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Housebreaking Your Cat

Aug 17, 2007
Your new cat's first few weeks in your home is a critical time. You will be laying the groundwork for your new relationship. Remember that cats are similar to people in a way that first impressions are important. If this is your first cat, get ready for one of life's great pleasures. Cats are great! But they can be problems if you go against their nature.

Housebreaking a cat is different than housebreaking a dog. Dogs need to be trained to go to the "bathroom" which is outside the house. From age one month, cats naturally use the litter box. Housebreaking a cat means to teach him to use the scratching post and to develop a bond with people.

Confinement is a necessary part of housebreaking a cat. Use a bathroom if you can. It should be large enough to have the litter box at least four feet or so from a clean area for his bed, food, water and scratching post. If you cannot use a bathroom, cover any furniture so the only thing he can scratch is the scratching post. If there is a window, make sure that he cannot get out and it is not leaking cold drafts.

Bring the cat home in a carrier. Your new cat may be scared and intimidated by the new situation. Then again, maybe he will be out happily exploring the house on the first day. Whatever the case, you do not want to give any cat more than he can handle. To be safe, take him directly to his confinement room or nursery and close the door. It is a good idea to have a wet meal that is canned, homemade or cooked food, ready before you let him out of his carrier. Keep in mind that first impressions are important.

Have only one person in the room when the cat is first allowed outside the carrier. Another person may overwhelm him, at least during the first hour. When opening the carrier door, speak very gently and encouragingly. Be friendly and sensitive. If he walks towards you, say encouraging words and his name with pride and joy. To help him get acquainted with the surroundings, show him the wet meal and the litter box. If he runs and hides, do not use his name or say much until he is more relaxed.

Keep his first day as positive, gentle and quiet as possible by limiting the number of visitors. If possible, sit with him through wet meals and for a half hour to an hour before leaving him alone in his room. By then he will probably want to nap. Keep a radio on low volume and provide a night light when it is dark to keep him company.

Until your new cat sees a vet, wash your hands after you pet him and before you handle other pets. If you have other cats, be sure to give them extra attention during the first month or so of the new arrival so they do not get jealous. Place the empty cat carrier in a room where your other cats can check it out. This will acquaint them with the smell of the new cat.
About the Author
Tristan Andrews writes useful articles about cats and kittens. Discover and explore the feline world. Find out how to better care for, train and live with your cat at http://www.i-love-cats.com
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