A cat can learn to defecate in the litter box from an early age, but although cats are known to be clean and hygienic animals, they sometimes struggle with hygiene and then need to be taught how to be clean , especially if they are still very young. So how do you clean a cat? I tell you everything in this article.
How to make a cat clean: But why is it dirty?
Cats immediately learn to use their litter box to relieve themselves as a general rule. After weaning, kittens usually do everything on their own by mimicking the behavior of the mother cat.
But if they have trouble doing their business there, there are several causes that cause the cat to be unclean:
- He was weaned too early : He therefore did not have his mother enough to teach him to be clean. The right behaviors will therefore have to be taught to him and you will sometimes have to call on a behaviorist because some have very problematic behaviors.
- He has not been sterilized / neutered : He is therefore more territorial and urinates everywhere to mark his territory and keep other potential males away. Sterilization or castration of your cat according to its sex is preferable, in addition to extending its life expectancy by making it take less risk.
- There is a problem with the litter box : Too close to his food, in a place that is too noisy, too dirty. Cats need to feel totally safe when they do their business, it’s linked to their natural instinct that they retain even in the domestic state.
Whatever the cause, here’s how to potty train your cat.
But how do you get your cat used to the litter box?
In order for the kittens to get used to the litter box immediately, it is important that it be placed in a quiet place in the house and, above all, never near food. Everything must be clean in terms of food and without bad odors.
The litter box must also always be clean so that he wants to do his business there. With good quality pellets, a quantity that allows him to cover everything and above all a daily cleaning of excrement from the litter.
When the cat is still a kitten, it is advisable to bring it closer to its litter box, which must be easy to access. You can attract him to his litter box with an anti-stress spray whose smell will attract him.
It is important to consider the size of the kitten, so that you can choose litter boxes that are suitable for them in size and height. For example, Maine Coons will not like small litter boxes and older cats will not like rimmed litter boxes because of their joints.
The first times it is good to approach the litter box with him and search the litter box with a finger, imitating the behavior of cats to cover the needs. When he defecates in it, reward him so that he associates using the litter box with something enjoyable.
What if the kitten does not use the litter box?
If the kitten does not approach the litter box, you can calmly try to put it inside until it learns to enter it on its own.
If he does not learn right away, these attempts must be made patiently every day until he does it on his own.
When the first few times it defecates in its litter box, the kitten should be rewarded with treats, this will associate going to the litter box with a reward.
Over time and as the cat grows, you can use any litter box, not necessarily low-sided, provided you pay attention to its place, which must be quiet and away from its food.
For the most reluctant kittens, you can try stimulating them to pee in the right place. My advice for doing this is to put the kitten at least twice a day in its litter box and wet its private parts with a damp cotton swab. This will associate in his mind the location of the litter box with urinating.
What to do if the cat relieves itself outside its litter box?
If he is not used to doing his business in the place reserved for him, you must accustom the cat to the litter box with a lot of patience and calm, by following the following advice:
First of all, the main thing to always keep in mind when trying to potty train a cat is never to scold it, but rather to reward its correct actions.
The method of putting his nose in his pee is not recommended at all because it will encourage him to repeat the gesture even more.
The cat is a very different pet from the dog, we must never forget that.
If the cat soils the outside of the litter box, care must be taken to clean the area well because if its smell persists it will reinforce its instinct to repeat the action, in particular the urine which allows it to mark its territory.
You can also use water and vinegar which remove odors well, but better avoid ammonia and bleach which are reminiscent of the smell of cat pee.
However, to make him understand that it is a bad action, you can put him in a room for several minutes before opening the door to him, to make him understand without traumatizing him.
Why can a cat become dirty overnight?
It is important to try to understand the reasons why the cat needs to relieve itself outside the litter box if it happens overnight when everything was going well so far.
Sometimes it can happen because the sand is dirty, or because we changed the type of sand, maybe it is fragrant or has a texture they don’t like. Some smells, such as citrus fruits, are repellent to cats.
It can happen that out of the blue the cat goes to the toilet and is no longer in the right place simply because it has unpleasant memories associated with this area. In this case it is necessary to try to move the litter towards another place being more reassuring to him.
In general, the cat does not like to get dirty. If he does, it’s because he wants to communicate his discomfort. It is therefore vital to look for the potential causes of the problem, such as a change, which can stress the cat.
If the behavior persists, be sure to consult your veterinarian, there may be health issues that should not be underestimated .
If he poops in the same place
If the cat pees on the bed, especially if it is a kitten, or in any case always dirty in the same place other than the litter box, you can cover the area where he peed with something that he dislikes, like repellent pheromones . Rest assured, the smells in question are not disgusting to us, and they will often not be felt, the cat’s sense of smell being much more developed.
Another tip is to always leave some dirty litter in the kitten’s litter box before changing it completely.
In a short time, he will learn to recognize his smell and always associate it with this place.
Teaching the cat to use the toilet
There are those who want their cat to learn to use the toilet at home instead of its litter box to avoid the bad smell of sand, the expense of the litter box and its daily cleaning.
You can try using a kit on sale that gradually accustoms the cat to using the toilet.
The kit consists of a disk that must be affixed to the toilet and the first times must be filled with litter.
Then gradually the rings that make up this disk must be gradually eliminated until the outermost edge corresponds to that of the toilet.
The cat the first few times will still feel the instinct to cover up its smells but over time it will learn not to have to cover them up as the water will wash away all kinds of smells.
Is it good for the cat to go to the toilet at home?
There are conflicting opinions about training cats to use the toilet at home because it’s not in their nature.
In general it would be best to allow the cat to groom in the toilet only if it learns to do so itself, which may happen through emulation of its master.
It is sometimes very practical for apartment cats, for those who have access to the outside then you can let him go out to do his business.
How to make a cat clean? The final word
Potty training a cat relies on two things: Understanding the cause and encouraging your cat to do its business by playing on reward and comfort. Never use punishments.