If you ever had any pets, you know how hard it is to train them. And if that pet is a cat, then the difficulty increases severalfold. That is because cats, by nature, are free animals. They prefer to do things the way they want. They are awful when it comes to following instructions. But even they can be trained. If you’re going to teach them, then it is best to do so in a systematic manner.
The most painful thing to do is to potty train a cat. That is why many ask – how to potty train a cat or kitten?
Most adult cats, by instinct, will eliminate in a place that is sandy or granular. But this has to be taught to kittens. If you have a kitten and an adult cat, then the process is self-learned. But in the case of a lone kitten, the things need to be taught to them.
What Is House Training?
As a pet owner, you must have heard the term House Training. It is the process of training a pet that lives with humans. In a house, a pet cannot just eliminate wherever they please. There should be a designated spot for them. The process of training them to do so is known as house training or housebreaking.
Generally, the pet is trained to excrete outdoors. But if they are not allowed to go outdoors, then you need to designate a spot indoors. If you don’t do so, then they will excrete randomly within the house. That will be unpleasant for the residence and also detrimental to the pets’ health.
Why Potty Train?
The biggest hurdle any pet owner has is to keep the house clean. In the case of cats, this problem is not that huge. By nature, cats are clean animals. But you do need to know how to potty train a cat. They prefer to stay clean, so they are most of the time seen licking themselves clean.
That is great and all, but the problem is when they need to use the toilet. Well, it’s not them using the toilet but wanting to excrete. Cats are shy by nature and will generally discharge in places that are out of sight. If you do not have a cat trained to do so in a particular area, you will find that your house smells weird.
They might have excreted somewhere, and you haven’t cleaned it as you don’t know where it was. It is vital teaching your cat to excrete or potty in a particular place. And to do that, you need to potty train them.
What Is the Perfect Age to Train Them?
Human children are quick to adapt and learn anything new compared to adults. The same is valid for cats. A kitten can pick up good behavior easily compared to adult cats. If you want to train them, the best is to start the training when they are still a kitten. The perfect age is anywhere between two to twelve weeks.
Cats, by nature, are independent animals. They are aloof and uninterested in anything that requires too much attention. As they grow up, it becomes tougher to train them. But if you utilize some feedback mechanism, then you can teach them to behave and train them properly.
Different Styles of Potty Training
When it comes to potty training, there are mainly three routes that you can take to teach your cat. The process of training is almost similar, but the locations are different. Here is a brief explanation about them.
The most common training procedure is to train your cat to use litter boxes. It is the process where you have to set aside a box with litter. The litter is generally sand or granular polymers. It is the best way if you have enough space and your cat is an indoor cat.
- Suitable for indoor cats
- Easy to train the cat
- Easy to clean the excrete
- Can easily keep track of cats’ health
- Most expensive of all the process
- Have to make sure the litter used suits the cat
- Using unscented litter leaves a foul odor
If you have a backyard and your cat is allowed to go there, then adopt this option. You just need to make sure your cat has easy outdoor access. This process makes so that the cat does excretion out in the open. However, if you don’t want your yard to smell, you need to get rid of the waste manually.
- Requires no external equipment
- Cleaning the excrete is not a must
- No chance of your house having a foul odor
- Practically costs nothing
- As the cat goes outdoor, your house might get dirty
- Others might complain due to the smell from the excrete
- The cat might wander off when let outside
If you don’t want to let your cat out or even spend money on litter, then we suggest you do toilet training. You just need to get a specialized toilet seat once and train them to use the bathroom. There is no need to clean the excrete as it can be flushed away.
- No need to clean the excrete; flush it
- Zero probability of leaving any foul odor
- Specialized toilet sit makes sure cat doesn’t fall in
- Toilet-trained cats don’t usually excrete anywhere based on instincts
- keeping the toilet doors open is a must
- Training them is a bit time consuming
- Impossible to identify if there are any medical issues
Which Is the Best Then?
