Friday, October 26, 2007

Cat - How to Teach YOUR Cat to Use a Litter Box - Secrets to Litter Tray Success

Even the most dedicated cat lover has little patience with a cat that doesn't use its litter box. Yet, patience is the key to creating litter box success. A positive introduction when young, and simple housekeeping on your part will solve most problems.

Most cats instinctively use the litter box. However if you see your kitten crouching or sniffing in a corner lift her and place her in a litter tray - this is a sign of oncoming urination. If your kitten is not using the litter box you should place her in the box every morning.

It is important for your cat to be able to easily access the litter box. If you have a large home, put litter boxes in more than one place. If your house has many levels, make sure each floor is equipped with a litter box. As in real estate, location is crucial to your cat successfully using the litter box. The best spot offers your cat a certain amount of privacy, but not so out of the way that you forget to clean it. Some people put the litter box in a seldom-used closet. Be sure, however, to use a hard-rubber stop to keep the door, or install a pet door so your cat can go in and out whenever she wants.

If you need to move a litter tray you should move it by only a few feet at a time. If the cat stops using it you have probably moved it too far.

If your cat doesn't use her litter box study the situation carefully for the reason(s) why.

Some cats will avoid a "dirty" litter box. Scoop out feces and wet litter daily. Completely empty and replace the litter at least once a week. Don't be too generous with the litter; most cats prefer a shallow layer of about two inches.

If you have more than one cat, you need more than one litter box. Cats are very particular and won't eliminate in a "used" litter box. The general rule of thumb is to have one litter box per cat.

Location, location, location; sudden noises, or lack of privacy can scare a cat from using a litter box. Try moving it to a different spot.

Never punish your cat for having an accident. She won't make the connection unless you catch her in the act. Even then, punishment only creates fear of you, not a desire to change behavior. Use an enzyme-based cleaner to remove the smell of the accident. This will help prevent future soiling in that spot as the smell of urine will make the cat think its OK to go there.

If you notice that accidents happen in the same place over and over, try putting a litter box there. Perhaps your cat prefers this spot for reasons you'll never understand. If accidents tend to happen when your cat has free run of the house or while you are away, keep her confined to one room until you can watch her. Be sure to provide food, water, and that all-important litter box in whatever room you place her in. If your cat uses the litter box successfully for several years, then begins to have accidents, have your veterinarian examine her for a possible urinary tract or kidney infection.

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Cat - What To Do When Your Indoor Cat is Lost


One night our "indoor only" cat, Julian, got out through an open second-story window and wandered off. We quickly learned the next morning how little we really knew about what he would do and how to get him back. Julian is the sweetest, most adorable cat, but he's dumb as a box of rocks, and we knew he would have no idea how to get home. We hadn't thought he needed a collar, being an indoor cat, nor did he have a microchip implant with our information should he be found and taken to the local humane association or vet's office.

For two days my husband and I walked our neighborhood for five blocks in each direction, asking everyone on the street if they had seen him. We put up fliers with his picture and enlisted the eager help of young neighbor children. We called his name over and over as we walked with a bag of food that we would shake. One of our friends brought a dog to sniff him out. Julian never answered and was nowhere to be found. It was like he has simply vanished.

Finally we found him about fifty feet from his point of escape, hiding in a neighbor's garage. The garage door had been open most of the time he was missing and we had walked right by him numerous times, calling his name. In spite of that he didn't meow and he didn't come home. We figured it was because the home had two large dogs and he was frozen with fear. Don't overlook a home or yard just because it has dogs that live there! Our cat was right under the nose of two so-called retrievers who never noticed him. We went back around the neighborhood and told everyone that we had found him. By that point they cared too!


Don't fall into the trap of GRIEF AVOIDANCE where you tell yourself the cat is already gone for good; you won't be able to avoid the pain of loss by saying it's just a cat. Your cat is probably within a five block radius and can most likely be found!

We learned from the shelters and vets that any cat can become "displaced" when moved, chased or otherwise dislocated from its territory, like jumping out a window. For indoor cats, the inside of its home is its territory, so it will quickly feel displaced once outside.


Disoriented and afraid, most "indoor only" cats will NOT come to you even if they know your voice, recognize you or your scent, or hear the sound of food being shaken. Their instinct is to hunker down in a concealed place, USUALLY NEAR THE POINT OF ESCAPE. They will NOT MEOW because that would tell predators where they are. This is not because the cat does not love you; rather, silence is a scared cat's survival instinct.


Your best technique for finding the cat is to GO HOUSE TO HOUSE in your neighborhood, checking every area in which a cat could conceal itself, such as under porches, in bushes, under decks, up trees, anywhere small enough for a cat to fit. Ask your neighbors if you can search their property. All of ours said yes and most got out and helped. Call a few friends to help you. More people can cover a wider area and the moral support will help you. If it is nighttime, use flashlights as they will reflect the cat's eyes. Remember: cats do not run away; they are waiting to be found.

You can also rent a HUMANE TRAP from most humane associations for about ten dollars. These are also sold at home stores like Fleet Farm or Home Depot. The traps look like long cages. Set one up near your home by a door and put kitty's food inside. Once the cat gets inside to chow down, the back of the trap drops and he's safely inside.

You should also contact the police and let them know your cat is missing. They are the ones who pick up injured and dead animals from roadways and can let you know if a cat matching yours has been found. Also contact the local humane association and give them a description of your cat so they can identify him if someone brings him in. Call them daily and make friends with the people who answer the phone. Write their numbers down in one place so if you need to call the next day you won't have to look it up each time.

Of course, putting up fliers and placing an ad in the newspaper might help as well, but these methods are far less immediate than GOING THROUGH THE NEIGHBORHOOD WITH A FIND TOOTH COMB, ESPECIALLY NEAR THE POINT OF ESCAPE, AS SOON AS YOU FIND THE CAT IS MISSING.

Finally, don't lose heart! While it's hard to stay focused when you are emotionally distraught, remember that most cats get lost during their lives and most are found and return home. Unfortunately, lost cats need YOU to find THEM, not the reverse. You have to be persistent and determined. A methodical strategy is your best chance of getting him back. Our vet heard of a cat that was missing for 54 days, and due to the owner's persistence returned home safely. Don't give up!

1 comment:

CatsForLife said...

I also checked the houses,bushes,drains and anything that is suitable to hide around my neighbourhood,he's not around :'( Oh please tell me what to do :(