How to Train an Older Cat to Use a Litter Tray

Training an older cat to use a litter tray can be a challenging task, but with patience, consistency, and the right approach, it is definitely possible. Here are some tips on how to train an older cat to use a litter tray:

1. Choose the right litter tray: Make sure the litter tray is large enough for your cat to comfortably move around in. It should also have low sides for easy access. If your cat has mobility issues, consider getting a litter tray with a ramp or one that is specially designed for senior cats.

2. Select the right litter: Cats have individual preferences when it comes to litter. Experiment with different types, such as clumping, non-clumping, or natural varieties, to find the one that your cat prefers. Avoid heavily scented litters as they may discourage your cat from using the tray.

3. Find the right location: Place the litter tray in a quiet, easily accessible area where your cat feels comfortable. Avoid placing it next to noisy appliances or in areas with high foot traffic.

4. Introduce your cat to the litter tray: Show your cat where the litter tray is located. Gently place them inside and let them explore. If they walk away, bring them back to the tray periodically throughout the day.

5. Monitor their behavior: Watch for signs that your cat needs to use the litter tray, such as scratching the floor or sniffing. When you notice these signs, gently guide them to the tray and praise them when they use it.

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6. Maintain cleanliness: Scoop the litter tray daily and change the litter regularly. Cats are clean animals and may avoid using a dirty tray.

7. Be patient and consistent: Older cats may take longer to adjust to a new routine. Avoid scolding or punishing your cat if they have accidents outside the tray. Instead, clean up the mess and continue with the training process.


1. Why is my older cat suddenly not using the litter tray?
There could be several reasons, including medical issues, stress, or changes in their environment. Consult a veterinarian to rule out any underlying health problems.

2. How long does it take to train an older cat to use a litter tray?
It varies for each cat. Some may learn within a few days, while others may take weeks or even months. Patience and consistency are key.

3. Can I use a covered litter tray for my older cat?
Some older cats may prefer an open litter tray as it provides easier access. However, you can try a covered tray and see if your cat is comfortable with it.

4. Should I use a litter attractant?
Litter attractants can be helpful in encouraging cats to use the litter tray. It mimics the scent of urine, attracting the cat to the tray.

5. My older cat has arthritis. How can I make it easier for them to use the litter tray?
Consider using a litter tray with lower sides or a ramp to make it easier for your cat to enter and exit. You can also provide additional soft bedding for their comfort.

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6. What if my older cat still refuses to use the litter tray?
Consult with a veterinarian or a professional animal behaviorist to address any underlying issues and develop a tailored training plan.

7. Can I train an older outdoor cat to use a litter tray?
It may be more challenging to train an outdoor cat to use a litter tray, but it is not impossible. Start by gradually transitioning them to an indoor lifestyle and follow the training steps mentioned above.