Introducing Your Cat to the Automatic Litter Box

What to Do if Your Cat Hates the Automatic Litter Box


cat hates the automatic litter boxYour cat’s got a routine down. For years (or maybe months, if he’s just a kitten), he’s been comfortable using his traditional, hand-cleaned litter box. Trouble is, you’re ready to move on and bring an automatic litter box into your home. Unfortunately, your cat might not be so thrilled with the idea.

To many cats, a moving, whirring litter box looks and sounds like a frightening monster. It’s normal for cats to be scared of the automatic litter box. Like most animals, cats also loathe change. If your cat hates the automatic litter box, he might need some convincing to help him get used to it.

Firstly, don’t expect your cat to use the automatic litter box at first if he has or is recovering from any type of health problems. Wait until your cat is fully recovered before introducing him to his new box.

When you bring your new automatic litter box home, your cat will probably be quite curious about the large, rather imposing box. Take the litter pan out of its box and allow the cat to sniff and examine it. The cat will soon see that this new box is nothing to fear. Of course, he also probably doesn’t know that this strange contraption is his new litter box yet.

Next, set the new litter box next to his old one, but don’t plug it in or turn it on yet (if it’s electronic). The cat will continue to use his old box, and he’ll grow more comfortable with the automatic box as time goes on. Leave the box turned off like this for a few days, or until your cat seems to no longer care about it.

After a few days, turn the box on and cycle it manually two to three times per day. This helps the cat get used to the sound. At first, the noise may spook him, so don’t get discouraged if he bolts under the bed. Do not run the litter box when your automatic litter box reviewscat is very close or when he’s using his old litter box.

After the cat seems used to the box and its sound, fill the new box most of the way full with new litter. If the box allows any type of litter, toss a scoopful of your cat’s old litter in it. Your cat will be able to pick up on his own smell in the litter, so he’ll be more inclined to get into the new box. If the box requires special new litter crystals or granules that your cat might not like, try putting a small amount of the old litter in there with it. You can stop doing it once the cat has acclimated to the box.

Don’t remove the old litter box once you’ve got the new one going. If your cat is afraid of the new box, he’ll want to continue using his old one for some time. If you take it away early, your cat won’t decide to go in the new box. He’ll just “go” on the floor instead.

Over time, your cat may get curious about the new box and decide to give it a chance. Encourage him with praise when he uses the new box successfully.

If the cat stubbornly refuses to use the new box, you can try refraining from cleaning the old one. Cats hate a dirty litter box, so if a clean option is available, he may opt for it instead. Be aware that this can backfire, though. Some cats might decide they’d rather urinate on the floor than use a new box that they hate.

After your cat has been using the new box for a few weeks, take the old litter box away. If the cat reverts to “going” on the floor, bring the box back. He’s not ready yet to use the automatic box full-time. Do not yell at or punish the cat if he goes on the floor. Doing so may make him even more afraid and wary to use the new box.

If your cat likes to pee or defecate only in the corner of the new box, his waste might get stuck there and be hard for the automatic box to clean. If that happens, your cat may start turning his nose up at the box. Help out by manually scooping the waste into the center of the box, then refilling the cat’s preferred corner with clean litter.

If your cat continues to have trouble accepting the new box, don’t give up the fight just yet. Consider buying a bag of Cat Attract litter. Cat Attract is available on Amazon, and it’s meant to help acclimate stubborn cats to their litter box. It’s got over 100 4.5 star reviews from very happy users who say the product really works. If you buy it on Amazon, you can even get free shipping.


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To learn more about general litter box training, read this in-depth article by the ASPCA: Remedial Litter Box Training