How can I train my cat to use an automatic self-cleaning litter box?

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Because automatic self-cleaning litter boxes are larger than conventional boxes and usually deeper, they are not suited for use with kittens. In some ways, however, this is good because when you do introduce the mechanical unit to your cat, it will plainly understand what it’s supposed to do with a box of sand.

To a large extent, it’s best to let the cat figure out this process on its own. Native curiosity will take over and send the cat to the box the first time, and then you will be able to gauge the animal’s reaction to the action of the box when it engages for the first time. Play it low key. Cats do not like effusiveness and they won’t be “made” to do anything.

Let the cat smell the box, swat it a few times to make sure it’s good and “dead,” and don’t fuss if your cat gets in and out several times activating the box over and over. If your cat is afraid and runs away the first time the box engages, just remove yourself from the equation. Make sure there’s an alternate box available for the first few days, but don’t leave it out too long, or your cat won’t get used to the new “monster” at all.

In reality, most cats do quite well with these boxes because they come to understand quickly that the noise is short-lived and completely predictable. They will also like the fact that their box is cleaner, drier, and smells better. Trust your cat’s native intelligence and his fastidious nature and you’ll be surprised how well he adapts to his new upscale box.

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