Potty Training Your Cat

House-training your new cat is very important – you don’t want messes all over your house. You should start training while your cat is still a kitten.

Monitoring your kitten

Instead of allowing your new kitten free run of your house, you should start up by containing him to the room you spend most of your time in. This way you can keep an eye on him.

Signs that a kitten need to use the litter box can include:

  • Scratching at the floor,
  • Sitting in a corner,
  • Going behind the couch or into a quiet area,
  • Hurried departure from a game.

If you see signs that he needs to use the litter, gently pick him up and carry him to the litterbox. Be careful not to scare him.

Start a routine

Potty training begins with a routine. Wait a few minutes after your kitten eats or wakes up from a sleep, and then take him to the litter box. A cat’s instinct is to bury his waste by digging. If your cat doesn’t dig in the litter box, give him a few minutes to sniff around and decide what to do.

Very gently, take your kitten’s front paw and simulate a digging movement. This should give your kitten the right idea. After your kitten uses the litter box, give him lots of praise. If he doesn’t use it, do not try negative reinforcement like rubbing his nose in it. This is not effective.

Accidents happen

Don’t forget that your kitten is like a baby. You can expect quite a few accidents before your potty training is complete.

Don’t punish your kitten by rubbing his nose in it, raising your voice, or hitting him. This is not effective, and can make him afraid of you.

If your kitten continues to have accidents, try transferring some of the mess into the litter box. Cats can smell urine, and this can encourage them to return to that location next time he has to eliminate waste.

If you catch your kitten in the act, gently pick him and up move him quickly to the litter box. Use an unhappy tone of voice to make sounds like “uh oh” and “no”. Once he is on the litter box, use a gentle voice to praise him.

Cleaning your litter box

Cats are pretty hygienic, and they don’t like using a dirty litter box. You should scoop out the messes frequently, and change the litter daily. You should hose out the entire box every week.

If your cat has an accident and urinates somewhere he should, you need to clean it thoroughly. Cats are drawn to come back and urinate in the same location they’ve done it before.