How To Get Cat Use Litter?

Disclaimer: The information presented below is for general informational & educational purposes only. Always consult with animal professionals in case of specific concerns.

In this guide, we will explore various techniques for helping cats adjust to using their litter such as proper litter box placement, attracting them to the box with treats and toys, cleaning accidents thoroughly and more.

A cat’s proper use of their litter box is one of the most common sources of frustration for cat owners. While a litter-box breakdown may seem like a mystery, there are usually identifiable reasons why your cat is having issues—and solutions you can try. As pet parents, we want our furry friends to be happy and healthy. Establishing good litter habits takes patience and consistency on our part. In this post, I’ll explore some of the most common reasons cats reject their litter box and practical tips you can apply right away to get a cat using their litter again like they should. By addressing what may be driving undesirable behavior and making small adjustments to their litter routine, you can help resolve potty problems and have one less thing to stress about in your home.

How To Get Cats Use Litter?

  • Choose the Right Litter Box: Finding a litter box that your cat feels comfortable in is the first step. It should be large enough for your cat to move around in and easy to access.
  • Select Appropriate Litter: Some cats prefer certain types of litter over others. Experiment with different materials (clumping, non-clumping, silica gel, dissolvable cat litter, etc.) to see which your cat prefers.
  • Location is Key: Place the litter box in a quiet, low-traffic area where your cat will feel safe and secure while using it. Avoid placing it near their food and water dishes.
  • Keep it Clean: Cats are clean animals and may refuse to use a dirty litter box. Make sure to clean up cat litter at least once a day and replace it regularly.
  • Positive Reinforcement: Use cat treats, praise, or petting to reward your cat when they correctly use the litter box. This will reinforce the behavior and encourage them to continue using the litter box.

Remember, it may take time and patience to get your cat to consistently use the litter box. Every cat is different and what works for one might not work for another.

Why Is It Important For Cats To Use Litter?

Hygiene: Having a designated place for your cat to eliminate helps maintain cleanliness in your home. Cat litter is designed to absorb urine and cover the smell of feces, reducing odor and keeping your home clean.

Health Monitoring: Changes in a cat’s elimination habits or the appearance of their waste can be indications of health problems. A litter box allows you to monitor these changes closely.

Safety: Cats that are allowed to roam outdoors are exposed to dangers such as traffic, predators, and disease. Training your cat to use a litter box can encourage indoor living, reducing these risks.

Behavioral Issues: Using a litter box can help prevent unwanted behaviors like marking territory. If a cat isn’t using its litter box, it might indicate larger behavioral or medical issues that need to be addressed.

Convenience: Training a cat to use a litter box is much more convenient for pet owners, especially those living in apartments or houses without safe outdoor access. It eliminates the need for daily walks that dogs require.

How Do I Choose The Right Litter For My Cat?

Bentonite Cat Litter at Rs 40/kg | Pet Litter in Coimbatore | ID:  25593902933

Choosing the right litter for your cat involves considering factors such as your cat’s preferences, health concerns, and your own preferences. Here are some tips to help you choose the right litter:

Cat’s Preference: Every cat is different and may have their own preference when it comes to litter. Some cats like fine-grained litters, while others may prefer larger, chunky litter. Try different types and see what your cat prefers.

Odor Control: Consider choosing a litter that controls odors well. Some litters have added baking soda or other odor neutralizers. However, be aware that some cats may be put off by the strong scents of certain odor-controlling litters.

Dust Free: Look for dust-free litters, especially if your cat has respiratory issues or if there are people with allergies in the house. Dust from litter can make cat sneezes and other respiratory problems in both cats and humans.

Clumping vs Non-Clumping: Decide whether a clumping or non-clumping litter is the best fit for your home. Clumping litters are usually easier to clean because they solidify the waste, but they are typically more expensive. Non-clumping litters are cheaper and can be less likely to track around the house, but need to be replaced more often.

Environmentally Friendly: If sustainability is a concern, look for biodegradable litter options, such as those made from recycled paper, wood, corn, or wheat. Not only are these options more environmentally friendly, but they can also be safer for cats if ingested.

Can I Train An Adult Cat To Use Litter?

Yes, it’s possible to train an adult cat to use litter. Here are some steps you can follow:

  • Start with a Clean Litter Box: Make sure the litter box is clean and free of any old waste. Cats are more likely to use it if it’s clean.
  • Choose Litter Wisely: Use the same type of litter that the cat used in the past, or experiment with different types to find what it prefers.
  • Create a Safe Space: Place the litter box in a quiet, low-traffic area where the cat won’t be startled or bothered while using it.
  • Be Patient: Training an adult cat to use a litter box can take time, so patience is key. Don’t force the cat into the box, but encourage it gently.
  • Use Positive Reinforcement: When your cat uses the litter box correctly, reward it with a treat or praise.

