do cats instinctively know how to use a litter box

Many cats and kittens will instinctively use a litter box without needing to be taught, because of their instincts to expel bodily waste in dirt or sand. Therefore, with a new kitten, owners usually need to simply show the kitten where the litter box is located, and how to get in and out.

Complications to the Instinct

Although all cats have a natural instinct to use the litter box, not all cats will necessarily want to walk in their ancestors’ footsteps. If your cat starts to deviate from their regular bowel habits, it might be due to the surroundings instead. It’s interesting to note that your cat may be trying to communicate with you by avoiding the litter box. Of course, this message could mean many things.

For example, cats will not use litter boxes that are too small for them to bury because they need enough room to bury their droppings. Growing older cats should have their litterboxes sized larger to avoid this problem. Cats, on the other hand, detest enclosed spaces because they can’t always flee quickly. Because of this, keeping an enclosed litter box or placing one in a closet may terrify your cat and make them leave. Furthermore, cats are hygienic animals that bathe and groom themselves on a regular basis. Thus, an animal that is naturally clean would probably turn its nose up at a dirty litter box. Avoiding this issue can be achieved by cleaning at least twice a week. If there appears to be no issue with the arrangement or the box itself, your cat might be exhibiting symptoms of health issues by losing self-control. Seeing a veterinarian could be a good idea in this situation.

The Mystery Behind the Litterbox

The truth is that cats are born knowing how to use a litterbox; they only learn a little bit from their mothers. In fact, cats are born knowing how to use a litterbox instinctively! Like humans do when we’re young, a cat already associates the litter box with potty time by the time they’re active young kittens.

This deeply ingrained instinct is a holdover from the fierce ancestors of cats, who had to hunt and flee from predators on a daily basis in order to survive. Cats gradually developed the ability to bury their waste, which gave them an advantage when hunting by hiding their scent from both predators and prey. As a result, your cat has the same instinct whether they were raised as a domestic pet or were once feral. Consequently, cats will look for a place to bury their waste. Your cat is not likely to try to use another location in your home as a litter box if there is only one area that has this characteristic.

Do cats Have to be trained to use a litter box?

Naturally, cats and kittens will bury their waste products to hide them from view. Since the litter tray is typically the only location in our homes where this behavior occurs, it is simple to “train” them to use the litter box.

While some cats will use a litter box on their own, others may require some guidance. If your cat appears to be ready to go potty, place them in the tray or give them a cue when it’s appropriate (like after eating, playing, or sleeping).


Will a stray cat know how do you use a litter box?

If kittens are born outdoors, mom may designate a clump of leaves or some soft ground as the bathroom. Recently homed feral and stray cats may have to be actively trained to use a box filled with clay litter, especially if they have been imprinted on something else. While some strays catch on quickly, others don’t.

Do cats know how do you use litter box?

Cats are not born knowing how to use a litter box. Kittens learn about the bathroom from mom. When we give them a plastic box with litter in it we have to teach them to use this as their bathroom. Pet your cat, give a him a treat or engage in a play session every time he uses the litter box.

How does a cat know to pee in a litter box?

But cats are born with the instinct to dig and cover their waste. Theoretically, she says, if you place an appropriate litter box in a room, a cat or kitten will use it. Stray cats transitioning from outdoor to indoor life also know what to do, but they might insist on using your houseplants rather than the litter box.

Do cats understand when you move their litter box?

Cats are generally able to find their litter box even if it is moved to a new location. However, it is important to remember that cats are creatures of habit and may become confused or disoriented if their environment is changed too dramatically.