subjects from home improvement to pet care. Her love of animals led to building a farm and caring for rescue animals from equine and swine to dogs and cats. She holds a bachelor's degree in management.

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