Training your cat to go to the bathroom outdoors can be a bit of a challenge, as cats are creatures of habit and prefer to use the litter box. However, as long as you have enough patience and use positive reinforcement, it is possible to successfully acclimate your cat to going to the bathroom outdoors. Here’s the training process:
Start using a cat litter box outdoors
Place the litter box where you want your cat to go to the bathroom. This helps get your cat to associate outdoor spaces with the behavior of going to the bathroom.
Over time, gradually move the litter box closer to the desired outdoor location. This helps the cat gradually adjust to the concept of going to the bathroom outdoors.
Introduce outdoor filler
Put some leaves, soil or sand in the litter box to mimic the outdoor environment. Cats often like to dig in softer filler, which helps motivate them to go potty outdoors.
Take your cat outdoors
Take your cat outdoors with a leash or secure enclosure. Let them explore the area and gradually acclimate to the outdoors. You might want to accompany her from the beginning to ensure her safety, especially if she has rarely been outdoors before or if there may be other animals in the area. Even if she sees the cat litter, it may take some time for her to realize that it is an acceptable place to go.
Carefully observe when your cat usually goes to the bathroom and take them outside at these times whenever possible. Cats have their own habits, and timing the potty breaks to suit them is important for successful training.
Use positive reinforcement
Encouraging positive behavior through methods such as providing treats, toys, or other rewards is the most effective approach for training a cat to use the bathroom outdoors. Reward your cat with treats and praise each time they use the assigned area, and refrain from using punishment or physical force if their behavior is not in line with your expectations. Employing negative tactics can instill fear in your cat and hinder the training process.
Remove the indoor litter box
Once your cat can consistently go to the bathroom outdoors, you can phase out the litter box in your home. Keep the outdoor option available, and continue with positive reinforcement.
Keep the area clean
Regularly clean the outdoor bathroom area to ensure your cat finds it appealing. Cats are more likely to use a clean and odor-free space.
Consider installing a cat door
As your cat will be entering and exiting frequently, it is advisable to have a pet door installed at this exit. These doors are readily available at your nearby home improvement store. It’s recommended to complete the installation either during the transitional phase or prior to commencing the training process. This gives them the independence to use the bathroom outside whenever they need.
Keep in mind that not all cats will be comfortable going to the bathroom outdoors, and some may prefer to use the litter box indoors. If your cat seems stressed or refuses to go potty outdoors, it’s essential to respect their preference and provide them with a comfortable indoor alternative. Also, if you have any concerns about your cat’s behavior or health, consult your veterinarian for advice.