Using a litter box

Kittens and cats come hard-wired to eliminate in a particular spot and then hide the evidence by covering it up. You can take steps to ensure their ‘special spot’ is always their litter box instead of your carpet.

  • Provide a box that’s large enough for the cat to turn around and dig, but not so large that he can’t easily climb into it. A good rule of paw is that a box should be one and a half times longer than the cat’s body.
  • Place the box in a private location that gives your cat an escape route if he’s interrupted by another cat or a dog. Place it away from his food and water dishes. Cats don’t like to eliminate in the same area where they eat.
  • When you bring your kitten or cat home, confine him to a single room with the litter box until he’s had time to adjust to his new surroundings. This can take a week or two. Gradually let him explore the rest of his new home.
  • Show him the litter box and encourage him to explore it by making digging motions with your hand. He’ll be attracted by the movement and the sound of the litter.
  • Praise him every time you see him using the box, but be sure to give him his privacy as well. You don’t want him to feel as if he’s being stalked.
  • Keep the box scrupulously clean, otherwise your cat will start looking for a new spot. Scoop it every time you see it’s been used, and change the litter and clean the box with a mild, unscented dishwashing soap weekly.