You may believe all cats are born knowing how to use litter boxes instinctively, but that certainly isn't always true. Whether you've adopted a cute little kitten or a tough outdoor cat, you may have to train the furry thing on proper use of the litter box.
With some cats, litter box training is a piece of cake. Many felines are born with the urge to bury and hide their bathroom business. The instinct is natural -- they didn't even necessarily learn it from watching their mamas. If your cat is in this camp, then your only jobs from this point on are to ensure that your cat continues to use the box and to keep it immaculately clean, of course.
To encourage your cat to "automatically" utilize the litter box, make sure the location is ideal. Cats can be private creatures. Place the box in an area of your home that has low traffic but that is not too far from where your pet sleeps. Keep it away from appliances in your home that may make loud, jarring and disruptive sounds -- think washing machines and the like.
Cats are famously meticulous animals. Simply put, if your cat turns her nose up at the litter box, it may just be because it isn't clean enough. On a daily basis, carefully remove all waste from the box. On a weekly basis, thoroughly deep-clean the entire box using a gentle soap and lukewarm-to-warm water. The cleaner the litter box, the more naturally inclined your sweet pet will be to make good use of it.
If your cat doesn't seem to understand the point of the litter box, encourage her to go inside of it whenever you suspect that she might be ready to "go" -- such as right after her mealtimes. If she eliminates as planned, reward her by giving her a tasty treat. Doing this repeatedly will help your cat begin to associate the litter box with going to the bathroom -- and that's a good thing!
If your cat seems to have difficulties in learning -- or continuing -- to properly use the litter box, schedule an appointment with the veterinarian. The issue may be not a behavioral one but rather medical. For instance, if your fluff ball relieves herself on your kitchen floor, it could be a sign that she is suffering from a urinary tract infection. Always check with the vet first -- both for the sake of your kitty and to save yourself some time.
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