How Do I Get My Cat to Use the Litter Box After Moving?
Moving to a new home is an exhilarating process for everyone involved. It can generally go without saying that during a move, there are so many different aspects that you are going to need to get used to. This can apply several times over for pets who will absolutely not understand what has happened and why their entire world has seemingly changed. Chances are that if you have a cat, you will have dealt with a great amount of alleviating stress during the move.
Once you are all settled into the new house, it is usually a given that there will be some adjustments to make on your end, but what about helping your cat? One of the most difficult parts of a move for cats is helping the cat readjust to its new home. This can include making sure that the cat is comfortable and doesn’t feel the need to hide as well as helping the cat find some areas of the house to feel comfortable in.
A common problem that cats will have is that they may “forget” where their litter box is and begin eliminating inappropriately. This is the last thing anyone wants when moving into a new place. Thankfully, there are a few ways that you can help your cat adjust to its new litter box location.
Ruling Out the Medical Causes
It will be a given that your cat will be under a fair amount of stress during the move. For many cats, increased stress can result in the need to eliminate inappropriately even if they are aware of where their litter box is. To them, they need to make their environment smell like them and the most efficient way for a cat to do this is to urinate. Of course, by all standards, this kind of behavior is unacceptable; however, it may be one of the necessary inconveniences to consider when moving with pets. It may take a week or two for your cat to settle down in its new environment, and that is being optimistic.
You can consider talking to a vet about the idea of getting some anxiety-relieving medication for your cat if you feel that this level of stress is unwarranted. There are also many stress-relieving products that you can purchase for your cat in the form of treats, ointments, and pheromone-infused liquids that you can spray. However, more often than not, waiting for your cat to use the litter box after a move is going to be a matter of patience before anything else. After all, from your cat’s perspective, its entire world as it knew has been changed.
Make Sure That the Cat Is Aware of the Box
Another common problem that cats will have is that they may not know where their litter box has been moved to. The layout of your new house is likely going to be different than your old one and your cat is going to have to learn to navigate its new home. Even if you regularly keep the litter box in the bathroom, your cat is not going to classify that room as the “bathroom” so the placement of the litter box may not make sense to your cat. You can try to help it with this process by making absolutely certain that your cat is aware of the litter box.
While this may mean that the box is going to be in the way and in a location that you may not want it at first, it will be for your cat’s benefit .You can always move the box once you are sure that your cat is using it regularly again. What you will want to do is make sure that the litter box is in a location where the cat frequents and in a location that is easy for your cat to see and find. It should be kept away from food and water dishes as cats are clean animals who will not defecate near their food.
If your cat has defecated inappropriately in addition to urinating in the house, you can place the feces in the litter box to help it associate the litter box with its proper use as well. Once your cat has properly adjusted to the house, you can then move the litter box to a more suitable, out-of-the-way location.
Encouraging the Cat to Do the Right Thing
While much of the problem stems from the fact that your cat will be incredibly stressed during this process, there are some ways that you can help your cat feel more compelled to use the litter box. First, you will want to do what you can to eliminate spots where a cat may feel compelled to urinate. Many cats prefer corners that are out of the way, soft, and a combination of the two. You should try to keep anything and everything soft off the floor or else your cat may feel compelled to urinate on it.
If your cat has had accidents, you will also want to try to help them associate it with their litter box. In addition to placing the feces in the box itself, you will want to use a paper towel to clean it up if your cat urinates inappropriately. That paper towel should then go in the litter box so that its scent will help the cat properly adjust. The rest of the stain can then be cleaned as you normally would. You should never yell or punish the cat for eliminating inappropriately in this context as this will only add to the cat’s stress, causing it to lash out even further.
And finally, there are special stress-reducing treats, toys, and pheromones that you can purchase to try to take the edge off your cat’s stress. These will have varying effects on all cats and if you are using anything with medication in it, consider talking to the vet beforehand to ensure that it will be safe for your cat.