7 Steps To Housebreak A Cat

housebreak a cat
Image: istockphoto.com / Nils Airport Travel

If you love cats, but hate that stinky litter box, then you may want to ponder the idea of housebreaking your feline (aka going outside). If left to their own devices, most cats would likely choose the great outdoor potty over the confinement of a litter box. However, there are ways to make the transition from litter box to outdoors simpler.

Follow these seven helpful steps on how to housebreak a cat.

Step 1 – Wait Until He is Age-Appropriate and Ready

A young kitten may not be able to navigate his way around the great outdoors, so waiting until he is more mature is the best option. Older cats are also more apt to be able to adjust to the change from a litter box to outside eliminating more easily.

In addition, let your cat “tell” you when she is ready for doing her routine business outside. This can also be gauged by her usage of the indoor box becoming less and less frequent.

Step 2 – Use the Same Door All the Time

By using the same entrance and exit point to your home, it will reinforce the routine in your cat. It is also important when you transfer the litter box outdoors.

Step 3 – Moving the Litter Box

As the housebreaking training progresses, gradually move the litter box closer and closer to your intended exit and entrance door. It’s important to keep the box clean during this time and to do this when you’re not expecting a lot of traffic in and out of your home.

Step 4 – Move the Box Outside

Once you feel your cat is ready, move the litter box outside to a patio or porch area. Be sure to plan this crucial step when the weather is pleasant. Rainy, thunderstorms or heavy snowfall may impede your cat’s enthusiasm for being outdoors. Once the litter box is outside, show him where it is a few times, so he can learn.

Remove the litter box
Image: istockphoto.com / BiancaGrueneberg

Step 5 – Remove the Litter Box

When you start to notice that your cat is using his outside commode less, it’s a good time to remove the litter box altogether. This may take a week or more, depending on the individual cat. Remove the box when the cat is not looking to help reinforce the housebreaking.

Step 6 – The Litter Sprinkle Trick

If your cat is having trouble grasping the outdoor concept, sprinkle some of his cat litter in the acceptable “toilet” areas of your yard. Most cats will choose flowerbeds or other soft ground to relieve themselves in so use this trick to encourage that natural instinct.

Step 7 – Keep Cat Enclosed in a Small Area When Away

Until your cat is completely housebroken, you may want to keep her in a confined area like a bathroom or laundry room while you are away for short periods of time. Cats are very clean animals and are less likely to soil in a small area. However, as soon as you get home be sure to let the kitty out to do her business.

Say Goodbye to the Stoop-n-Scoop

Once your cat is completely housebroken you can say goodbye to the stoop-n-scoop. However, even though your cat goes outside to eliminate it, still be sure to take precautions to protect your pet outdoors. This includes having the proper vaccinations, being spayed or neutered, and preventing your pet from getting fleas. A healthy cat is a happy cat.