Cats are naturally clean creatures and in general are very easy to litter train. Most kittens are reasonably well litter-box-trained at five to six weeks. Here are a few hints and suggestions to keep kitty on the right path.

Place the litter box in a clean, relatively quiet and accessible location :

Keep it away from high-traffic areas and be sure your cat has access to it any time she needs it. Be sure to keep the litter box out of reach of children as well as other animals in the household. Many dogs consider cat poo a delicacy.

Show kitty where it is:

Place her in the box and let her sniff. Some people have found it useful to rake their fingers through the litter to show their cat what they want her to do.

Clean any accidents immediately:

If kitty does have an accident, clean the area right away with either Urine Off! or Nature's Miracle. This is an enzyme cleaner that eats up the offending stain rather than covering it. Remember kitty's sense of smell is much superior to yours, and you may think soap and water have cleared it up, but kitty can still smell it. If cats smell where they, or another cat have gone before, they may continue using the same spot. This will help to eliminate the odour and hopefully prevent repeat incidents.

Never punish your cat for having an accident:

Do not strike her or rub her nose in the mess; this will only create anxiety and compound the problem. Say "NO" then place her in her litter box and praise her there. Be sure kitty knows what the litter box is for. Many kittens assume it is a new toy full of stuff to bat around. Soak up any urine with tissue and place it in the box. Pop the poop in, too.

If you have more than one cat:

get a separate litter box for each. Cats generally don't like to eliminate in the same place as other cats.

Keep the litter box clean:

Scoop out soiled litter daily, and be sure the box is fresh by changing it regularly. You can wash out the box with a solution of water and vinegar to help reduce the odour. An inch and a half of fresh litter is usually plenty. However, the best way to keep odour down is to feed your cat raw food.

Don't place the litter box near the food and water:

Cats don't like to eliminate where they eat. How often do you eat in the bathroom?

There seems to be a problem - kitty isn't using the box!

Vet check:

First, have your cat checked at the vet to rule out a urinary tract problem, possibly an infection or crystals.

Changes in the home environment:

New family member? changed houses? are you upset about something? Cats are very sensitive and may react to disturbing changes (at least disturbing to them) by inappropriate elimination. Sometimes consulting an animal behaviourist is worthwhile. We highly recommend Lynne Henderson.

Litter box size:

Be sure that your cat can turn around in it. If it has a lid, take it off. If it doesn't have a lid, try one. Be sure it's clean, clean, clean.

Are you using the same litter?

If you have changed the litter brand, go back to the original. Many cats find scented litters offensive. Or try a different type of litter. We really like the Pine Pellets. Your cat may prefer that you fluff them first by dampening them.

Go small:

Confine the kitten/cat in a small area with its litter box....the bathroom or a large kennel is good. When they are using the box, go larger, a bit at a time.

Move the box to a more hidden spot:

After all, how often do you want an audience? However, if it's a kitten, be sure it can find the box! Sometimes in a big house a small kitten can get lost or over excited and not be able to find the box in time. Just like kids, when you gotta go, you gotta go.

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