How to Introduce a Cat to a New Litter Box

By Richard Kalinowski

Introducing a cat to a new environment can be difficult. Many cats have trouble adapting to change, especially when it comes to litter boxes. Even a well-trained cat can have "accidents" if a new, unfamiliar litter box is not set up properly. Properly introducing a cat to a new box involves more than throwing the litter box in a corner, pouring in the litter and hoping that everything will work out. By taking several proactive steps, your cat can become comfortable with a new litter box much faster, leading to less carpet-cleaning and a happier living situation for you and your feline friend.

Place the litter box in an area of your home that receives high pet traffic. Don't expect your cat to visit a litter box several rooms away from where it usually hangs out. The Humane Society of the United States cautions against placing litter boxes near furnaces or appliances that may startle your cat. Also, avoid placing the litter box on a concrete floor.

Fill the litter box with less than 2 inches of fine-grain litter, which most cats prefer.

Keep the box uncovered for at least the first week. Although most cats do not mind covered litter boxes, some find them intimidating.

Place your cat in the new litter box. If it jumps out and walks away, try again later. Don't expect immediate usage, but look for signs that your cat is interested in the new box and is remembering its location. Sniffing the box and exploring the room are good signs that your cat is observing and remembering the box's location.

Keep the box clean.