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How to Train an Outdoor Cat to Use the Litter Box

If the cat isn’t using the litter box and you’re unsure just what substrate to use, set out a few boxes and offer several choices.

cat litter and scoop

Photo: Fotolia


Location of Litter Boxes

Put one box by the door so that when your cat goes near the area in an attempt to get outside for elimination, he’ll see the litter box conveniently located. Place the other box in the area where he spends the most time (but not right near the food).

In some cases, it’s best to confine the cat to a small area of the home until you’re sure he has mastered Litter Box 101.

Be Patient With the Cat

The longer the cat has been used to eliminating exclusively outdoors, the longer it may take for him to get the hang of now using a litter box. Don’t punish him for mistakes or else you’ll create a fear and that will set you back in the training and trust-building process. Instead, make any necessary adjustments in the set-up and the environment to help him succeed.



If you have a question about your cat’s behavior, you can find information in the articles on our website as well as in Pam’s books. If you have a question regarding your cat’s health, please contact your veterinarian. This article is not intended as a replacement for your cat’s veterinary care.







One comment

  1. I have an 8 year old cat.spayed. He goes in and out of house. Always in at night. He used to be in all the time and would use litter box. now he never will. I am going away for a week and a neighbor will feed him and let him out once or twice a day. Hard because it is winter. any ideas how I can get him to just use litter box.

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