Now that you know about the possible training routes, you might be asking which is the best one. Well, that depends on you, but in our opinion, litter box training is the best. But here is a comparison table for you to decide that.
|Time||Training time is not that long but not that short either||It takes the shortest amount of time among the three||It takes the most time to train the cat|
|Simplicity||Just need to train them to use the box||Simplest of the three process||Hardest to train them as it requires constant observation|
|Cleaning||Easy to clean as needs only a scoop for the poop||No need to clean as they excrete outside||Just flush the excrete|
|Hygienic||Using the suitable litter makes sure your cat is healthy||Entirely unclean, for they excrete outside||Hygienic but medical observation is impossible|
|Costs||Requires Litter box and litter so is a bit costly||Requires no external utility||Needs a toilet seat at the start for training|
Now that you have chosen the process, it is time to train your cat. But how to train them? Well, there are mainly two processes that you can train your cat in. They are,
Cats are proud animals. They don’t like when they are bossed around. But they are extremely susceptible to praises. Whenever they do something right, you should encourage them. This makes them realize what is good and what is wrong.
To Encourage them, you can give them treats or play with them. Even a simple pat on their head can help a lot. So, while training them, if your cat shows progress, then encourage them. If they do something wrong, don’t yell at them. Instead of yelling, decrease the number of treats that you might have given. This way, they will know what’s right and what s wrong.
Animals possess sharp hearing giving them the ability to distinguish between sounds very easily. Cats are no different. You can train them using simple clicks. If they do something right, the clicking sound will signal that they are right. If it is wrong, use a different clicker or a different number of clicks. This will tell them that what they did is actually bad.
During training, when they do something right, do a certain number of clicks and give them a treat. In case of a wrong step, do another set of clicks and don’t give them any treats. This process is the best if you are training a kitten. For adult cats, the process is a bit tough.
How to Litter Box Train Them?
Here are the steps that you need to follow if you want to train your cat.
1. Perfect Box
- The first thing is, get a box. By a box, we mean a litter box. There are various options available in the market.
- Find the one that suits your cat and your house. These litter boxes are available in various shapes and sizes. Make sure you get the one that is just right.
- If your cat is an adult, get a box with only a single inlet and outlet. Such a box makes your cat feel secure, and they are more likely to use them.
- For a kitten, tray-type litter boxes are preferential. They can easily come in and out of the box from all sides.
- Ensure the box you choose is one that they feel secure in. if they do not like the box, you will probably fail to train your cat.
2. Placement Is Crucial
- Placing the litter box in the correct place is crucial. It helps the cats feel safe and can do their business in a relaxed mood.
- Please make sure the site you set it up in is an accessible one. Cats are lazy by nature. They would rather poop in a random place based on their instinct instead of going to the litter box.
- The spot that you choose needs to be out of sight. Cats are shy by nature. If they see that their bathroom is somewhere in the open, they will not use that spot.
- Set up the box in a quiet place. As cats have excellent hearing, even the slightest noise can startle them. So, if the spot selected by you is a noisy one, they will not be able to relax.
- The spot that you chose should not be near their feeding station. To cats, their feeding ground is home within the home. And by instinct, they will want to urinate or defecate somewhere outside this home.
3. Litter That Suits
- Cats are picky about where they discharge, so ensure that the litter you choose is to their liking.
- Make sure to choose a litter that clumps up. When a cat uses the litter, it will get wet and muddy. If the litter doesn’t form any clumps, your cat will feel irritated.
- Choose a litter whose scent is preferred by your cat. Some litters have an extensive range of scents. If they don’t find the scent to be familiar, then they will not use the box.
- Get an unscented litter if your cat does not like any scent. There are a few unscented litters with ammonia blocking technology. Use them if you are worried about the odor.
3. Let Them Know Each Other
- Similar to any relationship, let your cat or kitten know about the litter. This will familiarize them with the new thing.
- While setting up the box, you will see that your cat is interested. Take advantage of this and introduce them. Cats are curious animals. They will try to learn about the slightest change in their surroundings
- Make sure the process is gradual, or else they will get startled. And if that happens, then you might have to change the whole setup.
