8 Simple Steps to Housebreak Your Cat

Written by: Modi Ramos
| Published on April 17, 2015

Although cats are beautiful and easy pets to care for, some people can not think past the odor that comes with a litter box. If you live in a safe area and your cat travels outside of the home then it is very well possible to house break your cat just as you would a dog. Cats are known for being highly intelligent creatures, and with a little practice and patience you can ditch the box and get kitty to go outdoors. Mr. Purple (my Maine Coon) had no problems accomplishing this goal, and neither did the two cats I had before him.


1. Wait till your cat is mature

You have to be realistic with your expectations, so it’s best to wait until your kitten is mature enough to navigate their way outdoors. An older kitten or grown cat should be able to figure their way around your home just fine and can adapt to changes that a young kitten can not yet grasp.


2. Look for signs that your cat is “ready”

You wouldn’t want to force your cat to do anything that they are not ready for, and if you have a cat that travels outdoors you should take notice that they are beginning to use their litter box less frequently due to outdoor excursions. Having the freedom to go out in nature might be more appealing to them rather that in a confined box with a closed lid.


3. Stick with the same point of entry and exit

To enforce a routine, let your cat in and out of the same door. This is important for once you begin to transfer the litter box outside.

3879818705_287a73381d_zSource: HuTDoG83 via Flickr

4. Gradually begin to move the box closer to the exit/entry door

As the days progress start to move the litter box closer to the door so that ultimately the litter box is right beside it. You’ll obviously want to keep the litter box super clean or plan to implement housebreaking when you don’t have a lot of traffic coming in and out of your home. This is a time to dedicate to you and your cat, so it’s important to focus on them during this crucial phase.

3670694196_b09084655d_zSource: jason carlin via Flickr

5. Move the litter box outside on the patio

This step is crucial and has to be implemented once you feel that your cat is ready. It’s best to check the weather report for the week because you wouldn’t want to begin this step if storms and/or heavy rain are expected. Some cats might be attracted to water, but no cat wants to get caught out in a thunderstorm. Once the litter box has been moved onto the patio/back porch, show your cat the new location of the box so they can start to understand.

2359285044_8d620b4851_zSource: Joaquin Pueche via Flickr

6. Litter box removal time

After one week (or longer if you think your cat might need it) it’s time to remove the litter box completely. You may start to notice that your cat has gradually lessened its usage of the box as the days progressed and by one week’s time they may have ceased using it entirely. This is a positive indication of things to come! And as a suggestion, remove the litter box when the cat is not watching.

6536338273_2da26dbbe2_zSource: Erica Zabowski via Flickr

7. Keep your cat in an enclosed space while away from home

If you need to step out of the house for a bit, and don’t want to leave your cat in the house without a litter box, try keeping them in the laundry room or a bathroom so they don’t have free reign of the home. If your cat sleeps indoors at night it’s good to keep with this practice to prevent accidents. Cats are tidy animals, and less likely to dirty up a small space with their own waste. As soon as you’re home, or wakeup from an evening of sleeping, let them out immediately so they can go do their thing.

2928016800_e14d8cb225_zSource: animakitty via Flickr

8. If your cat has trouble realizing where to go, try sprinkling some litter outdoors

Cats are fond of using flowerbeds as their choice of outdoor bathrooms, so it might be good to sprinkle some litter in these areas if you have them to indicate to them the areas that are safe for them to go. Not all cats need these signals so use only if needed or if problems arise.


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