How to Train Outdoor Cat to Use Litter Box

Train Outdoor Cat to Use Litter Box
Train Outdoor Cat to Use Litter Box (Image:,

Whatever your reasons for training your outdoor cat to become an indoor cat, take heart. Cats are clean animals by nature and most of them adjust easily to being confined, particularly if they are altered. Your major concern is probably the pet's adjustment to the litter box, as opposed to being permitted access to the outdoors to do its business. However, using a litter box is instinctive and the chances are actually excellent that your cat will do just fine.

Things You'll Need

  • Clean litter box
  • Potting soil or clean sand
  • Kitty litter
  • Litter scoop
  • Scratching post
  • Cat bed
  • Cat toys
  • Cat treats

Set the litter box up wherever you plan for it to remain, probably in a bathroom. Instead of kitty litter, fill it with clean potting soil or sand for the first week. Outdoor cats always know what this is for. It helps many cats easily make the transition from using the dirt outside to using the litter and box.

Introduce the cat to the litter box by setting it directly onto the soil or sand in the box. Your pet will probably show interest in it, and may begin digging and shoving the soil around with its paws. The cat may very well even use the box right away. Praise the pet for any interest or use of the box, and immediately offer a treat or reward. If the cat has not yet used the box, bring it back in every hour or so the first day and repeat this step. The kitty will get the idea.

Put the cat's bed, some toys, a scratching post, food and water in the bathroom, and confine the pet to that room if you must leave the house that first week. Your feline will be perfectly comfortable with everything it needs right there.

Close off most of the rooms in the house for the first week, limiting the pet's access to the room with the litter box and wherever you happen to be at the time. As the cat begins to show trustworthiness with the current space available to it, open one more room every two or three days.

Remove some of the soil from the litter box every day, and replace it with kitty litter during the second week of the cat's indoor confinement. By the end of the second week, the litter box should contain only litter, and you will be rid of the soil or sand for good. By this time, if not long before, almost any outdoor cat will have successfully transitioned to using the litter box.

Tips & Warnings

  • Most cats will not use a smelly or dirty litter box, so it is very important to keep it as clean as possible. Change the kitty litter often.
  • Never rub your cat's nose in its mistakes. It doesn't work for dogs, and certainly won't work for a cat. It could also backfire and turn out to be a reminder to the pet where there's a great place to relieve itself.

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