Deciding to move your cat’s litter box can be a nerve-wracking project to both new and experienced cat owners. And potentially also to the cats in question. Most cat behavior is usually pretty predictable; they love their own routines and rituals, and this doesn’t exclude the litter tray! It’s usually best not to enforce change as stress can affect cat health, leading to house soiling and a change in cat behavior.
Is change worth the hassle?
However, life tends to throw us curve balls and changing things up is sometimes our only option. Maybe your cat is ‘experimenting’ with urine marking; you might have a decreasingly mobile elderly cat that is struggling to access the litter box. Or maybe you’re about to make the dreaded house move. You may even be having problems with litter scatter and be looking to change to a new type of litter first.
Whatever your reasons, you may be wondering – how can I move my cats litter box? You can avoid unnecessary litter box problems with the right tips and tricks from this article.
Considering an automatic litter tray?
If you are contemplating about getting an automatic cat litter box, we have put together the Ultimate Guide for choosing an automatic litter tray. You may even want to have a quick look at how these things look like and how do they work; here’s a quick video of our pick – the Petkit Pura Max.
Training your cat to use an automatic litter tray sure sounds like a completely new type of challenge. If you want to feel prepared, better read our handy guide on how to train your cat to use the automatic litter box, so you can feel more prepared.
Is it bad to move my cat’s litter box?
Changing any aspect of a cat’s litter routine is a risk. It can result in house soiling and maybe even urine marking, especially in male cats. This can either be a result of anxiety, a communication of discontent or simply an inability to recognise their new litter box as somewhere safe that they can ‘go’ in.
House soiling is not only brought on by a new location of the cat litter box but also by getting a new litter box or changing to a new style of litter (e.g., Clumping litter to crystal litter).
Cat behaviour is rooted in habit and routine. As a cat owner, you are responsible for minimising your pet’s anxiety by supporting their habitual nature.
Consider your reasons for change
Changing a litter box and/or its positioning is no small thing for your feline friend. It shouldn’t be a frequent adjustment in your home. Or one that you make without an essential reason. Deciding that you need a new litter box because your litter mat shade does not match the box or that your place needs a Feng shui renaissance isn’t really a valid reason. It also depends how easy going your cat is. But either way, this could land you in some smelly trouble when it comes to carpets.
There are certainly times when you’re left with no other option. Maybe a new veterinary medicine requires you to change to new kitty litter or an older cat can no longer get in and out of your covered litter box. Situations like this can leave you with no other choice but to move or change your litter box. With the correct method, you can make this as stress free and relaxing for all parties involved.
Can I move my cat’s litter box to another room?
As mentioned before, it’s never a good idea to dramatically change your cat’s litter box habits but if absolutely essential – yes. The short answer is – it is possible to move a cat’s litter box to another room.
7 Golden rules for your new litter box location
The cat may refuse to use the litter box if it doesn’t like where it is placed. They may start eliminating in other places. It’s important that you pay attention to your cat’s reactions and behaviours around its new litter box. It’s best to follow these 7 rules when choosing a new location.
- Cats prefer to be private when ‘doing their business’. Find an appropriate and secluded spot that’s not in a busy area of the home. We do not advise a hallway or other such frequently travelled area. A room that’s not frequently utilised every day is ideal, such as a laundry room (maybe look into scented litter if this idea puts you off).
- For the sake of you and your cat, we recommend not to keep a dirty litter box too close to cat food. You don’t want potential nasties from cat poop contaminating their dinner and becoming a danger to cat health.
- Avoid new destinations too close to electrical appliances such as washing machines, fridges or plug sockets.
- When picking a room, consider if this is a place that your cat visits voluntarily. Perhaps you want to choose a space that is ‘out of sight, out of mind’ for you. Somewhere dark and damp will most likely appeal to your cat as much as it appeals to you and this could result in your pet refusing it.
- It is important to pick a spot with adequate light so that your cat can see when they are going to the bathroom.
- Whichever room you choose should have constant access for your cat. Ensure your cat has easy access to their litter box by keeping doors open and removing any obstructions.
- For privacy, cats would prefer to use their new litter box in a discrete area of the room that is still easy to access. You should make sure that your cat feels hidden and protected while using the toilet. Animals in the wild may feel threatened or vulnerable when using the bathroom. Even though you know your home is safe your cat may not, so keeping them protected will help keep them happy and healthy.
Cat food near the litter box? Absolutely not!
Cat behaviour is very much routine orientated and they are also extremely clean and hygienic creatures by nature. It may be spatially efficient for you to keep all of your cat paraphernalia in one place but, unfortunately, this can potentially cause distress for your cat. You’ll need to keep your new litter box in a different location to your cat food and its water.
Your cat’s desire for clean living environments will also require you to frequently clean out their waste: a dirty litter box makes for a grumpy cat.
What happens when I move my cat’s litter box?
