I have 4 cats (Yes we’ve established it’s a lot and it’s not crazy if I acknowledge it) and as you can imagine they can create a lot of mess and with a toddler playing on the floor the last thing I want to be questioning is “Is that chocolate or not?” because then I’ve got to get down and sniff and if it’s not then it’s DEFINITELY ruining my day.
It can take a lot of commitment and patience to enable them to do this and therefore starting in the warmer weather is better so you don’t feel bad about shutting them out and they don’t become unwell from the unusual amount of outdoors they are getting.
Also if something doesn’t work don’t stress, try something else, the last thing you want to do is stress everyone out and have the cat peeing on the luxury Italian sofa or in the toaster (yes that has actually happened – thankfully not to me..sorry mum :p )
All cats are different so some will refuse to go to the toilet anywhere except the tray and that’s fine (they won’t all do it) but perhaps your kitty can be persuaded? So here are some of the ways we transitioned our cats to go outside instead of using litter trays.
- A feeding schedule – if you’re a “leave biscuits down all the time” type of person then for now I would regulate meal times – regulated in = regulated out (if you get my drift) it’s easier to know when they are likely to go if they are only eating at set times a day.
- Shortly after eating put them outside – I’d say between 15-30 mins after then shut them outside (you’ll learn quickly how soon after eating they need to go and this is the time to strike!).
- Vanishing trays – slowly reduce the amount of litter you are putting in the trays – it makes it less squishy and cosy and easy to “fill up” which annoys the cats because they like to be clean and pampered.This can sometimes be the only thing that is needed to sway a cat to look elsewhere for its toileting needs
- Take Up the trays – during the daytime take up the trays and leave a window/door/cat flap open so that it is able to access the outside. If your cat starts searching for the trays or standing in the spot where it used to be then show them the outside.
- Put the litter trays outside – start by close to the door and gradually move them further away from the house.
- You can try laying some litter down in a flowerbed of bushes where you expect them to go so they feel comfortable ( be wary of whether your litter is biodegradable – ours were wood and paper pellets so were ok outdoors however some of the clay ones are not)
- Don’t try going through the night too soon – the biggest mistake we made was assuming they would be fine overnight because they were fine during the day, not realizing how often then went outside during the day. So if you are able leave a window or cat flap open at night and try the other techniques.
- Take the plunge – if you are confident your cat seems happy and calm to not use the litter trays indoors then take them up for good – you won’t know for sure until you try. If it doesn’t work out put them back with a really small bit of litter and try fading them out again.
It can be a lengthy process but rewarding for your cat, house and yourself! Also it’s a great way to save a little money on something you don’t really need.
*Note: When we go away on holiday and have a cat sitter we put down litter trays because their routine is disrupted but they easily transition when we come home, no muss no fuss*
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