How do I potty train a cat or kitten?

Cats generally don’t need to be house trained like dogs. They like to relieve themselves in sand, and most times you just have to show them where the box is.

  • Put the box in a peaceful location. The ideal place is easy for the cat to get to, private, and quiet.
  • Make sure the box is big enough. Many cats don’t like covered or automatic litter boxes, so if your cat doesn’t use it, you may need to get a large, open, manual box instead.
  • Scoop the box often, at least once a day.
  • Cats tend to prefer unscented litter. Some cats prefer one type of litter over another, so it may be worth some experimentation.
  • Cats like to have options – strive to have at least as many boxes as you have cats, and it’s even better to have one box more than the number of cats. That is, if you have two cats, it’s a good idea to have three boxes.

Kitten sitting in a pink litter boxIf you’re bringing home a kitten, place them in the box. They might not need to use it the first time, but let them spend a few minutes there anyway. Place the kitten in the box after eating, playing, or waking up from a nap.

It’s always a good idea to praise the “right” behavior, but don’t scold the kitten if it does its business somewhere else. Yelling or punishing will only make the kitten afraid of you. Instead, put it in the box!

If you adopt an adult cat, you normally only have to show it where the box is. They’ll know what it’s for.

If your adult cat stops using the box, something is wrong. Take your cat for a veterinary check-up to rule out physical problems. Also check, is the box clean? Has something happened to its location, so there’s more movement around it? Has something changed in the household, so the cat might be stressed?

Cats who stop using the litter box often have a medical issue, and getting to the vet sooner will make the problem easier to resolve.

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