Free Pet Classifieds at Petmanacs.com

Pets Articles Complete List of Pet Articles @ PetManiacs.com | Home

How to Litter Train a Cat


For most cat owners, training their cat to use the litter is a relatively painless process. It is among a cat's natural instincts to eliminate in an area that they can cover their feces in. This behavior may be a way of your cat accepting what they perceive to be as the natural order of dominance. In the wild feral cats will bury their feces if they are not at the top of their social hierarchy, if a feral cat does not bury his or her feces it is likely that the cat exhibiting that behavior is the dominant feline. So when your housecat buries his or her waste he or she may be recognizing your role as the dominant animal in their social community. It is also possible, however, that your cat may be displaying his or her inherited instinct to bury his or her feces in order to hide their trail from would be predators.

Generally kittens will learn the behavior of burying their feces and using the litter through their mother once they are weaned assuming the mother is litter trained. So if you bring home a young kitten of about 12 weeks, you may only need to place kitty in the litter box and gently scratch the clean litter with your fingers shortly after she eats to indicate to her what she is to do.

KITTY DIDN'T TAKE TO THE LITTER RIGHT AWAY
If your new cat doesn't take to litter training after your first few attempts you may want to consider teaching her using another common method. Confine your new addition to a small but comfortable room, preferably one with a hard floor if you have one. Place both the litter box and the food dish in the room but don't place them close to one another. Your cat will naturally not want to defecate near its food source so she will look for another area. Eliminate any pillows, blankets, newspapers, towels or other soft items where your cat may decide to eliminate from the room before you close her in. If you have confined your cat to a room with hard floors she is likely to avoid eliminating on the floor since urinating is likely to splash back and get on her fur. The only remaining choice to the cat at this point is (hopefully) the litter box.

MY CAT STOPPED USING THE LITTER
If your cat was housebroken and all the sudden she seems to have forgotten that instinct there are a few possibilities you might want to consider before giving up.

1. Does Kitty Have A Dirty Litter Box? The most common cause of a housetrained cat to stop using the litter is your cat disagreeing with the level of cleanliness regarding her litter box. Your cat is more likely to stop using the litter if she feels that it is too dirty. It is best to clean your cat's litter every day or at the very least every second or third day. The dirtier a litter box gets the less likely it is that your cat is going to continue to use it. Your cat wants to eliminate in a clean environment and if she notices that every time she eliminates on the carpet you immediately run and clean it up she perceives that as a more desirable place to eliminate because it is so quickly cleaned. Keeping your cat's litter as clean as possible is the best way to avoid this problem, and remember, what you consider clean, your cat may not.

In addition to emptying the litter, you obviously need to change it from time to time as well in order to ensure good cat health and cleanliness. Weekly changing is best, this ensures that odors and wetness won't have too much time to build up to unacceptable levels and it also reduces the likelihood of sickness due to high levels of bacteria.

2. Stress. A cat eliminating outside of the litter box may also be a sign for stress. The introduction of a new person or animal into the household may be putting a lot of stress on your cat. Cats generally like to feel like they know what is going on and what they can expect. If you upset that balance by introducing a new creature (even a two legged one) into the household they may get stressed which can cause them to eliminate outside the box.

If you leave your cat alone for long periods of time (for example while you take vacations or go on business trips) and you come back you may notice that your cat will sometimes seem aloof and standoffish. This is another instance in which your cat may react with eliminating outside the litter box as a sort of protest to what she perceives as being abandoned.

A new piece of furniture, or conversely, a newly missing piece of furniture may also put stress on your cat. Order and comfort are important if you are a cat. If you decide to get rid of that old fabric sofa because of it's ugly pea green color and because it's falling apart at the seams and then you replace it with a brand new, slick, top of the line, leather sofa with a refrigerator built into the side, and a massage and heating function, your cat is unlikely to see this as a stylish upgrade the way you would. What your cat will probably see is that one of her favorite nap spots has disappeared only to be replaced by something she is unfamiliar with and intimidated by.

