Methods to Retrain Your Cat to Use the Litterbox in 5 Easy Steps

Person hand removing and cleaning cat toilet tray

A sudden spree of cat pee and poop round the home is each upsetting and aggravating. It may be particularly irritating in case your cat has beforehand been well-trained to make use of the litter field, possibly even for years.

Fast Overview


Cats have a powerful pure intuition to bathroom in a clear and well-placed litter tray, and litter field coaching usually comes naturally to kittens.


A regression in litter field coaching is usually a signal of a medical or behavioral concern that wants addressing.


By no means use punishment to retrain your cat into good litter tray habits, however goal to make their litter field essentially the most interesting place to bathroom.

In case your cat’s toilet habits have taken a flip for the more serious, relaxation assured they don’t seem to be doing this to frustrate you. It might be an indication of an underlying bodily or emotional concern your cat is dealing with, or an indication that one thing about their litter field simply isn’t fairly proper.

As a pet dad or mum, it’s your job to play detective and to determine issues out. Toileting is a really delicate concern for cats and they’re probably simply as upset concerning the change to routine as you’re.

The next steps ought to assist retrain your cat again to good litter tray habits.

1. Rule Out Any Medical Points

Inappropriate toileting—particularly urinating in unusual places—is usually a signal of a medical concern. If the urine is darkish, bloody, or appears painful to go, your cat might be affected by cystitis or a urinary tract an infection.

Your veterinarian is the particular person to diagnose this, so schedule your cat for a checkup if in any doubt. Any cat that’s straining to go urine however is struggling to take action needs to be seen instantly as this may point out a urinary blockage, which may be very critical and life-threatening.

Alternatively, your cat is likely to be urinating outdoors the litter field as a result of they’re consuming extra. Polydipsia, or elevated thirst, is usually a signal of sure situations akin to diabetes, kidney disease, and thyroid issues. As soon as once more, a visit to your vet is the easiest way to rule these points out. Your vet may want to run some urine or blood assessments to verify your cat is disease-free.

2. Break The Cycle

Generally cats will urinate in a brand new or uncommon spot as soon as for an unknown motive however be drawn again to that space by the scent of their urine. As everyone knows, cats are creatures of behavior, and sometimes the unsuitable habits are established. To be able to cease an undesirable toileting cycle, clear up accidents with an enzymatic cleaner.

Clear the world day by day for 3 consecutive days. Even when it smells positive to us, a cat may nonetheless be capable to detect their very own odor! If doable, and particularly if the cat has taken to peeing in a selected spot for some time, try to limit the cat’s entry to this space for per week or two.

3. Handle Any Behavioral Points or Stressors

domestic cat looks at the litter box

Going outdoors the litter field is a standard symptom of stress or anxiousness in cats.

Litter field habits are a powerful reflection of a cat’s emotional state. Something that may trigger stress or upset your cat can set their toileting conduct off kilter. These may embrace:

  • New pets or babies within the family
  • Neighborhood cats coming into your yard
  • Building or work going down inside their core territory
  • A change within the household routine

Some issues, like new cats within the native space, might be exhausting to regulate, whereas different facets you may be capable to have extra affect on, akin to introducing new pets regularly and ensuring your cats have loads of house to hide away and feel safe.

There are a selection of merchandise that may assist scale back a cat’s stress ranges, akin to diffusers that launch calming pheromones and calming cat diets. No matter steps you may take to make your cat really feel safe will probably have a constructive influence on their litter coaching.

If unsure, speak to your veterinarian or trusted pet behaviorist about assist your cat really feel blissful and safe.

4. Make Their Litter Tray Interesting

Your cat might be dwelling as wholesome and as low-stress life as doable, but when they hate the litter tray, litter, location of the field, or cleanliness of the field, they don’t seem to be going to need to go to the toilet there. You will need to have the most effective litter field setup on your specific cat.

Kind of litter field: A shy or timid cat may admire a litter field with excessive sides and a lid to ensure that extra privateness and confinement, whereas a small kitten or an older arthritic cat may discover the excessive sides on their tray troublesome to barter and due to this fact do higher with a litter tray with low that they will extra simply entry.

Cat litter: Equally, completely different cats have completely different preferences for the kind of litter, so when you see a regression in litter coaching after you’ve simply modified from clay litter to pellets or sand, for instance, contemplate switching again to the cat litter your cat is used to. Bear in mind, they’re creatures of behavior.

Cleanliness: As a normal rule of thumb, all cats favor a clean litter tray with some type of recent substrate to pee or poop on. If litter coaching takes a flip for the more serious, ensure you have the fundamentals of cleansing lined. Scoop out feces and clumps of urine day by day, deep clear the field as soon as per week.

Location: Equally, most cats would favor to bathroom away from their feeding and bedding space, so contemplate the placement of your cat’s litter field, as properly.

5. Reinforcement and Encouragement

Red-haired cat in litterbox

Provide your cat a deal with after they use to the litter field to bolster the conduct you need.

All of us wish to be informed we’re getting issues proper, and your cat is not any completely different. Bear in mind to not punish or scold your cat if they’ve a toilet accident outdoors of their litter tray. It’s OK to choose them up and place them gently right into a clear litter field when you occur to catch them whereas they’re providing you with cues that they’re about to bathroom.

After they get it proper and bathroom of their tray, be at liberty to lavish them with reward and encouragement and even their favourite deal with may assist.

Additionally Learn: The 6 Best Automatic Self Cleaning Litter Boxes In 2023

Often Requested Questions

How lengthy does it take to retrain a cat to make use of a litter field?

How lengthy it takes to coach a cat to make use of a litter field relies upon rather a lot on their motive for toileting outdoors of it, in addition to how lengthy they’ve been toileting within the unsuitable place. If the problem is a grimy or unappealing litter field, it’s doable to place issues proper in a day or two. If there’s a long-standing behavioral or medical concern inflicting the issue, then it would take a number of weeks to get issues again on observe.

Are you able to retrain an previous cat to make use of a litter field?

Most cats instinctively need to rest room in a clear, interesting litter field, no matter their age. Cats which are litter skilled from a younger age may choose issues up a bit of faster, however most cats will get the grasp of litter coaching with endurance and encouragement.

What ought to I do if my cat received’t use a litter field and I’ve tried the whole lot?

If in case you have taken all of the wise steps to coach your cat to make use of a litter field like utilizing completely different cat litter, finding the litter field in a acceptable place, and giving your cat numerous reward and encouragement, your cat might need an underlying medical concern that must be addressed. It’s a good suggestion to make a journey to your vet to get your cat a well being test.

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