Although not totally natural, most cats seem to be born with good litterbox instincts. Even so, there are a few specific things you can do to improve your chances of never finding urine or feces in the middle of your Persian Rug.
Regardless of the size of your cat, get (or make) the biggest litterbox you can fit into your home. Cats love to have room to walk around, roll over, stretch, and scratch before they get down to serious business. A big box with lots of headroom is nearly always more inviting than a short, cramped container. Think Executive Washroom versus Honey Bucket.
Don’t be afraid to try different litter types. The most popular forms are the fine-grained clumping litters, the natural source litters (wheat or corn cob), and those produced from recycled papers. The least tolerated are any litter type with perfumes, scents, or other chemical additives, so try to avoid those if you can.
Just as in Real Estate, location is paramount. High traffic areas of the home are seldom a good choice, nor are rooms with loud noises like laundries and kitchens. Cold, cement floors leading to a litterbox are also a major turn-off for cats. Quiet, yet easily accessible are the goals to keep in mind at first. Feel free to experiment with more than one litterbox (in different parts of the home) for a period of time, to see if your cat displays a definite location preference.
In general, anything you can do to make the litterbox more attractive to the cat will go a long way in helping your pet to establish good habits, and keep your home clean.
Congratulations on your new acquisition; you will certainly enjoy your time together! If you have never cared for a cat before, don’t worry too much, it is not difficult, nor is it time consuming. There are really only three major areas to focus upon:
First, be sure to offer top quality food (both canned and dry forms) that is specifically formulated for your cat’s age. Feed kitten food to young cats, adult food to middle aged cats, and a geriatric formula to older cats. In most circumstances, the more expensive the food is, the higher the quality, so stick to the name brands that cost a little more; it will be a much healthier diet.
Second, although not completely instinctual, cats tend to be pretty knowledgeable about what to do within the litterbox. Try to establish the largest, most ventilated litter area that you can in your home. Cats generally prefer the soft, sandy, clumping litters (without any perfumes or odor enhancers) inside of containers with high walls and plenty of head and legroom. Don’t be shocked if your cat likes to roll around in there when it’s clean; that is perfectly natural.
Third, don’t even think about using a telephone book or some Internet service to locate a good veterinary facility. Ask your friends, your co-workers, your family, and even that pet crazy neighbor across the street for advice on a good doctor. After a couple dozen replies, you will note that the same 3 or 4 names keep popping up. That is now your short list of potential veterinary advisors, and you need to visit their offices and see if you like the care they offer. Every part of the world has different types of diseases, parasites, and environmental factors that could affect your cat’s health, so you want to develop a relationship with a veterinarian that you can communicate with to help you do your best to prevent those disorders common to your region.
Providing excellent nutrition, clean living space, and top-notch veterinary care are the most important things you can do to help your new pet live a full and long life.