Litter Training Your Cat

If your cat is an outdoor kitty then chances are she will probably do her business outside at least some of the time. However, you still need to provide your cat with an indoor bathroom so that she can empty her bladder and bowels in privacy too. Litter training your cat may sound complicated, but their natural desire to be clean means that most felines adopt using the box fairly quickly – enabling your home to remain clean and harmonious for everyone living there!

Establishing your cat’s litter box

One of the first thing that you need to organize is setting up your litter box/tray. You should have at least one tray, and if you have multiple cats, at least one per feline, plus a spare. Cats tend to prefer litter boxes to be located away from where they eat and drink, and private but not completely remote so that she feels isolated. It may mean moving her litterbox a few times until she finds somewhere that she is completely comfortable, but utility rooms, studies, bathrooms and quiet hallways are often good locations.


If you opt for an enclosed litter box, make sure you choose one that has enough space for your cat to turn around inside. However, some felines don’t like enclosed spaces and would prefer an open litter box. If your cat doesn’t take to hers after a week, you may need to consider an alternative style.


Once you have chosen your litter box, you need to fill it with litter. There are dozens of brands available and it can be tempting to go for scented varieties in an attempt to mask an odors. However, these types of litter can actually put your cat off of using the box altogether since they smell artificial. Instead, opt for a litter that closely resembles the environment your kitty would do her business in outside – something with a soft, sand-like texture that she can easily bury her waste in.

Recognizing your cat’s bathroom schedule

It may surprise you to learn that cats can be fairly predictable when it comes to their bathroom habits. There are actually several points during the day when your furry feline is more likely to want to relieve herself. These are:


-         After eating

-         After a nap

-         After exercise, such as running around playing with you


By identifying these times and placing your cat into the litter box at the appropriate part of the day, you may be able to expedite the entire training process. However, if your feline is particularly stubborn, you may do everything right and she still refuses to ‘go’ until she feels comfortable. If your cat immediately walks out of the litter box each time you place her in it, you may need to wait until she is actually doing her business before placing her inside it. If she manages to go inside it, show her how to bury her waste and then reward her with extra affection or a treat.

What should I do if she does her business outside of the litter box?

Obviously if she urinates outside of the litter box, there is little that you can do other than clear it up. However, when you do you should ensure that no scent remains as this could trigger her to go in the same place again.


If your cat defecates outside the litter box, you should scoop it up and place it inside the box. This will help her understand where her number twos should go, and the scent will encourage her to associate the box with pooping in the future.

Clean the litter boxes regularly

We know that cats like to be clean. They also like the places that they visit to be clean, and particularly where they are supposed to do their business. If the litter boxes you provide smell strongly, or seem unclean, your feline will not want to use them, and this increases the likelihood of accidents around the house. Scoop out any feces each day and do a deep clean of the whole box at least once a week. When you clean it, remember that your cat’s sense of smell is much superior to our own, so opt for scent-free products rather than bleach or perfumed solutions as these will discourage your cat from using the box again.


If you would like more advice on getting your cat to use her litter box successfully, we would be happy to help. Please contact our clinic to speak to our knowledgeable and experienced veterinary team, or pop into our offices to see us.