Cat Litter Tips and Tricks!
It seems like a simple thing to choose a cat litter, but all cats are different, and they have preferences about the type of litter they use. If you choose a litter that the cat doesn’t like, the cat won’t use the litter box.
Tommy is a very picky cat when it comes to litter. I tried several different options before I found something that both Tommy and I could agree on.
When trying to litter train a cat, there are several factors to consider. Through a process of trial and error, and a lot of paper towels and patience, you and your cat can come to the same peaceful coexistence that Tommy and I have.
There are a few things to try if you are having a hard time litter training your cat. First, are there other cats in the home? Cats sometimes will not share litter boxes. A dominant cat will chase away a younger, less assertive cat if they share a litter box. Second, cats are naturally clean animals. If your litter box smells offensive to the cat, he won’t use it. Be sure the litter you use has a smell your cat likes, and be sure to keep it clean. If you have a problem with multiple cats, use multiple litter boxes with a litter that each cat will use.
So what are your litter options? Generally, you can choose from an all natural clay litter, (which is Tommy’s preference), a woodchip-based litter, a corn kernel-based litter, or a silicone-based litter. Your cheapest option will be the clay-based litters. Next is the woodchip-based litter. Third is the silicone-based litter. The most expensive is the silicone-based litter. You will have to decide what is best for you and your cat. You will also have to compare odor-absorbing power, clumping ability, and ease of clean up. Your budget and the amount of time you can spend in cleaning the litter box will be important factors in your cat learning to use the litter box reliably.
Depending on the age of your cat, you may have to be selective about the litter you choose. Some are safe for kittens. Others are not, so do your homework.
If you are having a hard time getting the cat to use the litter box, and you’ve tried every conceivable kind of litter, consider some other obstacles to your cat’s use of the litter box.
Cats are private. As strange as it may sound to you, your cat wants privacy when it uses the litter box. If your cat’s litter box is in a public place in the house, he may use closets or bathtubs. They provide the privacy he is looking for. Try moving your litter box to a less-populated part of the house, like a bathroom or unused bedroom or hallway.
While we are discussing privacy, some cats prefer a covered litter box. Tommy was a fan of the covered litter box until we had other cats in the house who would not use the covered litter box. I uncovered the box for the other cats (who were all ok with sharing the litter box). When they moved out, I replaced the cover because Tommy had the litter box all to himself again. Now he won’t use it when it is covered. Your cat may change preferences according to the influence of other cats, so trial and error are your friends.
Another thing to consider is that cats like a soft place to nestle themselves. If you leave a load of laundry in a basket on the floor, don’t be surprised if your laundry becomes a litter box for your cat. Keep loads of laundry (especially the clean ones) up off the floor, so they are not a temptation for your cat.
One of the methods I employed in training Tommy was a crate. I would confine him to the crate when I was not able to have direct interaction with him. He had food, water, bedding, and litter in his crate. When I was ready to pay attention to him all the time, I would take him from the crate and we would play. When I had things to do, or when I had to leave the house, I would return Tommy to his crate. As he got a little older and more reliable, I was able to leave him out of the crate a little longer and with less and less supervision. When that time came, I placed a full size litter box next to his crate. He began to associate the litter box inside his crate with the one outside, and before I knew it, he quit using the box in his crate, and began to use the one outside his crate. Finally, we got to the point where he could be trusted to use only the litter box. His crate is a haven where he can go whenever he wants to, and he uses the litter box instead of my laundry basket!
Litter box training your cat can be tricky. Let’s face it, cats have a mind of their own! But with a little trial and error, you can find the right litter for your cat, the right location for his litter box, and the right relationship with the precious cat you brought home.
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