- When they are familiarized, teach them about how to use the box. If you see your cat taking the position to relieve themselves, then take them to the box. This helps them understand the purpose of the box.
- If they don’t, then there is a problem with the box, spot, or litter. Try changing it.
5. Encourage Them
- Give feedback on everything that they do. Do not yell or get mad. Be patient and try to be nice to them.
- If you see your cat using the litter box, then give them treats. This shows them that what they did is something that offers rewards. And they will repeat the act.
- If you do not have any treats, then pat their head. Cats are comfort-loving. So, they will repeat themselves to get patted.
- Playing with your kitten is also an excellent way to show positive reinforcement. They are playful by nature and will start using litter to play with you.
- If they do something wrong, absolutely do not yell at them. Cats are proud animals. If you yell, they will do the same thing over and over to aggravate you.
- When they do something wrong, just don’t give them treats and ignore them. They will understand that their action got them ignored and will refrain from doing so.
6. Keep It Clean
- And finally, when your cat uses the litter, clean the box. If the litter is one that clumps, use a scoop to clean it.
- If the litter does not have the clumping feature, you might have to change the whole thing. This will be bad for the litter economy, so we suggest you get one that clumps.
- Make sure you clean or change the litter when your cat is not around. Cats are territorial, so if they see you in their area, they might not use the litter box again.
- Another thing you can do while cleaning, look for any medical problems like blood with stool. This helps you know about your cats’ health.
- Cleaning the litter box once a day is sufficient enough. But if the waste is too much, we suggest you clear it at least twice a day.
- The best way to keep the litter clean is by scooping out the excrete right after your cat is done relieving itself.
A Few More Tips
We made sure that the steps mentioned above were easy to understand. But you might still find it hard to teach your cat to use the litter box. If that is the case, then do not panic because this is perfectly natural.
Cats have the instinct to do whatever they want. But there is a way around it. Here are a few things you can do to make the training easier for you.
Learn Their Bathroom Schedule
Cats, like humans, have a bathroom schedule. Most of the time, it is right after they wake up from a nap. So, if your cat wakes up from a nap, take it to the litter box. This helps them understand the concept.
Play Near the Box
Many cats need to relieve themselves right after playing. When you play with your cat, do it near their litter box. This will help them get familiar with the box and also lets them find the box easily.
Teach Them What to Do
Another thing that you can do to teach them is by showing it to them. Well, not using the litter yourself but setting them on top of the litter when they are about to relieve themselves. You can also use a finger to scrape some litter to show them that they can hide their feces here.
Mix Some Feces into The Litter
This is the last thing that you can do if things are getting complicated. Mix in a bit of their defecate with the litter. The smell of their feces will let them know where to excrete.
Here are a few products that you might need for litter training your cat.
Van Ness Corner Enclosed Cat Pan
Product Link: Click Here
Fitted with a Zeolite air filter, this litter box is perfect for a single cat. It is small, compact, and also has a hood. So, if you have a small cat or a kitten, then this box is just right. The build material is smooth and stain-resistant. That is why you can set it within any spot of your house.
- Space-saving design
- Single cat use
- Includes hood and odor door
- Easy to clean
- Odor and stain-resistant material
Clean Pet Cat Kitty Open Top Large Cats Litter Box
Product Link: Click Here
The open-top design makes it so that your cat can enter the litter however they want. This also makes it so that the inside of the box feels spacious. Moreover, you can clean the box easily with a scoop. The side shields make sure that no litter is sprayed when your cat uses it.
- Perfect for large cats
- The top is open for easy access
- Shielded from three sides for privacy
- It also features a scoop for cleaning
IRIS Top Entry Cat Litter Box
Product Link: Click Here
Being entirely boxed out, this box provides the maximum litter spray prevention. Despite this, your cat will not feel claustrophobic as the box is spacious. Due to the single top opening, you might think that cleaning will be tough. But that is not the case as the top lid is easily detachable.
