Whether you are giving a home to a cat or kitten, indoor or outdoor cat, you will need to keep them inside for a short while. This is so that older cats can get used to you, whereas kittens will not be able to go outdoors until they have had all of their vaccinations. In fact, it is advisable to keep your cat in one room for the first few days until they have settled in.
Once you’ve allowed your cat out to explore your home, you need to make sure that they know where their litter tray is. Because cats are quite particular about where they go to the toilet, it’s important to make sure that you put the tray in a suitable place. It should be away from food and water bowels, in a quiet area where your cat won’t be disturbed and away from any air fresheners.
To start your cat using your litter tray, you will need to predict when she will want to use it. You can do this more easily by feeding your cat at regular times. After your cat has eaten, or if she’s been asleep for over two hours, call her to the litter tray and scratch at the litter. If she goes into the tray, be sure to praise her even if she doesn’t actually go to the toilet. If your cat starts to go, continue to praise her, then when she has finished give her a stroke and a food treat.
Praise for getting it right is key to getting your cat housetrained, not punishment. This is because they will associate going to the toilet with punishment, so do not shout at or punish your cat if they have soiled in the house. If you catch your cat about to go, simply pick them up and take them to their litter tray.
If your cat does soil somewhere in your home other than the litter tray, it’s important to thoroughly clean the area as this will discourage your cat from doing it again. Use a mixture of five parts water to one part biological washing powder and then blot the area with an old towel. Be careful not to use anything containing ammonia as this will only encourage your cat to soil there again. You can also discourage your cat from using particular areas by putting small bowls of food or orange peel there.
It’s important to know that your cat may be spraying as a way to mark their territory. Males do this more than females and this is why it’s important to clean anywhere that your cat has sprayed. It’s also a good idea to thoroughly clean all carpets and floors in a new house if the previous owners had pets of their own.
If, however, your cat is not using her litter tray and you are doing everything listed above, it may be because of a health problem so you should take your cat to a vet before trying anything else. On the other hand, cats can be very fussy and susceptible to change so you should think if there have been any changes in the household. This could be anything from a new person or pet, or simply moving the litter tray or changing the litter. Once you’ve found out what has changed, you can fix the problem.
If nothing has changed, then make sure that the litter tray is kept clean as cats like to go to the toilet in clean trays. You could also provide an extra tray, and if you have more than one cat you should make sure that they have a litter tray each. Cats can be fussy over the type of litter used, so if you want to change brands then this should be done slowly by mixing the brands together. You could also add some soil as cats like the earthy smell. Finally, you could try moving the litter tray to somewhere more private, or try an entirely new tray altogether.
The last point to make is if you make the decision to let your cat go outside. Cats actually prefer going to the toilet in a more natural place, but you shouldn’t take the indoor litter tray away immediately. What you should do first is add some soil and grass to the litter for a few days before you plan to let your cat outside. Then, place a litter tray in a private place outside, that has the same litter mix as the indoor one. Encourage your cat in the same way as before to use this outdoor tray and when she is happy to do this, you can remove the indoor one. Finally, put some cat litter down in an area of your garden and praise your cat when she uses this area. When she doesn’t use the outdoor tray at all, you can remove that one too.
House training your cat needn’t be stressful. Just remember not to make any sudden changes, praise not punish, and clean up any accidents. A well house trained cat will be much happier and healthier, as well as ensuring your home is clean and hygienic. If you have any tips of your own for house training cats, let us know and share them with other cat owners. You can leave a comment below, talk to us on Facebook or send them to us via Twitter!