From Indoor to Outdoor

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How do I switch my cat from an indoor litter box to outdoors?

From Indoor to Outdoor

Some Cat-tips users have asked how to train a kitty who is Litter Box Trained, to go outside to do their business. This is what I recommend.

1. Put a second litter box outside by your back door, so Kitty has her choice of boxes. (understand, though, that once you put a litter box outside, other kitties will use it to mark their territory. so you will need to change that one a little more often.) Add some dirt to the litter in this box, to encourage her to use the 'dirt' for a litter box as well.
2. Scoop up some of her 'dirty litter' and solid waste from her old box, and put in in the new box, so she will understand what it is for. Introduce her to the new box, and give her lots of praise and affection for investigating the new box. Don't expect her to use it in front of you, just let her check it out and back away.
3. Leave her current indoor box in place. You don't want her to have accidents on the carpet during the training phase. And you may want to leave a box there all the time anyway. Potty Training is a delicate operation, and once they have learned to use a box, then you don't want to tinker with that training or it could set up a whole new set of problems. So, for now, leave her indoor box in place.
4. After a couple of weeks, start putting citrus rinds in her indoor box. Lemon, orange, grapefruit, lime: put those types of fresh rinds in her indoor box, to discourage her from using it. Cats don't like the smell of citrus rinds. BUT YOU MUST BE THERE ALL THE TIME TO HEAR HER CRIES TO GO OUTSIDE.
5. After a few more weeks, and you notice that she doesn't use her indoor box at all, then you can take it away.

But my best suggestion is to leave an indoor Litter Box in place. I respect the distaste of the odors it causes, but Litter Box Training is very critical and trying to tinker with that training could set up more disasters.

I've had much better results with the scoopable litter and enclosed boxes. I put mine under the bathroom sinks to control the odor, but I've also used covered litter boxes with good results. You can prop the door under the sink open, or install a petdoor (see my section on Litter Box Blues for other details.)

My thoughts are that this indoor box is a much better choice for Kitty than boarding her when you must be gone overnight. And if you were to leave her outside while you must be gone overnight, this will encourage her to leave permanently since YOU left her behind.

I am most concerned about vacations, and weekend trips. With an indoor box, you can leave Kitty in the house and have a Kitty sitter come over for a couple hours a day. Much cheaper, and easier on Kitty, than Boarding her while you are away. And if you take Kitty with you while you travel, you need to re-enforce the use of the indoor litter box. So, either way, I don't recommend eliminating the indoor litter box.



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