Your Questions: Should we take away our cats' litter tray?
Cahal Milmo is the chief reporter of The Independent and has been with the paper since 2000. He was born in London and previously worked at the Press Association news agency. He has reported on assignment at home and abroad, including Rwanda, Sudan and Burkina Faso, the phone hacking scandal and the London Olympics. In his spare time he is a keen runner and cyclist, and keeps an allotment.
Saturday 15 November 2008
Q. After being largely 'indoor' cats for nine months, our two Russian Blues have recently started to explore more outdoors. They seem to love playing outside and it is a pleasure to see them haring around the garden and stalking through the grass. The one problem we have is that they still use the indoor litter tray. I would love to get rid of the tray but am not sure how to train them to go outside. Should I just take it away? Elise, via e-mail
A. Cats are wonderful creatures – curious, intelligent and very loving. It's great that yours can now use their feline instincts outside. However, this comes with a downside. Research shows that indoor cats live longer than cats that go outside, as the latter are more susceptible to fatal diseases and scrapping with other moggies. With the house training, don't take the litter box away at once; you need to do it gradually. If you take it away just like that you could end up with damp patches all round your house. The first thing to do is to choose a place in the garden for them to use as their new loo, preferably not too exposed (if they feel vulnerable they won't go). Dig a shallow hole and sprinkle some of their used litter over that spot. This way they will know where to go. Then slowly start moving the litter box towards the door (but remember not to put it anywhere near their food or water bowl). When the litter box is by the door, let them get used to the new arrangement for a few days. Then, when they are using the garden sandpit more than the litter tray, you can get rid of the one in the house. Remember: with the disposal of cat faeces, do not put it on the compost heap as it can have some nasty parasites in it. Instead, bury it, burn it or flush it down the toilet. Good luck!
Remember that if an animal shows signs of distress or discomfort an early visit to the vet is always recommended
Life & Style blogs
Plus London's buy-to-let hotspots and a new property portal
Guest post by Richard Sexton, business development director of e.surv chartered surveyors
Plus lateral thinking and living on London's waterways
- 1 What, let gays get married? We must be bonkers
- 2 'Something passed underneath us, quite close': Airbus A320 has close encounter with UFO
- 3 Rocky Horror star Tim Curry 'suffers major stroke'
- 4 Lord of the Sings: Sir Christopher Lee, 91, to release heavy metal album
- 5 Exclusive: Woolwich killings suspect Michael Adebolajo was inspired by cleric banned from UK after urging followers to behead enemies of Islam
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.