3. Changing Litter Brands. Cats are creatures of habit and can also be quite finicky (remember Morris, the 9 Lives cat?). If you've recently switched the brand of litter you usually buy this may be cause for your cat to find another place to go. Some litters are perfumed (for humans rather than cats) and your cat may not react well to these smells, or perhaps your cat was used to a less dusty type of litter, a particular litter's texture, or who knows what. Changing brands or types of litter may upset what your cat is comfortable with and the result may be a messy carpet. If you suspect this to be the cause, you can either switch back, or gradually introduce the new litter. Try mixing in a little bit of the new litter with the older brand at first and gradually step up the percentage of the new litter each time you change the box, eventually you will be able to replace the older brand altogether. This will help your cat ease into the new litter brand rather than upset her sense of the order of things.

4. Multiple Cats. As mentioned above a second animal may cause a cat to begin to eliminate outside of the litter box, but this may not necessarily be the result of stress. A second cat in your household should probably have his own litter box unless your cats have proven they don't mind sharing. Again, remember cats are clean creatures and they can be territorial as well. Some cats may not mind using the same box, but others may refuse, which means again, the carpet becomes litter box number two.

5. Litter Box Size Or Placement. If the litter box does not provide enough room for your cat she may not use it at all. Your cat will likely want to scratch around and be able to feel comfortable in the litter box. Make sure it is roomy enough, easy for your cat to get in and out of (the sides of the box should be lower for kittens than for adult cats), and not in a high traffic area as cats seem to like some degree of privacy when eliminating. Lastly, make sure your cat has access to the litter at all times. Putting your litter box in a room that is closed on occasion is a recipe for disaster. If your cat has to go and she can't get to the room that you've put the litter in then she really will have no other alternative than to find another suitable area to eliminate.

6. Medical Issues. Your cat may be experiencing kitty incontinence. Like humans, incontinence can strike animals and this may be an indication of other medical issues with your cat. As a cat ages, she becomes more likely to lose control of her bodily functions just like a human does. If you suspect age or medical reasons may be the cause for your kitty's litter box problems then you should take her to the vet for an examination, advice and possible treatment to resolve the problem.

WHEN YOUR CAT MAKES A MESS
If your cat does make a mess outside of the litter box it is generally not good practice to scold her or punish her. Putting her nose in the mess and then tossing her in the litter is not going to solve your problem. Being upset with your cat is natural after such an incident, but to display this behavior and then to put her in the litter box is only making your cat associate the litter box with a bad experience. Your cat may also begin to learn to be afraid of you, which is obviously not what you want. Your best solution is to clean up the mess quickly. Put your cat in the litter box and be friendly and speak in a calming voice with the cat. Scrape the clean litter with your fingers and make sure your cat sees this behavior, hopefully it will sink in. To avoid having your cat defecate in the same place outside the litter box a second (or third) time, cover the area with a plastic sheet or something hard that will result in your cat splashing herself with her own urine if she should chose that place to defecate again. Clean the smell as best you can (white vinegar may help, but make sure your furniture or carpet can handle it). You can also move her food dish on top of or near the area that she used to defecate, a cat will not want to defecate near her food source. If your cat uses the litter again, even just once, reward her, play with her, pet her, give her a treat, make her associate the litter box with a good experience rather than a bad one.

A cat that eliminates outside of the box is not a lost cat. Don't give up on her until you've explored the possible reasons for the problem. Once you find it, you can most likely correct it and kitty and human can live a happy co-existence once again.

Andy Markison is an illustrator, graphic designer, animal lover and pet owner living in Germany. His website, ZapGraphix.com, sells fun and humorous pet related grapchics and gift merchandise.


