One of the great things about owning a cat that lives indoors is that you don’t have to worry about teaching the cat to “hold it in” and go outside. The luxury is knowing that you can teach your cat use his litter box anytime. The crucial point is that initially, your cat must never get an opportunity to use anything other than the litter box. 

Quite often, when an animal is brought into a new home, he will consistently relieve himself in the first area he originally did so. This is why the biggest mistake new pet owners make is to let their cat roam free in the house the second they bring him home.

If you think about it from your cat’s point of view, and you let him loose to roam free in your house the minute you bring him home, why would he not relieve himself in the house? He doesn’t know any different. Remember that animals need direction.

The most important thing to understand in dealing with litter box training is that housebreaking is a behavior that begins with the cat knowing the location of the litter box. It is essential when you first bring your cat home he spends her first 20 minutes in the area that has the litter box, and he is aware of where it is. This gives your cat every opportunity to start becoming conditioned to relieve herself in the litter box, as well as get to know her new living area.

What I want to do is give you a game plan that will help you plan this essential introduction to your home and your cat’s new home.

In general, most cats will relieve themselves in areas where they have gone in the first time. If you let your cat urinate on the carpet behind the couch for a week, he will begin to get conditioned to going there.

  • Cats, in general, will not eliminate in areas that they sleep in.
  • By conditioning your cat to only use a litter box from the beginning you avoid creating an opportunity for the cat to go anywhere else. 
  • If he is never loose and unsupervised from the beginning, he’ll never get the opportunity to choose a place to relieve herself in the house.

One quick tip: Most cats like using litter boxes, and they like these litter boxes located in out of the way places. So the last thing that you want to do is put the litter box in the middle of the room. My suggestion might be to put the litter box in an out of the way place, but an area that the cat can see or always get to. He needs to know where the litter box is so she can move to it and use it.


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