Bringing home a new kitty is a fun and exciting experience. Since cats are used to going to the bathroom in sand and dirt, most cats should instinctively know how to use the litter box. Here are a few ways to help ensure that your new kitty will use its new bathroom.
1) Set up a litter box before you bring your cat home. Keep it in a place that is quiet and is easily accessible. Your cat will appreciate this since cats like their own space (and privacy). Try to find a litter box with a cover on it to give your cat even more privacy. This also helps to stop any “spraying” of urine on your walls.
2) Fill the little box with enough litter so your cat can dig a bit, about two inches deep. After bringing your cat home, gently rub their front paws in the litter. Allow your cat to take its time in the box, and give it some alone time. It will most likely use the litter box right away, but every cat is different, and each will adjust to its new bathroom in its own time. If he/she does use it, give him/her positive reinforcement such as hugs or kisses. (NOTE: If you have a kitten, make sure to buy NON-clumping litter. If it is accidently ingested, it can cause intestinal blockages that may be very harmful to your precious kitten).
3) Buy unscented litter. Most cats do not like the scented litter. If they don’t like it, they won’t use it. Period.
4) Keep the litter box clean. Cats are meticulous about their cleanliness and will not use the litter box if they feel it is dirty. Make sure you scoop any poop everyday and change the litter once a week. Wash out the litter box weekly with warm soapy water to get any residual smells off. Vinegar and water also works well.
5) If you have more than one cat, make sure each cat has its own litter box. Cats generally do not like to share with one another. Good luck!
Vanessa Bonnin has a great love and knowledge of animals. Never knowing a time without a furry (or scaly) friend by her side, she has had several pets including cats, dogs, iguanas, fish, birds, rabbits, and hamsters. Additionally, she has experience working with sheep, goats, and pigs and someday hopes to start a dairy goat farm. She and her husband Charlie recently rescued two Border Collie mixes named Jack and Sebastian. Aside from her passion for animals, Vanessa loves to cook and is currently writing a healthy cookbook. She maintains a personal blog at www.vanessasvariations.com.