How To Introduce Your Cat To A New Litter Box

April 12, 2018

Cats are creatures of habit. They are rarely fond of novelty and they are usually not big on trying out new toilets. However, just because your furry friend is not a fan of changes, it does not mean that you have to stick with the old litter box that does not really work for you.

If you want to make your life easier by getting one of the best litter boxes on the market but are not sure if your cat would approve, we are here to help facilitate the transition. Here are our top 5 tips for introducing your cat to a new toilet, plus an extra tip that can be of use if you are getting a self-cleaning litter box.

How To Introduce Your Cat To A New Litter Box

Location Is Crucial

Moving the litter box around is not a good idea simply because it confuses your cat. Thus, when you buy a new litter box, place it in the same spot where you used to keep the old litter box. This will help your cat understand that this new box performs the same function as the old one, speeding up the acclimation process.

Stop Cleaning The Old Litter Box

You should not throw out the old litter box as soon as the new one arrives. What you should do is place it next to the new box and try to make it less attractive by keeping it dirty. Cats prefer clean litter boxes, so if you stop cleaning the old one, your friend is likely to quickly switch to the new, clean box.

If you opt for a litter box with a simple design that cats are used to, like the super-popular and convenient Luuup, then you may not need to use any extra tricks. Your pal may recognize it as a cleaner version of the old litter box and start using it as soon as the old one gets too dirty.


Cats have an extraordinary sense of smell and they like familiar scents. To make the new litter box more appealing, try pouring some of the used litter into the new box. Your cat is sure to recognize the scent and it is more than likely to cause her to “trust” the new litter box more. Familiar is safe and safe is good, so if the new litter box has something familiar about it, it seems safer and friendlier.

Although this trick works really well, you should keep in mind that some litter boxes work with a limited range of litters. For example, sifting and automatic litter boxes mostly work with clumping litter while some self-cleaning litter boxes like CatGenie do not use litter at all. Thus, you need to make sure that the old, used litter is suitable for the new litter box. Otherwise, it may cause more harm than good, as it may cause malfunctions, clogging, and other litter-related problems.

Treats, Toys & Catnip

To help form positive associations with the new litter box, you can use anything your cat likes. Try placing your friend’s favorite treats and toys in and around the new litter box or spray some catnip on the entrance or step mat. You can also give your cat treats every time he or she approaches or explores the new litter box. That way, you are letting your pal know that using the new litter box is the right thing to do.

Praise, Support & Reassurance

Positive emotions work the same way as treats. If you praise your cat when he or she uses the new litter box or just shows interest in it, you show your cat that you approve of such actions and make your cat feel better about it.

Likewise, you should never force your cat to use the new litter box because this may make him or her associate the new litter box with negative emotions. You should let it all come naturally and support and reassure your cat along the way. Stay in the same room when your cat explores the new litter box, pet and praise your friend, and soon enough, your feline friend may replace the old litter box with the new one.

Bonus Tip For Self-Cleaning Litter Boxes

Self-cleaning litter boxes inevitably emit noise, which can be unpleasant from the cat’s perspective. Plus, the cleaning cycle may involve strange movements that may frighten your cat. If you get a self-cleaning litter box, you should wait before you let your cat see how the cleaning works.

Self-Cleaning Litter Boxes

Introduce your cat to this new litter box the same way you would with any other litter box but make sure you do not allow the device to start the cleaning cycles automatically for the first couple of days. You should start the cycles manually when your cat is not around. Once your cat starts using the new box regularly, you can show him or her how the cleaning cycle works. However, it is important not to leave your cat alone but be around to provide support in case he or she finds the strange, noisy process scary. If you are there to provide reassurance, your cat will feel more at ease.

Bottom Line

When introducing your cat to a new litter box, it is important to keep the box in the same location as the old one and make it more attractive by keeping the old box dirty and the new one clean and sprinkled with toys, treats, and other likable items.

Furthermore, you can make the new litter box seem friendlier by adding some used litter and praising your cat whenever he or she is around the new litter box. Positive emotions are the key to a quick and smooth transition, so as long as you help your cat form positive associations with the new litter box by offering treats, support, and praise, the acclimation process is likely to be short and painless.

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