How To Introduce a New Litter Box To Your Cat: Our Top Tips

By Davis Wilkins •  Updated: 11/28/22 •  7 min read
Cat in litter box

Have you been thinking about introducing a new litter box to your cat but are overwhelmed with all the possibilities?

You’ve discovered the perfect litter box for your cat, but getting your cat to use it can be a challenge.

Cats often don’t like change. This is especially true when it comes to litter boxes.

Once your cat is familiar with a specific location for their box, introducing a new litter box can be a challenging task.

It happens eventually. Your cat grows old and develops incontinence issues, or you have to move into a smaller apartment.

Either way, your cat needs a new litter box but how do you go about it? And I don’t mean just plopping it down in the corner and hoping for the best.

This is a guide that talks about how to introduce a new litter box to your cat seamlessly.

It’s very useful for people that have a new cat and the cat won’t use the litter box.

There are also tips on how to teach your cat how to use the kitty box.

Cats can be trained, especially when it comes to using the litter box and you’ll see in this guide that it’s not that difficult.

If you are trying to figure out why your cat is getting scared of its new box, this article will to you the steps to take when trying to get your cat to use the litter box.

How do you introduce your cat to a new litter box?

First, ensure that your cat knows where the litter tray has been placed.

If you are introducing a kitten to the litter box, confine him to a small room and place the box in the same room.

At this point, you should have added cat litter to the kitty tray ready for use.

Let him remain confined until he is comfortable using the box successfully.

If he is unable to use the box, pick him up and place him in the cat’s litter box after he has eaten and is full.

Using your finger, scratch in the litter in a similar motion as a cat would scratch litter before elimination.

Do not force him to stay in the box if he wants to jump out.


For covered litter boxes, remove the lid during this orientation process. This will ease the learning process.

If your kitten poops or urinates on the floor, collect the solid waste and dump it in the kitty box.

The scent of his waste will attract him to eliminate it in the box the next time he has an urge.

How to change the litter box

1.     Location:

Place the new kitty box adjacent to the old litter box.

Add 2-3 inches of your cat’s favorite litter to the new box. This will give your cat options on where to eliminate.

It will also allow him to familiarize himself with the new box.

2.     Retain the old litter box:

During this transition process, do not throw away the old box immediately.

Allow the old box to stay put adjacent to the new box as your cat acclimatizes himself with the new box.

Gradually, begin to push away the old pan a few inches away from the new box. Do this over days and weeks depending on how fast your cat accepts the new box.

Only begin to withdraw the old pan once you notice that your cat has begun using the new box and is comfortable with it.

3.     Separate the boxes:

Gradually but consistently push the old tray away until you finally withdraw it. The new box will remain in the same location where your cat is accustomed to eliminating.

Cat inside a box

4.     Praise your cat:

Praise him when he uses the new box without being too loud and let him see that this pleases you greatly.

Your tone will show affection and enthusiasm. Stroke him too lovingly while praising him.

5.     Reward your cat:

Reward your cat with a tasty treat or favorite toy every time he successfully uses the new kitty box. This way, you will reinforce the new behavior.

How to Deal With Stubborn Cats:

If your cat is getting stressed due to the change that is happening, use a pheromone diffuser to calm your cat.

This is a stressful period for your cat and calming him is key for proper kitty box training in his new home.

Feliway is a synthetic version of a cat naturally occurring facial pheromones, designed to calm and comfort a cat in a stressful situation.

Plug in the Feliway diffuser in the confinement room and leave it to work its magic.

Remember that accidents do occur and avoid spanking or rubbing the poop on the cat’s nose especially if you did not catch the cat in the process.

Pro tip:

Unlike humans, cats do not relate their past actions to current punishment and they won’t understand why you are beating them. You risk intimidating him and making him repeat this process all over again.

Should you catch him in the process of elimination, pick him up and say “no,” carry him to the litter tray and place him inside.

Clean up the mess using an enzymatic cleaner and remove all the stains and odors to keep him from using the same spot over and over again.

Do’s and Don’ts of introducing the cat to a new litter box

How do I know if my cat litter box is too small?

The general rule of thumb is that your kitty tray should be at least 1 and a half times as long as your cat (measured from nose to base of tail) and 1 and a half times as wide as they are (measured at their widest point).

This will ensure that they have enough room in the box to move around comfortably and make it easier for them to ‘do their business.’

How to introduce an older cat to a litter box

Follow the steps outlined above and be patient with your cat. This is especially true in the case of accidents where your older cat poops on the floor.


When introducing a new kitty box to your cat, be patient, calm, and consistent. Don’t give up and try again later if you’re having trouble.

Remember that cats are very resistant to change (which is why they will probably resist a new kitty box). Be sure to be patient and persistent as you introduce the new kitty tray.

After introducing the new litter box to your cat, keep an eye on them for the next couple of weeks. If you see that your feline friend is still having issues with the new litter box, there are a few other things you can try. That said, simply introducing a new box should be enough for the vast majority of cats.

So what does it all mean? The most important thing you can do is to make the transition from one litter box to two as easy as possible.

And don’t worry if you don’t have your two litter trays exactly where you’d want them: we found that 88% of cats didn’t mind at all!

Most cats will eventually accept a new litter box if you try these tricks!

Davis Wilkins

Davis Wilkins is a dedicated cat lover, with three cats under his care. He grew up in a cat-loving family, nurturing these feline friends. As a result, he purposed to share his cat knowledge with the universe. Wilkins has been writing professionally for over four years, specializing in feline care with a keen interest in litter box care and handling. He hopes to help other feline lovers achieve their pet care goals.

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