Maybe you're ready to rearrange your home, but now you're wondering if you can move your cat's litter box. You've probably heard horror stories of cat owners who tried to move their cat's litter box only to discover "accidents" on the carpet or around their home. If you’re looking for answers about moving your cat’s litter box, you’ve come to the right place! We have all the information you need if you need to get a litter box from point a to point b with no mistakes in between.
You can move a cat litter box if you do it the right way. Cats are creatures of habit. When you move your cat's litter box, don't do it suddenly. If you move it gradually, your cat will feel more comfortable and less anxious about the change. And remember, when putting a kitty litter box in a new location, it's important to choose a great new location.
We did some research to find out the facts about moving a cat’s litter tray. Keep reading below to learn how to avoid confusion and make the transition easier for our favorite feline friend.
Should you even move the litter box?
If your cat is already using the box diligently, any change needs to be very carefully weighed beforehand. You must have a reason for wanting to move the box, but does it justify the risk of litter box problems and inappropriate elimination?
With some cats, no matter how much you try to make the move the right way, there may be problems.
Make sure you have enough litter boxes
The formula for the number of litter boxes goes:
The number of cats + one.
So, even if you only have one cat, you should have two litter boxes. Whenever you're thinking about moving a box, always keep one box still as you move the other one gradually. This way, your cat has at least one reliable "working" dump station while you're moving the other one.
What you should do before you move a cat litter box
Before you move your cat's litter box, there are some considerations you should take into account. Here are a few tips to ensure your cat experiences the least amount of stress and confusion during this transition.
Consider the Pros and Cons
Before you move a litter box, it’s essential to discuss the pros and cons of the new location with family members. It's best to avoid playing a game of "now you see it, now you don't" with your cat and their litter box. If your cat is confused and isn’t sure where the litter box is, they’re likely to have an accident. Important factors to contemplate:
A litter box needs to be in the right spot for your cat. Location is critical if you want them to use it consistently. If it’s going to be difficult for you to access for cleaning, it'll be difficult for them to use. It's vital to place a litter box in a room where doorways are clear. Keep doors open and ensure there aren't any obstructions blocking your cat from their litter box.
When considering moving your cat’s litter box, also take in to account the noise level. Avoid rooms where there are consistent loud noises, such as a music studio space, an area children frequent, or near a noisy window where heavy machinery is in use. The sound might startle your pet cat and make them fearful of entering the room where the litter tray is.
Consider your cat's sense of safety and preferences. Cats are all different and have varying needs. Some cat's like more privacy, therefore, you may want to use a hooded cat box. Bigger cats require a large litter box meaning you'll need to place the box in a room with more space. If you have multiple cats, you'll need more than one litter box. Ideally, depending on how many cats you have, you should have an equal amount of litter boxes plus one.
And believe it or not, there's even more to choosing the optimal location for any litter box. We have a complete guide dedicated just to this topic: Where to Put the Litter Box? a Concise Room-By-Room Guide
How to move a cat litter box
There are a few things you should consider when moving a kitty litter box. Change can be stressful for your pet, but some simple planning can make the process go much smoother.
Take your time
Gradually move your cat's litter box. Take your time getting the litter box to the new location. Each time you move the litter box on the way to its new place, gently show your cat where it is.
Prepare yourself for accidents your cat may make and remember to stay patient. Your cat will learn faster and respond better to kindness rather than frustration. Don’t scold your cat for making a mistake. Have confidence your cat will adjust to this change when they’re ready and be ready to support them during the transition.
Introducing a new litter box
If you're hoping to move not only the location of the litter box but also replace the litter box, the steps remain the same. Gradually move the old litter box to the new litter box in the new location. When your cat understands that new litter box is in its final destination, you may dispose of the old litter box.
Moving to a new home
Moving to a new home is a significant change for your pet! A brand-new environment with new smells can be overwhelming, especially if a pet previously lived in the home. Limit disruption for your pet by keeping them comfortable. Move your cat last if possible. Allow your pet to remain in one room with their litter box until it's time to go. Once in their new house, take your cat to their new litter box location. Gently place and scratch their paws in the sand. Spend time with their cat in the new room, speaking softly and petting them. Show your cat that this is a safe space and give them time to adjust to their new home.
Behaviors caused by moving a litter box
If your cat displays traits or behaviors that are out of character, you may have moved their litter box too suddenly, or they may not like their new space.
If your cat is eliminating waste outside of the litter box, your cat may be upset with the change. Sometimes it’s urine or feces and sometimes both. Cats will often communicate their feelings via excrement, so if they’re defecating outside of their litter tray, they might be trying to tell you they're unhappy.
What if your cats no longer bury their waste? If you have multiple cats and they share a litter box, the alpha cat might not cover their excrement. However, if your cat usually takes the time to kick sand after they use the bathroom and you’ve noticed they no longer do this, it might be because of their new litter box location.
You may need to thoroughly clean your cat’s litter box, change your cat’s litter, or find a new place for the litter box. You may need to start over, place the litter in the original location, and try moving it again later but at a more gradual pace.
How do cats find their litter box?
Cats can find their little box based on the scent. Even if you’ve cleaned the litter box, they’re still likely to detect the smell. Cats will follow their scent and consistently use the same location to use the bathroom. Most cats instinctually know how to use a litter tray. In fact, wild feral cats cover their feces in an attempt to mask their scent from predators. If you’re training a kitten to use a litter box, or have a new cat in your home, you might need to remind them where the litter box is the first few times. After they’ve used the box, it will become easier for them to trace the scent and they’ll quickly get the message where to go.
Can you move your cat litter box outside?
If your cat is strictly an indoor cat - then the answer is "No". Never force an indoor-cat to take his business outside. He or she will get so stressed over having to leave the safety of their home, they're more than likely to just use your rug or floor instead. And don't blame that for doing so.
Generally speaking, most experts agree that it's best to keep cats indoor-only. Doing so protects our precious felines from the many dangers lurking outside: Disease, parasites, catfights, dogs, road accidents and vicious humans (to name just a few).
If your cat already goes outside to play and has free access to the outdoors, you may want to consider moving one of their litter boxes just to try and protect your lawn from digging. Make sure the outdoor box is in a secure area and don't forget to have a least one more box indoors - preferably two.
Even if your cat can adjust to using only an outside box, it's only a matter of time before something will discourage her from doing so. A dog prowling the neighborhood, bad weather or just the aching joint of old age will make a cat go on the floor or in your bed - instead of getting outside.
At the very least, use a cat flap to allow Kitty free access to her outdoor litter box. Never ever make a cat wait for you to open the door in order to go potty.
An indoor/outdoor cat door, such as the popular Ideal Pet Products Cat Door can give your pet the freedom to go in and out as they please while encouraging them to use their litter box whenever needed. If you can’t install a pet door, you will need to train your cat to alert you, by scratching at the door, ringing a small bell, or meowing for your attention.
That's it! Your cat should now be aware of the new litter box location. But remember, be confident in your cat and always be patient with your pet. Give them time to adapt to this change.
Be patient while your cat adjusts to change and nurture them throughout the process. You'll likely find the adjustment period is more comfortable for your pet and your cat will be more likely to accept the new litter box location.
Read more about litter boxes
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