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How to Teach YOUR Cat to Use a Litter Box - Secrets to Litter Tray Success

Even the most dedicated cat lover has little patience with a cat that doesn't use its litter box. Yet, patience is the key to creating litter box success. A positive introduction when young, and simple housekeeping on your part will solve most problems.

Most cats instinctively use the litter box. However if you see your kitten crouching or sniffing in a corner lift her and place her in a litter tray - this is a sign of oncoming urination. If your kitten is not using the litter box you should place her in the box every morning.

It is important for your cat to be able to easily access the litter box. If you have a large home, put litter boxes in more than one place. If your house has many levels, make sure each floor is equipped with a litter box. As in real estate, location is crucial to your cat successfully using the litter box. The best spot offers your cat a certain amount of privacy, but not so out of the way that you forget to clean it. Some people put the litter box in a seldom-used closet. Be sure, however, to use a hard-rubber stop to keep the door, or install a pet door so your cat can go in and out whenever she wants.

If you need to move a litter tray you should move it by only a few feet at a time. If the cat stops using it you have probably moved it too far.

If your cat doesn't use her litter box study the situation carefully for the reason(s) why.

Some cats will avoid a "dirty" litter box. Scoop out feces and wet litter daily. Completely empty and replace the litter at least once a week. Don't be too generous with the litter; most cats prefer a shallow layer of about two inches.

If you have more than one cat, you need more than one litter box. Cats are very particular and won't eliminate in a "used" litter box. The general rule of thumb is to have one litter box per cat.

Location, location, location; sudden noises, or lack of privacy can scare a cat from using a litter box. Try moving it to a different spot.

Never punish your cat for having an accident. She won't make the connection unless you catch her in the act. Even then, punishment only creates fear of you, not a desire to change behavior. Use an enzyme-based cleaner to remove the smell of the accident. This will help prevent future soiling in that spot as the smell of urine will make the cat think its OK to go there.

If you notice that accidents happen in the same place over and over, try putting a litter box there. Perhaps your cat prefers this spot for reasons you'll never understand. If accidents tend to happen when your cat has free run of the house or while you are away, keep her confined to one room until you can watch her. Be sure to provide food, water, and that all-important litter box in whatever room you place her in. If your cat uses the litter box successfully for several years, then begins to have accidents, have your veterinarian examine her for a possible urinary tract or kidney infection.

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