Owner-Friendly Tips for Setting Up, Cleaning, and Introducing Your Cat’s Litter Box

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Learn how to set up your cat's litter box for success!

Bringing home a new kitten is a memorable and exciting occasion in the life of any cat lover. But unless you want your joy to turn to aggravation, you’ll need to get your adorable ball of fluff litter-trained sooner rather than later. This article will help your cat get started on using a litter box and give you some great ideas on dealing with some of the more unpleasant aspects keeping your cat’s litter box clean.

When Should You Start Litter-Training a Kitten?

Ideally, you should introduce your kitten to a litter box on the day you bring them home. The good news is getting a cat to use a litter box typically isn’t difficult. Cats are tidy animals and they possess a strong instinct to bury their waste. 1 If you have trouble getting your kitten to use its litter box, talk to your veterinarian to ensure your cat is in good pet health.

How to Train Your Kitten to Use a Litter Box

A litter box should be placed in a quiet area of your home. Clumping litter is the preferred type of litter to use as it tends to make cleanup easier. You may need to experiment with different types of litter to find one your feline likes and will use. When training a kitten, leave a small amount of urine and feces in the litter box so that the kitten can smell it and associate the box with going to the bathroom. Once the kitten is trained you can fully clean the litter box as necessary.

To ensure proper cat health care and limit accidents, it’s a good idea to put your kitten in the litter box after it has been sleeping, eating, or playing. If you notice your kitten scratching the floor or displaying other signs that it may need to relieve himself, place him in the litter box immediately. In the beginning, you may want to confine your kitty to one room until they get used to using the litter box before giving them free reign of the house.

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Eventually, you’ll want to put a litter box on each level of your home. This will ensure that your kitten can get to a litter box in a timely manner. It is also recommended that you have one litter box per cat to ensure that a box is always available.

5 Tips for Dealing with Litter Box Smells

Of course, litter box training a new cat is only half of the job. Maintaining the litterbox to reduce smells and keep your home clean and comfortable for its two-legged inhabitants as well your furry feline is another challenge. Below are some useful tips on concealing both the smell and the appearance of an indoor litter box.

Effective ways to control litter box odor:

1. Clean your litter box every day. It can be time consuming but cleaning your cat’s litter box regularly is a sure way to prevent odors and keep waste from building up. It also enables you to keep an eye on your pet’s health. Often times, irregular bathroom habits can be the first sign of illness. At least once weekly empty all the litter, clean the litter box itself, and refill with fresh litter.

2. Put baking soda on the bottom of your litter box. Then add kitty litter, another layer of baking soda, and then more litter. Combining a quality cat litter and baking soda forms a powerful odor-destroying team.

3. Use an odor eliminating air freshener in between each usage. There are many air fresheners on the market that trap airborne particles containing odors and reduce them on contact.

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4. Cover your litter box with a lid. A covered litter box traps many of the odors that escape with open-air models. You might also consider buying a litter box that includes a lid with a built-in air filter.

5. Place your litter box in the bathroom or a laundry room, away from things like carpet or furniture that can absorb the smells. Carpet, furniture, pillows and curtains can all absorb cat odors. Be careful if you hang clothes in your laundry room, because they might end up absorbing cat odors!

Ideas for Hiding Your Cat’s Litter Box

Once odors are under control, the other thing cat owners might worry about is the unsightliness of the litter box itself. Luckily, we have you covered. Check out 8 Design Tips to Hide Your Cat’s Litter Box for some clever inspiration.

Training a Cat to Use the Toilet

So what about training your cat to use the toilet? You had to know that was coming! But it is feasible to toilet train your kitty, among many other things. All you need is time, lots of patience and a toilet that can be off-limits to humans during the training period.

There are some serious considerations, however, and potentially negative aspects to training your cat to use a toilet. Pets Best in-house veterinary expert, Chris Roth, DVM, doesn’t recommend training cats to use a toilet bowl in favor of a traditional cat box. For one, balancing on a toilet seat can be difficult or stressful, especially for young or older cats with bone or joint issues. Second, while disposing of your cat’s waste isn’t always pleasant, it can provide a valuable insight into your cat’s health. The consistency, content, and frequency of your cat’s waste could signal a greater health concern. If it’s being flushed, it could lead you to miss a health warning sign.

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For most people, litter boxes are a reality of having cats. But by utilizing some of these tips, or using them as a springboard for your own ideas, you’ll find an arrangement that works for both you and your four-legged family members.


1 Cats and Litter Box Behavior, Retrieved on January 27, 2020, from http://www.animalplanet.com/

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