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Getting cats to eliminate appropriately is usually a mutual training experience. Cats are very willing to cooperate provided that their rules are followed and motivations are addressed.

Most cats want to get rid of their wastes, and look for something absorbent and loose enough to be able to dig in so that they can bury them. So, if we are willing to be trained by cats, we go out and buy a litter box and cat litter, and then we marvel at our genius cat and how brilliant he is for learning to use the box right away.

Most cats are not terribly fussy about the box or the litter, but once they have been using them for awhile, they don't like changes. If you want to change brands or types of litter, mix the new one in with the old in gradually increasing proportions. This gives the cat a chance to get used to the new stuff, instead of having to find a less objectionable spot, like the couch.

Common changes that upset cat's habits are switching to deodorant litters; switching to or from clumping litter-they really do care about how it feels between their toes; switching to or from cellulose litter (most cat litter is clay); switching to or from a covered box; getting a new cat and expecting them to share.

Cats are fastidious. The" bathroom" needs to be clean and relatively odor free. If your cat has stopped using its litter pan, the most common cause is falling behind on your cleaning schedule. Covered boxes are worse since it takes longer to become offensive to us (outside) than to them (inside). You should have at least one box for every cat and then one more than that. The box needs to be accessible; ideally on the same floor as the cat spends most of its time on, and where the door to the room it is in is rarely closed, and where scary stuff doesn't happen. Basements are a poor choice (too far away, closed doors) as are laundry rooms (spin cycles can be scary) / Issue 11 - September 2018
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