Take a moment to imagine life outside the litter box. There’s no more stinky litter to clean out, no more litter getting tracked around your house, and what about all that money you’d save?
It sounds like a dream that’s just a little too good to be true for most cat owners but it isn’t. Fact is, it is actually possible to train your cat to go to the bathroom outside – just keep in mind that it is a task that requires patience, love and affection.
Got plenty of those? Well, let’s get started training your cat to “go” outside. But before we start, let’s make sure you have a suitable outdoors environment for your cat.
Is Your Outdoors Kitty Friendly?
Before you begin training your cat to do her business outside, the first thing you want to do is ensure that the outdoors is safe for your cat.
If your cat is an indoors cat, take necessary precautions that she won’t run away or get lost in the great outdoors by installing a fence if you don’t have one already. If you already have boundaries on your property, check the periphery of the fence for holes or gaps that your cat can get out from.
A fence is also a good idea for keeping other animals away from your cat’s territory. If there are stray cats or neighborhood dogs that wander into your backyard, your cat is going to be more reluctant to “go” outside.
Not to mention, that situation puts her in a vulnerable position for catching fleas.
Once you’ve secured your yard, choose the best spot for your cat’s new outdoor bathroom. Wondering what to look for? The perfect outdoors cat bathroom should…
- Provide privacy in the form of bushes and shrubs that give your cat some cover to hide behind when she does her thing
- Be pretty close to the house
- Have good quality soil that’s easy for her to dig
If you don’t have a lot of foliage around your yard to give your cats cover and security, a good idea is to construct a little kitty latrine of your own by digging a little pit and placing her favorite litter inside it. You can gradually begin mixing the litter with soil and in time, stop using the litter altogether.
Want more in-detail instructions and tips in training your cat to go to the bathroom outdoors? Read on!
How to Train Your Cat to “Go” Outside
Ready to get your cat going outdoors? Here’s how to do it!
Choose the best spot
The first thing you want to do is choose a good spot for the designated outdoor kitty bathroom. As mentioned above, a relatively quiet and private place is best. Cats aren’t exactly dogs, but may still get distracted by a squirrel. They also don’t react well to being startled. Not to mention that cats can be very finicky and will likely prefer an area that provides some privacy and makes it easy to bury their waste.
A fenced-in yard that isn’t being used by stray cats, dogs or playing children can reduce the risk of outside elements interfering with training your cat to go outside.
Once you’ve picked the prime location, place a your cat’s favorite litter in the spot so she can get used to the idea of going in that spot.
Note: Of course, just ’cause it’s the best spot for you doesn’t means she’ll agree. As all cat owners know, felines tend to want a say in everything so don’t be surprised if she ends up choosing a different place to do her business.
Install a cat door
My aunt had a lovely cat who was trained to be let in and out whenever she wanted to go to the bathroom. And for awhile it worked since my aunt had a flexible schedule that allowed her to be home for her cat’s potty needs.
But things change and it eventually got to the point where my aunt had left her alone for hours at a time, which resulted in bladder problems for the poor cat.
Don’t let this happen to your cat – just install a cat door so your kitty can come and go whenever she needs to. That way, your cat can go in and out on her own instead of having to wait for you and risk an accident.
Extra perk? You can get a multi-tasking cat door that comes with an attached cleaning brush that automatically grooms your cat every time she wanders in and out.
Let your cat explore the area
Keep an eye on your cat while she’s outside to make sure she doesn’t appear distressed or try to run off in a panic. This is especially true if she has rarely been outside before or there may be other animals in the area. Even when she sees the kitty litter, it may take her a while to get the idea that it’s an acceptable place to go.
Regularly add fresh litter to the area
Continue to allow your cat to go out and explore the designated area while she gets used to it.
Let your cat outside while eating
Cats are more likely to want to go within 20 minutes of eating. You usually won’t need to take her over to the designated spot or praise her for using that spot. Cats are clever creatures so she can figure it out if some of her kitty litter is there and it’s easy to bury her waste.
Don’t worry about it if she doesn’t want to go outside right away, though. It can take several tries.
Mix a little dirt from the area with the kitty litter
Once you’ve had a few successful tries, start adding a little dirt so she can get used to the way that the designated area smells when she goes. Continue taking her out on a regular basis after she eats.
Try taking her litter box outside if she seems to be taking a while to catch on
You want to be careful with this method because she may still try to go in the area where the litter box was. Block off that area so your cat can’t get to it and continue taking her outside. Put the litter box near the cat door and, when she finally does start using it, gradually move the box toward the designated spot.