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When Is It Too Late To Litter Train A Cat?

When Is It Too Late To Litter Train A Cat?

Cats are naturally clean animals, and it’s highly likely that they will begin using the litter tray for defecation at a very early age. Many kittens watch their mothers defecate, and then bury their feces in the sand, and instinctively begin to imitate this behavior.

Of course, in order to master this process, the cat needs some time to practice.

With this in mind, most owners will find that any kitty will be very easily trained to defecate in their litter box. However, this isn’t always the case. Some of you may adopt a cat that has already matured and hasn’t been taught where to defecate.

Since this behavior should be learned while the cat is still very young, does this mean that you will not be able to train your cat to use the toilet properly at all? When is it too late to litter train a cat?

Let’s find out more information about this topic.

At What Age Is A Cat Too Old To Be Litter Trained?

gray kitten in a blue litter box

There isn’t an age limit for teaching a cat to use the litter train, actually. The truth is that your cat might refuse to use the litter train, but this has nothing to do with her age.

This might have to do something with the litter train – maybe your cat simply doesn’t approve of it. Or, perhaps the location doesn’t suit her, so she will choose another place to defecate.

Furthermore, if you have another cat in your household, your cat might refuse to share her litter box. Two cats shouldn’t share the same litter box, since this can cause them to become territorial, or even aggressive.

Therefore, it’s never too late to litter train a cat, provided, of course, your cat is healthy and perfectly capable of defecating on her own.

You’ll just need to maintain persistence and patience, ensuring that you’re following the proper steps for litter training.

Even if your cat has been an outdoor cat before, and she used to defecate anywhere in nature, you can still learn here the place where she should defecate, regardless of her age.

Bear in mind that cats are highly intelligent and adaptable: You just need to gently steer them in the right direction and perhaps set things up to align with their preferences.

How To Litter Train A Cat?

cat looking at a litter box

There are a couple of crucial steps to litter train a cat successfully – they are the same no matter how old your cat is. There might be one difference, however.

It might take up a bit more time for an older cat to get to the terms with the litter train. The most important thing here is to be patient, persistent, and not to put pressure on your cat.

Let’s take a look at the most important steps for a cat’s litter training.

1. Get Your Cat Familiar With The Litter Train

The most important thing is to get your cat comfortable around the litter train. After you set up her “toilet”, you should let her sniff around and explore it on her own terms. Don’t rush her up.

The best times to introduce your cat to the litter box are after she’s had a meal or a nap since these are the times when she’s more likely to defecate.

Hill’s Pet also suggests that you shouldn’t distract your cat while she’s in the litter box. You should be aware that there isn’t a single answer to the question of how long does it take to litter train a cat.

Some cats will master this in a few days, while others will need a couple of weeks to figure out the toilet thing.

2. Choose The Right Location

A cat might refuse to use the litter train if she dislikes the location of it.

Therefore, it’s crucial to select the right spot for your cat’s restroom within your home. This should be somewhere where your cat can have all the privacy and quiet she needs, and also away from her food and water bowls.

The bathroom might be the best place for some cats, while some could even enjoy the garage as a perfect spot to have time for themselves.

Another thing you should keep in mind is to avoid changing the place of your cat’s litter train. You should keep the location you choose in the first place, since changing the place of the litter train might be confusing for your cat.

3. Keep The Litter Train Spotlessly Clean

Since cats are so clean, they are likely to refuse to defecate in a dirty litter train.

Therefore, you should make sure your cat’s place to defecate is perfectly clean. A cat’s litter train should be scooped out every day, as suggested by Pet Health Network.

By keeping her toilet clean, you’ll encourage your cat to use it properly. Also, this will positively affect her urination and bowel movements and make them regular.

Another crucial point to remember is to avoid using excessive chemical cleaning products around your cat’s litter box, as strong odors can also deter her from using it.

Read Next: Best Handheld Vacuum For Cat Litter

What To Do If You Are Unable To Litter Train Your Cat?

cat sitting next to a litter box

It might happen that nothing seems to be working – and once again, your cat’s age doesn’t have to be the deciding factor here.

If you have taken all the above mentioned steps, but your cat still doesn’t seem to be using her litter train, there might be a health reason behind this.

Your cat could be dealing with cystitis or urinary tract infection, which could prevent her from urinating properly.

Also, joint pain could disable your cat from accessing the litter train. 

Moreover, your cat might be experiencing stress and anxiety, possibly triggered by some environmental changes.

In this situation, the best thing to do is to consult a veterinarian. If there is a health problem that needs to be solved, it’s crucial to react as soon as possible to ensure your cat can properly expel waste in the appropriate place.

Final Thoughts

When is it too late to litter train a cat?

Even if you have a senior cat that seems to have trouble using a litter train, you shouldn’t be desperate. The age limit doesn’t exist when it comes to teaching your cat to defecate in a proper place!

The truth is that this process might be a bit longer with an older cat, since young kittens learn everything faster.

However, with a proper introduction, choosing the right location, and keeping the litter train cat, your cat should acquire this process successfully. 

Also, you should be patient with your furry friend, and reward her when she uses the litter train properly. Even if her progress seems to be slow, don’t push her, and never punish her for defecating outside the litter train.

Still, despite the right approach, some cats might struggle with litter box training. If this is the case with your cat, the best would be to reach out to a veterinarian.

Read Next: How to Potty Train a Cat Without a Litter Box