As you get ready to bring a cat or kitten into your home, make sure you have all the things you need to make your new pet feel at home. Providing high-quality food, a safe environment, veterinary care, and lots of love, it is also important to give some thought to your cat’s litter box. Potty disorders are one of the biggest reasons for cats to be given up to shelters.

New kittens
Kittens usually start learning to use the litter box at 3 or 4 weeks
old, so by the time you bring your kitten home, she will likely be used to using a litter box. You will not need to train your kitten to use the litter box in the same way that you would housebreak a puppy. However, it is important to make sure your kitten knows the location of the litter box in her new surroundings. Place your kitten into the litter box, gently take her front paws and show her how to scratch at the litter once or twice. Don’t worry if she jumps right out again. Place her in the box a few times throughout the day; first thing in the morning, and after meals, playing, and waking up from a nap. Remember that cats prefer privacy when using the litter box, so once you see that she is using the box, leave her alone.

Number of boxes
The rule of thumb here is that you should provide one litter box per cat, plus one extra. If your house has several levels, make sure there are litter boxes on every floor.

Cats prefer to use the litter box in a quiet, private place where they feel safe. Loud noises, people walking in and out, or being startled by a dog or challenged by another cat as they leave the litter box, can be enough to make your cat choose another location.

Most cats prefer not to have their litter box right next to their food dish, so avoid this situation if possible.

Size and type of litter box
There are many types of litter boxes available, including covered boxes, self-cleaning boxes, and boxes designed to fit into corners. Make sure the litter boxes you provide are the right size(s) for your cat(s).


Cats are extremely clean creatures, and they may avoid a litter box that is not cleaned often enough. Scoop the litter boxes at least once daily. Wash the litter box and change the litter completely once a week. Do not clean the box with a strong smelling disinfectant, but rinse the box well after washing it. Any accidents should be cleaned up with an enzyme cleaner specifically made for pet stains, including cat urine.