4 Ways to Help Your Cat Find the New Litter Box

Cats can find the litterbox if you move it, but moving their litter box too quickly can result in potty problems on the carpet. However, taking things slowly and patiently is the best way to ease your cat into finding the new location and becoming comfortable in it.

In some ways, cats can be very similar to humans. We both have specific preferences when it comes to doing our business. We want it to be in a nice, calm place, with no interruptions.

If you put your cat’s litter box in an inconvenient location for them or decide to move it too quickly, your cat may eliminate in inappropriate locations. Trust me, they’re probably not enjoying having to do that, either.

If your cat is already potty trained well to go to one litter box, switching it to an entirely different place runs the risk of starting some old forgotten problems all over again. It’s because you’re doing something outside of the routine that they’re used to.


It’s Best to Stick to One Location

Before you even decide to move the box, sit down and brainstorm the pros and cons of various locations. Weigh in all the risks and how prepared you are if some potty problems begin happening.

The point is not to change locations repeatedly because it will cause a lot of confusion. So, when you’re picking a place, make sure that you decide where the box can stay for as long as possible.

Of course, the best-case scenario would be finding one place and letting it become the designated litter box spot without touching it. However, there are some situations in which you just have no choice but to move it.

When remodeling or renovating rooms, the litter box may need to be taken out of that room. Other examples could be changing the flooring in the room, rearranging the furniture, or bringing home a new pet. In cases like these, it’s understandable.

However, don’t move the litter box unless it’s absolutely necessary.

If it ends up coming down to that, the best strategy is to be patient and take it step by step. To minimize the damage, you must take things slow and do it in a way that causes the least disruption in your cat’s usual pattern.

If you need some more specific advice, here are four ways to ease your cat into it.


Helping Your Cat Locate a Moved Box

1. Move the Litterbox Before Cleaning it

Why would you want to move a smelly litter box instead of a clean one? Well, cats detect it based on the scent.

Their nose remembers where their smell comes from. It becomes a part of their routine after they get comfortable with their smell being consistently in that one place.

According to Litter Box Guides, most cats inherently know how to use litter trays. Wild feral cats always try to cover their feces so that they can hide their scent from predators.

That’s why cats usually get the training down quickly after the first few times, but it’s different when you’re moving it to a new place after they’ve gotten used to one.

They can still detect their smell, but the stronger the scent is, the easier your cat can find the box. It depends on how far you move it.

Bring your cat to the old place, show them there’s nothing there anymore. Now bring them to the new place, where their feces are, and place them in the litter box. Once they become aware, there should be no problem.


2. Introduce Another Litter Box

For the transitional period, it would be a good idea to get a temporary extra litter box. Place it in the new desired location.

Take your cat there occasionally to get them accustomed to the sounds, sights, scents, and placement. If their response is good, allow them to use both boxes for a while and eventually remove the first box from the old location.

Tammy Dray at The Nest suggests making the new box much more desirable – clean it more often, use higher-quality litter, and plug Feliway that releases cat pheromones somewhere nearby.

Cats are clean and smart animals, after all. They will notice the advantages of the new box and disregard the outdated one. This will be the perfect moment to throw the other one away.

When that happens successfully, rearrange the furniture at the old place. This type of change will make the location uncomfortable and harder to recognize. This should be the final step of the transition.


3. Move the Litter Box a Few Inches Every Day

If you don’t want to introduce another litter box into the house, or you can’t, gradually move the original one to the new location. Be sure to go at a pace that is comfortable for your cat.

It’s not a good idea to surprise your cat with moving the box all of a sudden, especially when it’s been there for a long time, says behavior specialist Paula Garber. The kitty may not take the time to look.

Relocating the box should happen progressively, a few inches per day, until it reaches the new destination where it’s supposed to be.

At the very least, make sure that your cat sees you moving it from one space to another, and let’s hope that they will comprehend what you’re doing.


4. Choose a Convenient, Noticeable Location

Let’s face it. We cat owners don’t really like smelling litter boxes, especially right after they’ve been used.

So, sometimes we tend to stick them in places that aren’t the most convenient or accessible to our feline friends. That’s a big mistake on our part.

The right spot is one of the most crucial parts of potty training if you want your cat to be consistent and not create trouble all the time.

Pay attention to where your cat spends the most time. That weird attic or the storage room are places that they would never go otherwise, so don’t put the litter box there.

If it would be difficult for you to access and clean, it would be difficult for them as well.

Preferably, the box should be somewhere the cat can easily reach, but Paula Garber recommends staying away from the pet’s food and water bowls. It would be even better if the area is low traffic, so not the main hallway or the living room.

Look around for quiet, convenient-to-access corners of the house that offer some privacy. No obstacles or obstructions should stop the cat from getting to their litter box, so keep an eye on open doorways and make sure there’s no furniture in the way.


Cats Prefer Quiet Locations

When it comes to deciding on a location, another aspect you should always take into account is how noisy the location is. Pets are more sensitive and startled by what they hear compared to their owners.

Shyer cats can get scared off easily from using the litter box if there’s a lot of confusing and loud sounds surrounding it. Avoid placing the box close to music studio rooms, young children’s rooms, and near big windows where there’s heavy machinery being used.


More Cats Mean more Litter Boxes

If I haven’t stressed this enough, location is important. However,  it becomes even more critical if there’s more than one cat in the house.

If you want to avoid such conflicts, get as many litter boxes as you have cats, plus one.


Never Punish Your Cat for Accidents

Be mindful of your cat’s needs during the process of moving a litter box to a new place. Be gentle, patient, and don’t punish or yell at them if they make a mistake and pee (or worse) somewhere outside of the box where they shouldn’t. Punishments wouldn’t work the way you want them to.

Instead, clean the dirty area carefully so that you remove 100% of the scent. If you leave any traces of it, the cat might get encouraged to eliminate again in the same place. It’s all about the smell.

Guide your cat to the new place of the litter box and show them where their scent is.

On some rare occasions, if your cat looks badly stressed, confused, or is struggling a lot to make the transition, you will have to consider leaving the litter box in its normal location.

Writer: Georgi Petkov

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