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Cats are not exactly easygoing creatures. Typically, they don't like change.
However, you're not a fan of your cat's current litter box and you want to buy a new one. There's only one problem: You aren't sure how your cat is going to react. Will he start going on the floor? Is he going to make a mess of the new litter box? Will he find a cardboard box to do his business in instead? Before you spend the money, you need to ensure that your cat will end up using this new litter box and everything will go smoothly.
Here are some tips on how to make sure the transition goes well.
How to introduce your cat to the new litter box
There are a number of ways to introduce your cat to a new litter box. First, it's best to only change the litter box and nothing else at first. This means you should keep the litter box in the exact same spot as the old one and use the same kind of kitty litter. Then, put something your cat loves next to the new litter box. This could be his favorite toy. You could also keep the old litter box around but stop cleaning it, and only clean the new one. This may be effective because cats prefer to go in clean litter boxes.
When your cat does use the new litter box, make sure you reward him with a treat. Since cats have short attention spans, it's best to reward them as soon as possible after they do something good. For the first few days that you have the new litter box in your home, you should stand by it, ready and waiting with your cat's favorite treats. Every time he goes to the bathroom in his new litter box, give him a treat and pet him so he learns that he's doing something good. Eventually, you can start cutting down on the treats. Once he starts using it consistently, you can start cutting back and replacing a treat with a rub on the head or by saying "good kitty" instead. Then, once your cat is going in the litter box for a few weeks without any rewards, you know you won't have to use them anymore.
Keep in mind that you should never punish your cat for having an accident outside the litter box or force him to use it. Since their memories are not very good, your cat will forget what he's done wrong as soon as you punish him. He could become fearful and may not want to be around you if you yell at him. Always emphasize rewards instead of punishments.
What if your cat won’t use the litter box at all?
If your cat has an issue with using litter boxes in general, you can clean soiled areas around your house with a special urine deodorizer so that your cat won't be encouraged to go there again.
If your cat has been eliminating on soft surfaces in your home like on your couch or your carpet, then you could switch up the litter and try using one that's made of pine shavings. You could also add shredded newspaper or place a piece of carpet in the litter box.
Your cat might not be using the litter box because he doesn't like where it's placed. For example, he may prefer it to be in a quiet and more protected place like in a closet or underneath a desk rather than out in the open. Additionally, if you have a kitten or an old or sick cat and you live in a house with multiple levels, you'll need a litter box on every level.
Ensuring the litter box is clean at all times is very important. This means you'll need to scoop it a couple of times every day and empty it completely and scrub it with soap once every three weeks. You should replace the litter box and the scooper at least once per year if you have one cat and more often if you have additional cats.
Finding a new litter box for your cat
When you're ready to purchase a new litter box for your cat, try PetSafe ScoopFree Automatic Self-Cleaning Cat Litter Box. You won't have to scoop, clean, or refill your kitty's litter box for weeks on end, and the crystal litter will remove the smell because it absorbs urine and dehydrates solid waste. Plus, the low-tracking crystals are 99% dust free and will not stick to your cat's paws. The litter box even monitors your cat's health by tracking how many times he uses the box.
For something a little simpler, try the Frisco High Sided Cat Litter Box. The front wall has a step-in design so that your cat can easily get in and out, and the high sides reduce cat spray and litter splatter. Since it's made of high-quality plastic, your cat can dig and paw without damaging their box. It's BPA-free and recyclable, which means it's good for the environment, too.
Cats don't love change, but by taking it slowly, you can introduce your cat to a brand new litter box. You'll need to invest in the right litter box and reinforce good behaviors by rewarding your cat with his favorite treats to ensure he keeps on using his litter box with ease.