- Entirely boxed out
- Large top opening for accessible entrance
- Includes litter scoop
- High-grade build material
- It perfectly fits in any spot
Dr. Elsey’s Premium Clumping Cat Litter
Product Link: Click Here
This is the perfect litter that you can get in the market. The litter is a unique medium clay grain. This makes them 99.99% dust-free while being low tracking. This means the litter will stay where it is supposed to be, the litter box. They have both scented and unscented variants of this product
- 99% dust-free litter
- Litter clumps up hard
- Unique medium grain clay
- Natural scent for odor control
- Multiple cats can use it
Fresh Step Scented Litter
Product Link: Click Here
Along with Febreze, First Steps extreme clumping litter can block the bad scent for ten days. That is because of the Ammonia Block technology. This stops the unpleasant odor of the waste and releases the scent that you chose. The clumping and low dust litter helps you to keep the litter where it belongs
- Multiple scents to choose from
- Fitted with Ammonia Block technology
- Entirely dust-free
- Ultra-clumping ability
- Can counter odor for ten days
Purina Tidy Cats Instant Action Clumping Cat Litter
Product Link: Click Here
With the instant action feature, the litter makes sure your house remains odor-free. The litter entraps the odor as soon as it gets moist due to moister activation. This also clumps up the litter strongly. Along with its low dust content, you don’t have to think about the litter spreading around.
- 10-day odor control guarantee
- Moisture activated odor trapping for odor control
- 98% dust-free formula
- Strong clump formation for easy cleaning
- Instant action technology
Temptations Classic Crunchy and Soft Cat Treats
Product Link: Click Here
Treats are a great way to encourage your cat, but they can be detrimental to health. These treats make sure to be only two calories each. The treats are 100% nutritious and balanced. But despite this, the treats are tasty. This is why they will come running to you the moment you take the packet in hand and shake it.
- Complete nutrition balance
- Low-calorie content for your cats’ health
- Creamy inside and crunchy outside
- Helps reduce hairballs
MeoHui Interactive Cat Feather Toys
Product Link: Click Here
Want to play with your kitten or adult cat, then this is a suitable toy. It features cat wands with feathers and squiggly worms. It also has refills for the feathers and worms. The toy is the perfect interactive toy for your cat as it makes your cat run around a lot. This makes so that they get the exercise that they need.
- Feathers are easy to change out
- Telescopic cat wand
- Extra durable strings for long play hours
- Perfect for cat exercise
- It makes cat-teasing the easiest thing
Greenies Feline Natural Dental Care Cat Treats
Product Link: Click Here
Greenies Feline is a brand that cares for your cat in the best possible way. Their treats are made of 100% natural ingredients. These ingredients are well balanced, and each treat contains less than two calories. Despite this, the treats are so tasty that your cat will not be able to resist them once they taste them. The treat also has the added benefits like cleaning your cats’ teeth and keeping their breath fresh.
- All-natural ingredients
- Taste that cannot be resisted
- Each treat has less than two calories
- Makes sure your cat has healthy teeth
What to Do If the Litter Is Not Used?
Even if you take all the measures, there is a chance that your cat doesn’t use the litter. They might have started using the litter regularly but suddenly stopped doing so. There might be a few causes for that. Here are some things that you can do for them to resume the good habit.
Check to see if the litter box is clean or not. Cats hate dirty litter. So, it will help if you clean the box and refill it with clean litter.
Try setting the cat litter box in a different place. This helps them to see the box in a new light. By doing so, they might start using the litter box again. Make sure the new place is easily accessible and in a quiet place
Try A New Box or Litter
There is a possibility that the cat got bored of the same box or litter. Try changing them. This will be a costly process, but most of the time, this change seems to work.
They might not use the litter if they don’t feel secure. So, give pheromone diffusers a shot. This will help your cat relax and feel safe.
If all seems ok, then there is a possibility that your cat might have some medical issue. Try taking it to the vet to get your cat checked. If it has parasites, urinary tract infections, or any other medical problem, get it treated as soon as possible.
Training a cat can be both challenging and fun. The thing that matters is how you do it. No matter the process you choose – litter box, outdoors, or toilets, you have to be active. Or else you will not be able to train them. Hope our article helped you answer the question – how to potty train a cat?