How to Move a Litter Box

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If you have to move your cat's litter to a more open area, try a covered box to give your cat privacy.
If you have to move your cat's litter to a more open area, try a covered box to give your cat privacy. (Image: Lusoimages/iStock/Getty Images)

Litter box location is important to you and to your cat, although not for the same reasons. Your priority of household aesthetics and convenience may not match your cat's need for privacy and tranquility. If the place your litter box resides isn't a suitable compromise between your interior design preferences and your cat's bathroom sensibilities, move the litter to a more appropriate setting -- but if you move it all of a sudden, your cat may no longer use it. Move the litter box over a period of time to ensure a stress-free transition.

Choose a Suitable Location

Give careful thought to a new location before you move your cat's litter box. Find a middle ground between easy access and your cat's need for privacy. Avoid noisy, busy locations; and don't place it near sources of heat, which can boost the litter odor and repel your cat, not to mention can intensify the stink of waste. Recognize that cats may not use a litter box that is too close to their food and water. Make an informed choice about where you'll move the litter box so your cat will be more likely to comply with the change.

Move the Litter Box

Once you've decided on a new litter box location, start moving your cat's litter box a few feet per day in the direction of the new spot. Take care not to confuse your cat with the move, or she might use your floor as a bathroom. Don't move it so far that she can't see it from its prior location. Consider placing a second litter box in the place you've chosen before moving the original litter box toward it. Once the two boxes are side by side, disinfect one and store it, or put it in another suitable location -- it's a good idea to have one more litter box in use than you have cats.

Remove Scent Markers

Thoroughly clean scent markers from the old litter box location, and clean any litter box misses your cat may have during the move. Veterinarian David Grant of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says that urine from a cat who is stressed contains a pheromone that entices the cat to pee again in the same location. If your cat is disrupted by the litter box transfer and pees outside the box, remove any traces of the pheromone-laden urine to avoid mishap repeats.

Choose an enzymatic cleaner to break down urine compounds. Also effective are white vinegar, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Avoid cleaners containing ammonia such as bleach, as they smell similar to urine and encourage your cat to pee where you've used them. Try placing aluminum foil or an upside-down carpet runner over the site of your cat's accident to dissuade further elimination attempts.

Encourage Continued Use of New Location

Once your cat's litter box is in its new location, ensure that it remains the cat's preferred spot for elimination. Scoop the litter regularly and wash the basin weekly. Take care not to startle or disturb your cat while she's using her bathroom. Don't create a bad association with the box by punishing your cat for accidents and immediately carrying her to the litter box.

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