The first step in retraining a cat to use the litter box after a UTI is thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting the cat’s litter pan and the surrounding area.
Start by removing all the old litter, taking care not to leave any bits of urine or feces behind, as this can remind your cat of where it previously went to the bathroom.
After scrubbing and disinfecting the entire area, replace the litter with fresh, unscented litter and ensure the container is filled at least two inches deep.
The next step in retraining a cat to use the litter box after a UTI is to create an inviting environment by placing it in a quiet location away from the hustle and bustle of other household activities.
It is also essential to provide easy access in and out of the box, preferably without jumping over anything or climbing too high up.
You can encourage your cat to use the litter by placing her favorite toys and treats close by as a reward for using it correctly. Also, give her plenty of praise and affection for going to the right spot.
Finally, be patient with your cat and stick to a regular schedule. Cats naturally gravitate towards routines, so try to create one you and your cat can adhere to.
Give them time each day to use the litter box without interruption or distractions, and be consistent with her visits until she gets used to the routine. With patience, your cat should soon be using the litter box as usual.
Retrain Your Cat to Use a Litter Box After a UTI (In-depth steps)
Move the Litter Box
Often enough, simply changing the litter box’s location can be enough to remove any negative associations your cat has.
For example, it may very well be that your cat thinks of that room as where it was in pain rather than the box itself. This is a great place to start simply because just moving your box from one room in the home to another is one of the most straightforward solutions.
When finding a new litter box location, keeping your cat’s preferences in mind will be essential. Many cats hate having to go in noisy or public areas, so they’ll continue searching for spaces they feel comfortable in.
Try moving your box to a more secluded space in the home, such as a mudroom or a closet in the spare room. The more isolated and removed the box is, the better. This way, your cat can feel secure and safe as it tries to reacclimate to the idea. This will help you to Retrain Your Cat to Use a Litter Box After a UTI.
Make the Litter Box Something Fun
Another great option to help retrain your cat to associate better things with the litter box is to play there. Try bringing in their favorite toys and playing with them near the box This will help them spend more time in that space with more positive associations rather than just thinking about when they were in pain.
However, make sure you remember not to throw toys into the box itself. Cats are notoriously picky about cleanliness, and throwing toys around where they are meant to go to the bathroom can push you three steps backward.
Also, since cats care so much about cleanliness, ensure you don’t use any of their toys with treats inside. Cats will hate the idea of mixing where they eat with where they relieve themselves, and this could end up causing you even more significant problems in the future regarding what toys they’ll use, what kind of treats they’ll eat, and more. Better to be safe than sorry and stick with plastic balls or other catnip and threat-free options.
Don’t Force Things
While you may be able to force a dog into going to the bathroom where you want them to, cats are a completely different subject. Cats must be allowed to choose to use the litter box on their own, or you may as well kiss your carpeting and shoe collection goodbye.
Cats are naturally highly independent and private creatures, so having someone force them to relieve themselves anywhere can severely blow their pride.
While it may be incredibly frustrating to deal with initially, staying patient during retraining will be key. Ensure your cat feels that this decision is of their own making rather than something you’re encouraging them to do.
Cats naturally want to bury these things in the dirt, you just need to remind them that this is what they want to do on their own. Retraining your cat to use a litter box after a UTI may take time, but it will undoubtedly be worth it.
Keep the Litter Box as Clean as Possible
Again, cats are espotlessanimals. They hate getting themselves dirty, and having to climb through piles of urine or poop can be extremely off-putting and will often result in your cat looking for somewhere else to relieve themselves.
This is true even for cats who haven’t suffered from a UTI. As such, cleaning up the litter box and removing any litter clumps at least once, if not twice, a day will be essential.
Additionally, you’ll want to completely clean out your litter box with soap and water at least once a week so that any lingering smells aren’t making your cat look for another space to do their business.
If you’re worried about the smell, you can even pour a little baking soda into the box after it’s been cleaned Just remember not to use any scented cleaning products.
Cats have a much more sensitive sense of smell than we do, and an artificial scent can throw them into a fit.
Try Switching the Litter
Since cats have such sensitive noses, it may very well be that the negative association isn’t only with the space where your litter box is kept but also the smell of the litter itself. Changing the litter you use can be a great and easy way to address this problem quickly.
However, keep in mind that cats generally adjust better to this kind of change when you bring in an unscented litter that’s similar in size and texture to the litter they were using previously.
While you certainly want them to feel that this is something new and untarnished by the memories of their UTI, you also want them to have that familiarization that this is where they want to take care of business and be done with it.
Try Adjusting the Litter Depth
While you might think that the more litter you have in the pan, the better, this may not be true. Many cats, especially breeds with longer fur, will arefer to have a thin layer of litter they can dig to the bottom of.
While the reasoning for this is still unknown, the thought is that cats like knowing that they’ve reached as far down as they can go to bury what they’ve done.
Clean up Accidents Quickly and with an Enzymatic Cleaner
Cats often get into the habit of relieving themselves in the same place repeatedly, and smell has a lot to do with this. So while you might think you’ve cleaned up the mess thoroughly, your cats may still be able to pick up on a scent you’d never notice on your own.
When your cat goes to the bathroom outside of the litter box, you must use a high-quality enzymatic cleaner designed specifically to tackle animal urine and feces smells.
It’s also essential to spray most of the surrounding area since even the smallest droplet can be enough to encourage your pet to relieve themselves in the space again. Thorough cleaning with this product can help ensure that your pet wants nothing to do with space whatsoever, moving them back to using the litter box little by little.
Buy a New Litter Box
While you might have done everything you could to get those smells out of your old box and bought every new litter you could think of, it’s possible that your cat can’t bring themselves to use that box ever again.
Cats have incredible association skills, and they may remember all too well how they felt when they used that box in the past, and they’ll have no interest in continuing to use it now that they’re feeling better.
So buying a brand new litter box can be just the ticket to giving your cat the confidence it needs to try using the litter once again, rather than your shoes.
Make These Other Areas Less Appealing
Another important step you’ll need to take when retraining your cat to use a litter box after a UTI is to make all the other spaces in your home significantly less appealing. Of course, this may seem inconvenient, but it’s important to remember that it will be worth it in the long run.
For example, if your cat is fond of urinating where your living room curtains meet the floor, try lifting your curtains, so there’s too much opace between the two.
Your cat may have decided that urinating under your bed is a great space. Unfortunately, this space is often popular because it’s dark and secluded.
To remove this sense of comfort, try adding a motion-activated light to your bedroom for a bit, which can help deter your cat from relieving themselves where they know they’re being watched.
If your cat has taken a fancy to urinating on your brand-new fabric sofa, the best thing you can do is add a plastic cover. Not only will this help protect your furniture, but cats hate the feel and smell of plastic. Placing this over any space where they’ve decided to make their new area can be the best way to discourage this aggravating habit.
Play to Your Cat’s Preferences
Are you just having a horrible time trying to get your cat to pee anywhere other than this one specific spot? Then try moving the litter box there. It may very well be that this is the space where your cat feels most comfortable, and instead of inconveniencing yourself, turn this habit to your advantage.
Moving the litter box into this space can be a great way to give your cat the reassociation it needs to choose the box, rather than just that spot. After a few days, you can move the box again to its old location and see if the habit has stuck. If not, move the litter box into that area once again, wait a few more days, and give it another try.
Retraining your cat to use a litter box after a UTI can be a severe challenge. Cats do hate pain and will do anything they can to avoid that feeling even after they’ve been cured. However, by being patient and sticking with a plan, you can quickly get your cat back in the habit of using its litter box whenever they need it. Keep these tips in mind and start your retraining regimen today.
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