Just like humans, cats like somewhere clean and comfortable to go to the toilet. This guide explains litter tray best practice. Learn how to give your cat the perfect litter tray experience!
Location is everything: cats prefer to pass their waste where they feel safe and then bury it. They should be able to access their litter tray without having to pass other cats or things that make them anxious like a noisy washing machine. Place trays in quiet locations, away from high traffic areas and their bed, food and water bowls.
It is a good idea to provide one litter tray per cat, plus one extra if possible. Offer a choice of styles such as covered and uncovered but ensure they’re big enough.
Cats don’t like using dirty or soiled trays so make sure the litter tray is cleaned at least once a day. Scoop out any solid waste daily and replace the litter completely each week.
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Cats learn to associate toileting with the material used when they were a kitten and generally still prefer to use a fine grain litter. If they were only exposed to one type as a kitten, they are less likely to want to use a different litter consistency as an adult.
Even if your cat toilets outside, it’s a good idea to keep a litter tray indoors for those moments when they’re caught short!
Being creatures of habit, once a cat has a preferred toileting site, he will continue to use it unless something causes him to become averse to it. A lack of privacy and problems with access or cleanliness will cause him to look for another place.
If your cat stops using their litter tray, first get them checked out by a vet. When given the all clear, try a sand-sized litter, clean trays out twice a day and remove any odorisers and litter tray liners.
For more information, read the Cats Protection post on litter trays
written by feline behaviourist Nicky Trevorrow.