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March 9, 2022 |0 min read

How to Litter Train A Stray Cat

Written by

Sharilyn Vera

There are so many ways cats end up becoming a part of our lives. They could be born into it, inherited from another family member or friend, adopted from a shelter, and even converted from being an outdoor cat to an indoor one. So, what happens when you adopt a stray cat into your life? How do you convert one into an indoor cat? And most importantly, how can you figure out how to litter train a stray cat?

Understanding Your Stray Cat

Animal rescue experts have put stray cats into three distinct categories: socialized, semi-feral, and feral. Socialized stray cats, like the name suggests, include strays who have been domesticated and are calm around humans. While feral strays are basically wild animals who have had little to no human interaction in their lives. Semi-feral stray cats lie anywhere in-between socialized and feral cats on the stray cat spectrum. They tend to avoid being touched by humans but may meow and vocalize or even make eye contact around them. 

Even though it can be a slow process, taming a semi-feral cat is definitely pawsible.

  1. Let the stray make the first move!
  2. Keep them coming back for more.
  3. Slowly get them accustomed to life around humans.
  4. Respect their space!
  5. Lead with a calming attitude.

Before you know it, your friendly neighborhood stray is completely relaxed around you and here to stay! Now that you’ve successfully brought a stray into your home, how should you go about litter training the newest member of your family?

Litter Training Your (Former) Stray Cat

Step 1: Choosing the Right Type of Litter

When choosing the right type of litter to provide for your new cat or kitten, it’s important to remember that strays have very sensitive noses so scented litter should be avoided. Luckily, PrettyLitter’s advanced micro-crystal, odor-eliminating unscented litter also provides a top-rated health monitoring system where its crystals change colors when health problems are detected in your cat’s urine. Aside from the benefits of health monitoring litterthe silica crystal cat litter in PrettyLitter reduce the amount of litter dust build-up and are softer on your cat’s paws than other kinds of litter. 

Its non-clumping capabilities absorb your cat’s urine without making the litter itself hard and messy to scoop and clean up. As you continue to make your formerly stray cat or kitten comfortable in their litter box, remember the ideal level of litter should be 2-3 inches deep. Learn more about how much cat litter you should use.

Step 2: Choosing the Right Litter Box

As a general rule of thumb when picking out a cats litter box for a new cat, the size of the box should always be at least as long as your cat (from nose to the tip of their extended tail), and the width should be at least as wide as your cat’s length (tail not extended). An open cat litter box or litter pan is more ideal to coax a stray cat into doing their business than an enclosed or covered area. Easy access is one of the main things to consider when picking out a litter box. The more open the box is and closer to the ground, the easier it’ll be to litter train your stray turned newly domesticated cat.

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Step 3: Choosing the Perfect Litter Box Location

Wondering where to put the litter box? Easy access and litter box location go hand in hand. Just like humans, cats don’t enjoy going to the bathroom near where they eat. Never place the cat litter box close to their food and water bowls. Much like restaurant seating, a table near the bathroom is less ideal than one that’s more secluded and farther away. 

When choosing the initial location of your cat’s litter box, consider whether or not your stray was brought from a shelter or the outside. Litter box location matters in this sense because a stray cat brought home from a shelter should begin to use their litter box somewhere inside your home whereas a stray brought in from the outside should begin to be litter trained with their litter box outside.

If your stray is one that you coaxed into your home from the outside, take note of where they do their business outside. Place their new litter box in that spot and hope that they start using the box instead. If they do, gradually move the litter box slowly towards your home in hopes that they will continue to use it. Because your new cat or new kitten is already adjusting to using a litter box for the first time, moving the box too far from the initial spot could ruin this plan. Only move the box a few inches at a time. Remember that slow and steady wins this race. 

Step 4: Pawsitive Reinforcements Go A Long Way!

Encouraging your new cat with verbal praise, treats, and pheromones can be effective in making sure they are comfortable in their new litter box. Praise them and give them treats whenever they correctly use the litter box. Using a soothing voice and encouraging your cat with pheromones will boost their comfort and confidence. Pheromones, available in diffusers and sprays, can emulate a sense of familiarity with your cat making them more comfortable to use it.

Step 5: Keep It Clean!

No one enjoys using a dirty bathroom. Neither will your cat, so make sure to routinely clean out your cat’s litter box to ensure they keep coming back. PrettyLitter’s non-clumping crystal litter makes it super easy to scoop up your cat’s litter. Keeping their litter box hygienic is vital in making sure your formerly stray cat continues to use their litter box and does not end up going elsewhere outside of the box.

Bringing home a stray cat is such a wonderful way to enrich a cat lover’s life. Comfortability and gradual adjustments are key in sustaining an enriched life for your formerly stray, new domesticated cat. 

Sources:

https://www.alleycat.org/resources/cat-socialization-continuum-guide/?gclid=CjwKCAiA1JGRBhBSEiwAxXblwQP0i5FAdGY3l_smlyO0hMfeQOL5ko7zQy88E5cmOZW2wyWbonsYcxoCAQMQAvD_BwE

https://www.hepper.com/how-to-train-stray-cat-to-use-litter-box/

https://mrfrs.org/6-steps-to-taming-a-semi-feral-cat/

https://askmycats.com/how-to-train-a-stray-cat-to-use-a-litter-box/#:~:text=You%20can%20train%20a%20stray,if%20you%20have%20adopted%20him.

https://www.prettylitter.com/blog/cat-litter-box-tips-and-tricks?gclid=CjwKCAiA1JGRBhBSEiwAxXblwftB1BElnJORBBmEl1Dm8eG5LJZ7gi5LgUcu2x3NxKwztM5qtBb3zRoCh4IQAvD_BwE

https://catbehaviorassociates.com/how-much-litter-should-you-put-in-the-litter-box/

https://www.prettylitter.com/blog/pretty-litter-vs-fresh-step-cat-litter-whats-the-difference

https://petkeen.com/how-to-train-stray-cat-to-use-bathroom/

Written by

Sharilyn Vera

Sharilyn is a proud cat owner, long time storyteller and researcher. Her work spans beloved podcasts, television shows, media outlets, and independent documentaries. She likes to strike a balance between education and comedy, which you can hopefully tell when you read her articles!

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