What If My Cat Refuses To Use The Litter Box?

Check for Medical Issues: If a cat that was previously consistent in using the litter box suddenly stops, it could indicate a medical problem. Consult a vet immediately.

Assess the Litter Box: Ensure the litter box is appropriately sized, clean, and in an acceptable location. Cats can be particular about these factors.

Review the Litter: Your cat may not like the type of litter you’re using. Experiment with different types to figure out your cat’s preference.

Monitor Stress Levels: Changes in a household, such as moving houses, or the introduction of a new pet or family member, can stress cats, leading to litter box avoidance. Try to minimize stressors and provide a calm environment.

Consider Behavioral Issues: If all else fails, behavioral issues may be at play. Consult a pet behaviorist who can provide personalized strategies based on your cat’s specific circumstances.

What Are Some Common Mistakes When Training A Cat To Use Litter?

Using a Litter Box That’s Too Small: Cats need enough space to turn around, dig, and cover their waste. If the litter box is too small, they may feel cramped and refuse to use it.

Not Cleaning the Litter Box Regularly: Cats are clean animals and may refuse to use a dirty litter box. It’s important to scoop the box daily and change the litter often.

Placing the Litter Box in a High-Traffic Area: Cats prefer privacy when they’re eliminated. If the litter box is in a bustling area, your cat may feel uncomfortable and look for quieter places to do their business.

Not Providing Enough Litter Boxes: The general rule is to have one litter box per cat, plus one additional box. This reduces competition among cats and gives each one a choice of where to eliminate.

Switching Litter Types Suddenly: If you decide to change the type of litter you use, do so gradually. Cats can be picky about changes and may refuse to use the new litter if it’s introduced too abruptly.

Punishing the Cat for Accidents: Punishment can create fear and anxiety, which may lead to further litter box avoidance. Instead, use positive reinforcement when your cat uses the litter box correctly.

Ignoring Potential Medical Problems: If your cat is having persistent issues with using the litter box, it may be due to a medical problem. Always consult with a vet if your cat is frequently having accidents.

How Do I Prevent Litter Tracking Around The House?

Preventing litter from being tracked around the house can be a challenge but with the right strategies, you can minimize the mess. Here are some tips:

Use a Litter Mat: A litter mat placed in front of the litter box will catch most of the litter that sticks to your cat’s paws when it exits.

Invest in a Litter-Tracking Resistant Litter Box: These types of boxes have higher sides or a top entrance, which can help keep the litter contained.

Choose the Right Litter: Some types of litter are less likely to track than others. Experiment with different types to find one that minimizes tracking.

Regular Cleaning: Regularly scoop out clumps from the litter box, this can reduce the chances of litter sticking to your cat’s paws.

Try Litter Box Furniture: Litter box furniture or enclosures can help contain the spread of litter.

Trim Your Cat’s Fur: If your cat has long fur, especially around its paws, it could be carrying litter around the house. Consider a trim to help reduce tracking.

Frequent Vacuuming or Sweeping: Regularly clean the areas around the litter box to pick up any stray granules before they are spread throughout the house. 

How Often Should I Clean The Litter Box?

The frequency of cleaning a litter box depends on several factors including the number of cats in your house, the type of litter, and the specific habits of your cat. However, as a general rule, it’s best to scoop clumps out of the litter box at least once a day. Doing this regularly keeps the litter box fresh and inviting for your cat. Additionally, complete litter replacement and thorough cleaning of the litter box should ideally be done every two to four weeks. This involves emptying all the litter, washing the box with a mild detergent, drying it, and refilling with fresh litter. Always remember, a clean litter box helps prevent odors and encourages proper litter box use by your cat.

Read more: Why Is My Cat Dragging Things Into The Litter Box?


In conclusion, getting your cat to use litter doesn’t have to be a frustrating or challenging endeavor. By understanding their natural instincts and providing the right environment, you can successfully train your feline friend to use a litter box. Remember to choose the right type of litter for your cat’s preferences, keep the litter box clean and easily accessible, and provide positive reinforcement when they use it correctly. With patience, consistency, and lots of love, your cat will soon become a pro at using the litter box. And don’t forget to reward yourself for successfully training your furry companion!