How to Litter Train An Older Cat

September 19, 2022 7 min read

litter training older cat

While most older cats will instinctively look for a sandy, granular area to defecate, kittens may require some assistance developing good litter box habits. 

When litter training cats, there are a few things you can do to help your cat succeed.

Here is some cat litter box training advice, including what supplies you’ll need for training, how and where to set up the cat litter sand boxes, and how to help your cat get the hang of using the cat litter tray.

Let’s jump in.

Supplies You’ll Need For Cat Potty Training

  • Cat litter boxes:If this is your first cat, you should start with two cat litter trays because it's always good to have one extra cat litter box than the number of cats who will be utilizing them. Put them in places that are easily accessible and private. Your cat might not feel comfortable using them if they're kept in an open space.
  • Cat litter:There are numerous options available, ranging from low-cost non-clumping clay litter to luxurious, environmentally friendly options manufactured from materials like pine pellets, recycled newspaper, and even wheat. Some cats are highly fussy and won't use litter sand if they don't like the texture or smell, even though most cats aren't very finicky about the kind of cat litter sand you use. A typical, unscented clumping litter is the cat litter best for odour; once your cat is completely trained, you can explore if you'd want to use something else.
  • Toys and treats:Reward your cat with a treat or some dry cat food when you notice that she's using her cat litter box. Toys can also be used to associate using the cat litter box furniture with good things. However, you will eventually need to wean off of anticipating a treat related to food each time they use the litter box.

How to Litter Train Your Older Cat 

How to Litter Train An Older Cat

Follow these easy steps for cat toilet training:

Choose the right size of litter box 

If your cat is older or you have other older cats living in the house, they will need full-size cat litter box furniture.

If your cat is small, it will need a small-sized kitten toilet training box. The kitten potty training box must expand as your kitty does. The size of your cat's litter box should be roughly 1.5 times that animal's length. As your kitty gets bigger, you'll need to size up.

Get the right type of litter

To be sure you purchase the kind of litter your cat enjoys, try out a few different types. According to research, a large number of cats prefer fine-grain litters because they feel softer. Even when it comes to clumping and non-clumping litters, cats have their own preferences. Although cat owners normally go for clumping litters because of the ease of scooping. 

Other types of litter like wheat or corn are also good options. However, some cats won't use a cat litter tray that smells like food. Thus, clay litter is the most preferred choice in this case. 

Also read: How to Cut Down Cat Odor in the House

Find the right place to put litter boxes

The location and accessibility of the cat litter box might play a significant role in motivating your cat to use it. 

  • Don’t hide it away: When the cat litter box is hidden or is grouped together in one corner, they function as one large box, which can be problematic if your cats don't like a cat litter box enclosed or sharing it with other cats. On the other hand, as we don't want them to be seen by our guests, it can be tempting to place cat litter boxes hidden in the corners of the house, but this should be avoided. Keep in mind that cats dislike feeling confined or caged when doing potty. If your cat litter box is enclosed in one corner where there is no ambient light, your cat might get anxious. Moreover, try using a nightlight, as they will also require some type of light to spot their litter boxes.
  • Place litter boxes on each floor of your house:The boxes should be spread out, with at least one on every floor of your home if you’ve a big duplex apartment or more than 1 storey bungalow. Cats don’t want to go any farther than we do to reach the toilet. Especially, if you’re training a kitten it’s important to remember that it will eventually become an adult cat, so putting a litter box up on a shelf or down many flights of stairs will make it much harder to get to when they grow old and suffer from arthritis. 
  • Place it around minimal distractions:Place the cat litter box for your cat in a place with minimal distractions so they can focus on their business. You might need to take away the possibility of having other "interesting" areas for kittens to urinate if they have problems focusing. Until they are proficient at using the cat litter tray, try keeping your cat in a small room or space with no toys or distractions and only a bed, to keep it focused.
  • Introduce the litter box to your cat 
How to Litter Train An Older Cat

Here's how you can assist your kitten with potty training after choosing your supplies and setting up the litter box places. 

Step 1:  Point out where each litter box is placed and let your cat sniff it. 

Step 2:  Gently put your cat inside the box. They might begin using the litter box or pawing at the litter. If not, simulate pawing by sifting your fingers through the tidy litter. 

Step 3:  During the kitten potty training if it didn't use a box after the initial introduction, try putting them in one every time they drink or eat until they start using the box on their own.

Create positive litter box habits 

Give your cat their favourite treat when they correctly use the cat litter box to foster a positive relationship with the behaviour. In order for this to be effective, you should give them their favourite treat right after they jump out of the box, helping them to link the action with the reward. If your cat misbehaves, don't get angry or punish them. Do not react negatively. Calmly clean up the mess.

Make sure the litter box is clean

After each poop, try to scoop the litter box for your kitty. Of course, during the kitten toilet training phase, you don't want your cat to start disliking the litter box. Always add fresh litter to the box after you scoop out the dirty litter from the box. This will keep the depth of the litter between 2 and 3 inches and your cat will have plenty of room to dig. 

When you have an older cat or cats who routinely use the litter box, you can scoop the litter once or twice a day. But if you’ve a kitten who uses the box every now and then, you may have to clean it every time they use it. 

How to Litter Train An Older Cat

Having said that, it is suggested to periodically deep clean the cat litter boxes. All the litter should be removed, boxes should be washed with water, and new fresh litter should be added. The majority of non-scoop litters will have their own instructions for how frequently they should be cleaned on the label. There are also many options in cat litter best for odour. 

Good To Know: 'My cat still won’t use the litter box'

If your cat is being inconsistent or not using the litter box at all even after cat toilet training, there may be an underlying problem. Take into consideration if there have been any significant changes in the environment or speak to your veterinarian if you notice that your cat is no longer using the litter box due to stress or anxiety. If your cat's medical condition is good, then consult a veterinarian behaviourist or feline behaviour consultant to train your cat.

Where To Choose From

Meowy studio is a well-known brand for cat litter boxes online. The loo litter box category on the brand's website brings to you a wide variety of cat litter boxes with covers. From litter boxes for kittens to medium-sized cats, and medium to big size cats, these boxes are sustainably made from 100% recyclable plastic and come with a scoop and scoop holder. For small to medium-sized cats, Loo litter box in carbon grey is the most preferred choice. And for medium to big size cats, Loo XL litter box in carbon grey is the best option. Both the litter boxes are available in blush pink and aspen white colour. Plus, these cat litter boxes are covered. And the cat litter box cover is great when it comes to privacy for cats while doing their business.

Another online brand known for cat litter boxes is Way basics. The cat litter box section on the brand’s website offers different types of litter boxes. The Cat litter box one-door enclosure and Katville cat litter box enclosure are the most popular ones. These litter boxes are available in different colours including white, charcoal black, royal walnut, aspen grey, Longon grey, green, espresso, and many more. All the litter boxes are non-toxic, eco-friendly, sustainable, and aesthetically pleasing. Both one-door and two-door boxes are easy to open and fit a regular-sized cat scratch pad. Additionally, these boxes come with in-built cat litter box covers. 

So, without further delay, get your cat a perfect litter box for good litter habits. 

To wrap up 

How to Litter Train An Older Cat

Now that you're armed with all the information you need to litter train your new cat, you're well on your way to a contented, harmonious relationship with the newest member of your family.

For your next read: Everything There is to Know About Cats and Babies

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