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How to Train an Outdoor Cat to Use a Litter Box

  • 5 min read

Your cat does not relieve itself inside its litter box . It’s normal! It’s not instinctive, as with everything, you have to be patient and show it several times.

Normally, it is his mother who teaches him to relieve himself in the litter box , but not always. In the absence of withdrawal, it is up to you to explain to him how it works. The cat is a clean animal, but it can happen to him to make his droppings outside his box. Maybe his box is dirty and you just need to change your cat’s litter ?

Train your cat for Litter box

How do you teach a cat to do its business in the litter box?

The first thing to do is provide your cat with a litter box and make sure it’s accessible and within reach (or rather paws). You can then begin to accustom your feline to going there.

After each meal, take your companion to his litter box and make a scratching motion to make him understand that this is where he should make his droppings. In order not to stress him, it is not recommended to take his paw and scratch the ground.

When your cat isolates itself, sniffles, it is that it is about to do these needs so take it as soon as possible in its tray, before they put it everywhere. Thus out of habit, he will understand that this is where he must relieve himself.

If your feline makes these excrements outside the box, you can put the litter where your cat does its business (so that it understands that it is in the litter which must do it and not outside). Be careful, it is not a good idea to scold him or put his nose at the level of the pee as a punishment.

What smell attracts cats to pee?

He has to pee, but he never goes to the place intended for this purpose. In this case, you can use bleach or catnip. Cats love these smells, in case of dirtiness, you can turn to these products.

Another solution is to place some of your cat’s feces from outside in their litter box while they watch you. Thus, he will understand that it is in the bin that he must make these excrements and not elsewhere. 

Of course, sometimes he has this behavior only to mark his territory in order to place his pheromones. 

Where should I place my litter box?

The cat is modest, he needs peace and quiet. It is therefore necessary to place its litter in a space with little daily traffic. Also avoid putting it in the laundry room, because the dryer makes a lot of noise and interferes with its tranquility.

If you have several cats, you need one box per cat in a different space.

Finally, put the litter away from its water and food bowl. Your cat is like you, eating with the smell of its needs next to it is unpleasant.

Placement of litter box

Open or closed tank?

Open or closed tank, that is the question. In reality, there is no ideal answer. You just have to make sure that your cat feels good there, and he will tell you if you have made the right choice.

There are advantages and disadvantages for both.

For the open litter box, it is reassuring for some cats, since they can have a 360° view around and watch for potential danger.

On the other hand, the cat has no peace and privacy. So even for you it can be disturbing in terms of smelly odors.

For the closed tank, this allows the cat to have its privacy, and for you to breathe good air. Note that the closed litter box is less economical and ecological compared to the open litter box.

Use an appropriate type of litter

First of all, you have to choose a suitable tank size. Do not want to take too big, you just need the necessary space to allow it to turn around easily.

Opt for a type of litter that retains odors and urine well. You will sometimes have to try several to see which one suits you (but especially your cat).


Why doesn’t my cat poop or pee in its litter box?

As stated at the beginning, it’s not instinctive for your cat to relieve herself in the litter box. He goes to a place where he feels safe, but also peaceful (so in a quiet place).

If he doesn’t poop or pee in his litter box, he doesn’t understand. Take the time to explain to him, to show him the litter.

If all goes well, after a few sessions of this kind, your cat will have understood that he must relieve himself in this box. Once that’s done, show him a lot of affection and appreciation, because he’ll notice that you’re really satisfied!

Learning mistakes are inevitable so be patient and above all do not shout or do not abuse him, this disturbs him and will encourage him to start again.

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Hamna Nasir is a dedicated cat lover, avid traveler, and accomplished author. Born and raised in the bustling city of San Francisco, Hamna's education journey led her to Boston where her interests expanded and intersected in unexpected ways. Hamna's ontent explores a multitude of topics, from preparing your cat for its first trip and choosing pet-friendly accommodations to understanding feline behavior in different environments. Her first-hand experiences, love for storytelling, and unwavering commitment to enhancing the bond between cats and their owners have earned her a devoted following. Her insights have been celebrated by pet lovers, adventure enthusiasts, and travel bloggers alike.