Moving your cat’s litter box can be a painless experience if completed with compassion and care. Brash and sudden changes can have messy (and smelly) consequences. Cats are particularly sensitive to sudden changes in environment and when it comes to a new litter box, this can result in them not making any conscious effort to seek out a new litter box when the old box ‘disappears’.
Is my cat happy with their new litter box location?
Seeing cat behavior or traits that are out of character may mean you have moved the litter box too suddenly. Or the cat is not comfortable in their new spot. At best, your cat could be particularly vocal, needy, or distant, at worse, they could result to urine marking or house soiling. It’s not uncommon for cats to communicate their feelings by leaving cat poop outside of their litter tray. If they do this, it might be an indication they’re unhappy.
Moving a cat’s litter box will most definitely be confusing for them, especially if they are senior of cognitively different. It’s important that you reward your cat for adjusting to the change with positive reinforcement. When your cat uses the new litter box correctly, reward them with a treat.
This may not always be a viable option; maybe they are taking a restrictive veterinary medicine or they are or on a diet. In this case you can try catnip or herbal remedies that could bring the cat some stimulating and harmless joy.
Can I move my cat litter box outside?
If your cat is a permanent indoor cat, moving its litter tray outdoors would be extremely dangerous and stressful for it. It would be likely that your cat would resort to house soiling in order to preserve their safety.
When it comes to the ‘indoor or outdoor’ debate, a lot of people believe that the safest way to live with a cat is to keep it indoors. Taking such precautions will protect our cats from the many dangers lurking outside: disease, parasites, catfights, dogs, road accidents, etc.
However, if your cat is happy and safe exploring in nature, you may want to consider experimenting with placing a new litter tray outside. This will protect a well-kept garden from your cat digging up freshly sewn seeds to bury their business!
Keep in mind when moving to outdoor litter
If you decide to try outdoor trays out, remember to consider the effect of the elements on the cat litter. This is where a covered box may come in handy.
And also, be prepared for potential new non-feline litter box users. Remember, an outdoor tray requires the same amount of maintenance and cleaning as an indoor tray.
How to change my cat’s litter box location?
There are two safe and successful methods to move your cat’s litter box from one room to another. Both require time, attention, and patience. The primary requirement for both methods is that you have purchased the best litter box and litter tailored to your cat.
Get your gear ready
There are a plethora of available boxes and new litter types that you can experiment with to find the best litter box for you and your cat. Some cats prefer the privacy of covered litter boxes whilst others are perfectly happy with the standard uncovered ones.
Remember that changing to a new type of fresh litter can have the same confusing effect to your cat as physically moving the litter box. Unscented litter or scented litter; clay litter and other types of clumping variations – some cat owners choosing to mix several. Whatever works for you and your cat, keep in mind there are certain dangers associated with some types of cat litter.
Method One – Slow change
The first method of introducing a new litter box routine is to move your cat’s litter box slowly, maybe a few inches a day, until it’s in the desired location. Slow change is always the best way to cater to cat behaviour.
Method Two – New litter box
The second method involves leaving multiple litter boxes out for a little while. Place your new litter box into the preferred room. Leave the original box in its place and allow your cat to scope out the new box without adding pressure. When they are comfortable with using the new litter box, you can remove the old litter box. For some cats this can take a while and could potentially require some experimentation with box and litter types.
What about changing the litter type?
If you’re planning on getting a new litter box; definitely make sure that you use the same litter your cat has been using since their last litter box change. Too many changes can anxiety your cat. It might even be beneficial to add a few scoops of litter from their existing litter box to the new litter box.
Even though the new litter box should be clean, a little litter from the old box can help draw them to it by adding some of your cat’s scent.
Tips and Tricks
- During the changing process, observe your cat so that you notice when they are getting close to going to the place where their old litter box was, then lead them (do not carry them) to the new place.
- Keeping a clean litter box is essential. If left dirty, cats can resort to boycotting the kitty litter tray all together. This can lead in them holding in urine and faeces thus causing some very painful (and very expensive) health conditions.
- Prepare yourself for pee and poop accidents – it’s kind of like potty training. Your cat can be a bit confused in the beginning, but try to remain patient. A cat that is treated with kindness will learn faster. They will respond better than one that is treated with frustration. Do not punish your cat for misunderstanding their new litter box routine. It’s important to trust that your cat will adjust when they are ready. Support them during this transition.
- If you are also changing to a type of new cat litter, try gently placing and scratching their paws in the new cat litter. This will help them to internally neutralise the threat of change and they get used to the texture.
- If you have multiple cats, remember that not all cats enjoy sharing litter boxes. You may end up in a position, where one of your cats takes to the new litter box immediately. However, the other one does not want to leave the old box. As a general rule of thumb, the formula for the number of litter boxes required is ‘how many cats you live with plus one box’. Meaning that even if you have one cat, they should have two available litter boxes. It could be that the best solution for you is to have multiple litter boxes to keep the kitties happy!