MORE RESOURCES:
RELATED ARTICLES
10 Questions Im Most Asked about Dogs in Heat
1. What is heat?Heat is more properly called the estrous cycle.
What You Should Know About Your Puppy And Play Biting
The main ways a puppy will play with another dog or puppy are chasing, wrestling, and biting.When your puppy eventually becomes separated from his littermates, he will most likely carry on his playful behavior with you and your family members.
Vet Check - Well-Bird Check Up
I know there are differing opinions on the subject of well-bird check ups. Some people believe in having your apparently healthy parrot checked out once a year by a qualified avian vet, while others claim that taking a health bird into a vet office exposes them to "germies" they might not otherwise be exposed to.
Is Nail Trimming Time A Battle?
Does the idea of trimming your dog's nails send chills up your spine? After all, Giving poochie a bath - no problem. You might even be ok sticking a tooth brush in Lassie's mouth.
Dog Worms -- Dont Let Them Get Started
There may be no warning before dog worms strike.It was about two AM, when beneath our bed the new puppy we'd brought home from the pound just a month earlier began screaming.
Why Does My Cat Drink Dirty Water?
You know that cats should always have a supply of water, especially if you are feeding them dried food. There on your nice clean kitchen floor is a bowl of nice clean fresh water, in a nice clean bowl.
Tired of Vet Bills?
Do you make a lot of trips to the vet's office? Do you spend your hard-earned money on vet bills because your dog suffers from chronic ailments? Give your dog or cat the nutrition he needs, and chances are you can spend your money on other things rather than giving it to your veterinarian.Nutritional deficiencies are often the cause of chronic ailments in pets.
House Rabbits are Fun and Cute Pets
House rabbits are a perfect pet for many people, regardless of whether they live on a farm or in an apartment. House rabbits are small, easy to take care of, and don't require any expensive supplies like some other pets do.
Dog Travel - Taking a Vacation with Your Dog
Like most dog owners, you probably take your dog with you on weekend excursions and trips to the country. When it comes time to take a longer vacation, however, we always face the dilemma of what to do with Fido.
The Secret That Keeps Horses Trainable!
As you likely know already, horses have at least 10 times our strength. If they also had our intelligence, they would probably be riding us humans.
Housebreaking Your Dog-Potty Training Canine Style
Puppies are a bundle of newfound joy. You've prepared thehouse, and even bought him a new rubber chew toy.
Winterizing Your Dog
It's beginning to get cooler and as such it is also time to plan for all your outside animals' safety. As with all mammals, the winter months pose a particular disadvantage -most especially to those outside pets many of us have.
Choosing Dog Tags for Your Canine
Remember when you first met your dog? He was fresh and new, and you were just getting to know each other. You went through training together, perhaps even ate together.
Here's How To Find The Right Pet Meds For Your Favorite Pet
Our pets depend on us for their every need, including their pet meds. The more you know about pet meds, the more you'll be able to recognize the signs when something is wrong with your pet, and know the best way to respond.
Holistic Pet Care?From a Distinctly Christian Perspective
As a business, I've not been in the holistic pet care industry long. As a pet owner and pet care worker, it has been a very long journey.
Breeding Your Goldfish
If you are keen on breeding Goldfish, you should know that it's not an easy task. It will take a lot of patience, a lot of space in the tank and quite a bit of money too.
Dogs Get More Human Every Day
First pet stores began selling clothes for pets. Then kennels upgraded from a wire cage to four-star hotels for man's best friend.
Horse Training Equipment: The 6th of 6 Keys To Developing A Partnership With Your Horse
The 6 Keys To Building A Life Long PartnershipWith Your HorseToday I would like to talk with you about theequipment you will need and a little about thesetools.Have you ever found your self in a situation where your not able to get your horse to do what it is you're asking of him or able to correct a problem your having with your horse? If you have then you may have found your self in the unfortunate situation of having to use severe aids (torture devices).
Picking Up A Horses Hoof
The idea of picking up a horse's hooves can intimidate some owners since a well-placed horse kick would really hurt! Such caution is good, but in reality if you pick up a horse's hoof properly you provide him with no leverage or ability to kick you. This is a situation where a person's worst fears can cause him to imagine an incident that is highly unlikely to occur with careful handling.
Are Your Fish Sick?
Keeping a fish tank is a wonderful and relaxing hobby, but it can turn stressful if your fish start to die off. The most common cause of fish disease is poor water quality so it is vital that you perform regular maintenance on the tank, making sure you do a partial water change periodically and clean out any waste or uneaten food so it does not decay and poison the water.



PetManiacs.com's Free! Pet Classified Ads
Click here to Post your ads | View by Location | View by Subject
Click here to Post your ads | View by Location | View by Subject


Pet Website Owners Wanted





Pet Maniacs home | site map | Pet Article List
© 2013