Cat Owner's Guide

Teaching your cat how to use the litter box

The most important factor (that cats look for) in a litter box is cleanliness. Having a litter box that is changed regularly will make the cats go back to it instead of eliminating at other areas of the house.

Litter box training

To prep your cat, you must first observe his litter habits. Regulate the feeding time so it is easier to capture the timings he will need to use the litter box. When there are signs that he is going to eliminate, carry him gently and bring him to the litter box. Establish this routine daily until he goes to the litter box on his own.

Location of the litter box matters too. Place them in a quiet corner, preferably against a wall to give your cat privacy. Don't place the litter box near to their eating area as cats do not like to dirty the areas near where their food is. Try not to change the location too often as it will disrupt their routine. If it is a multi-cat household, having more litter boxes is necessary.

Do note that you should not raise your voice or hit them if the cat makes mistakes. It will not help them to understand; but make them fear you instead. Once your cat gets does the right thing, praise them with treats or words.

The litter box

Choosing filters
There's a variety of fillers available: clay litter, clumping, crystals, cracked corn or wheat, etc. Most commonly used will be clay and clumping.

Traditional clay litter is very affordable and absorbs urine well. However, when soiled, everything has to be tossed out. It keeps odours away with some scented. Note that cats' noses are many times more sensitive than us. What smells good to us may not be to them.

Clumping litter proves to be more economical and effective. When they come in contact with liquid, it absorbs and forms a "clump" that can be scooped out. This enables home owners to clean the litter frequently and easily without dumping the whole litter away after each time your cat eliminates. Both types can be dusty; so do research on various brands suitable for your home.

For the budget conscious, some choose to line the litter box with newspapers. It is not recommended as there is no absorbance and there is a risk of toxic ink transferring to the cat's paws that can be ingested during grooming. The cat may also identify any newspaper as a litter and eliminate on it – even if the newspaper is on a sofa or a table!

Size and type of litter box

Size and depth
The number of litter boxes should ideally match the number of cats in the home. It is important to give your cats ample space in their "bathroom". For kittens, make sure the litter box is not too big and the sides are low enough for them to get in. For adult cats, a larger litter box with sides that are about six inches in height is recommended. However, there is no one rule for litter boxes; in fact, the size of the litter box should be determined by the size of your cat and their personal preferences.

Material
Durable, plastic litter boxes are the most economical and cat friendly. It allows easy cleaning with its smooth surface.

Open boxes
This kind of boxes allows easy access for the cats and makes it easier for them to observe the surroundings while eliminating. However, without a hood/cover, cats who frequently kick out litter will dirty the floor easily. Such design is also not suitable for cats who like to pee "levator" style – urinate while standing up.

Hooded or covered boxes
Hooded boxes are most suitable for timid cats who need more privacy. They are also cleaner by blocking any litter that has been "kicked out" by the cat. But the downside is the dust that accumulates at the sides of the hoods and this is not good for your cat's lungs.

An alternative for owners who wants more coverage at the sides is to use storage containers that are deep in depth. With that, a cut-out door is advisable as it is rather tiring for the cats to be jumping in and out of it. It would be extremely tedious for older cats who have problems with their joints or back.

Litter mats
It is recommended to place litter mats at the side of the litter box to catch any urine or debris that get stuck between the cat's paws or fur.