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Bringing Kitty to her forever house is so exciting. But you can’t just open the door and expect her to make herself at home. She’ll likely be a little shy, or want to explore everything. And she’ll want to know where her basics are right away: the litterbox, the food, and the bed to hide under. We’ve got some great tips to help you make it the best day ever.

Take it slow.

While you’ll be excited to introduce your new furry friend to your friends and neighbors, it’s best to give kitty some quiet time to adjust to new surroundings. A new cat may take a few weeks to get comfortable with a new home and new schedule.

Keep it simple.

For the first week or two, keep your cat’s diet similar to what he or she received at the shelter. If you want to change to a different brand or flavor, do it slowly over a period of weeks, mixing the old food with the new.

Stage the loo.

Set up the litter box in a quiet, low-traffic area that the cat can always access. Be sure to fill the litter box with 3–4 inches of Fresh Step® litter. Cats need a clean environment and are very fussy about cleanliness, so be sure to clean out solids once a day and clean the rest of the litter according to the package instructions. Leave a nice copy of Cat Fancy™ next to the box for those longer sessions.

Make sure kitty loves her litterbox.

Kitty’s box should be just right for her. That means the right size (one and a half the size of her body), whether she likes covered or uncovered, and have the right number of litterboxes in the right places. Think inside the box with our Choosing the Best Litterbox for Your Cat article.

Kitty-proof the house.

Before letting your feline friend loose in the house, be sure to put away any potentially harmful things like cleaning products, medication and any poisonous household items or plants. We’ve got more details in our Kitty-Proofing Your House article.

Take kitty to the vet.

Bring your new cat to a caring vet for a wellness exam within one week of adoption. Cats typically should be seen by vets annually in order to keep up with vaccines and other preventive care.

One of the biggest reasons cats are returned to shelters is because of litter box rejection. Don’t let that happen to your new fur baby. Follow these tips so kitty is always thinking inside the box:

Privacy please.

Cats like to have their privacy as much as humans. Place the litter box in a quiet, accessible location that’s easy to clean, like a bathroom, but avoid placing it in a garage or hard-to-find spot. In a multilevel home, it’s recommended that you put a litter box on each level.1

Set the stage.

Cats can be finicky about their litter box surroundings, and may reject litter that isn’t clean (wouldn’t you?). The box should be one-and-a-half times the length of your cat’s body.2 Place the litter box on a carpet remnant or a piece of AstroTurf®. Cats are both predators and prey, so a closed or covered box goes against their natural survival instincts since they can’t stay aware of their surroundings while they go. Opt for an open box to make sure they are comfortable.

Dude, where's my box?

Avoid moving the litter box once your cat has acclimated to its new environment. Your cat will become understandably confused. If you must move it, scoot it over about an inch per day.

A box for every cat.

Got more than one cat? Make sure each has his/her own litter box. Behaviorists recommend you have one box per cat and then an extra box in addition to those.3 For example, if you have three cats, you should have four boxes.

Keep it clean.

If only cats could flush (well, you can train cats to go and flush in a toilet, but it’s definitely an advanced cat-jedi move). Instead they look to you to keep their litter clean. Remember to scoop out solids once a day and follow the instructions on your Fresh Step® package on regular cleaning.


1. Litter Box Problems (n.d.) https://www.sfspca.org/resource/litter-box-problems/
2. Litter Box 101 (2015) https://www.nehumanesociety.org/for-pet-owners/behavior-help/litter-box-101.html
3. Cat Not Using Litter Box: Causes and Solutions (n.d.) https://resources.bestfriends.org/article/cat-not-using-litter-box-causes-and-solutions

Lots of vets recommend you keep your kitty indoors to keep her safe from cars, other predators, and things like rat poison. But there’s also plenty of danger lurking inside the house for a fuzzy someone that likes to explore, chew and scratch — we’re talking about your cat, not you. Here are some quick tips to make sure your home is safe for your BFF (best feline friend).

Plants

Cats are famous for chewing on any and every plant in the home, mostly out of curiosity. But you know the saying about curiosity…It turns out that many indoor plants are poisonous for kittehs, including poinsettia, lilies, philodendron, azaleas and many more. Do a quick search on plants that are poison for cats, and either put them in hanging planters out of Kitty’s reach, or retire your indoor green thumb. We know it’s hard. But it’s the plants or the cat.

Food

Kitty (especially kittens) won’t be too discerning when it comes to grabbing food that’s been left on the counter. Put away anything that could upset her tummy — or which you’re saving for your dinner.

Electrical cords

For a cat who loves to chew, electrical cords are like Twizzlers. Twizzlers filled with dangerous electricity. Either tape your cords to the side of your appliances, or bundle them up in harder-to-chew cord protector

High shelves

Cats are naturally gifted climbers. This means that they’d love to climb up on that shelf and knock over your grandmother’s tea set just to see what happens. Unfortunately, if the shelf isn’t secured, it could topple over, Kitty and all. Secure the shelf to the wall, put away the Waterford crystal, and get the cat tree that your feline craves.

Cleaning supplies

Make sure all cleaning supplies are in a closed cabinet out of Kitty’s reach. And remember, when you’re done cleaning the tub or the sink, give it a thorough rinse. Kitties love to get in the tub and drink the water.

Trash

These tiny troublemakers love to knock over the trash to see if there’s something tasty in there. While there might be, there might also be something poisonous. This one’s an easy solve: just get a garbage can with a secured lid.

Windows and doors

Especially when you’re bringing Kitty home for the first time, make sure all windows and doors are secured. Otherwise, your new kitty will escape — and won’t know how to get back to her new home. 

Craft supplies

Cats love to play with — and sometimes ingest — yarn, thread and ribbons. If you want to avoid a hefty vet bill, make sure all these items are secured when the crafting session’s done.

We know all this sounds like a lot. But it’s absolutely worth it to make sure your cute furry friend has a safe and fun time in your house for years to come. 

Distract Kitty with a good toy.

A great way to keep cats from destroying your stuff is to give them something better. Entertain Kitty with an iPad game built especially for her. You’ll find that game and much more in the Paw Points® Rewards catalog.

Get your pick of the litter box.

After choosing the perfect pet, your next step is to grab the accessories and supplies your furry friend will need to be happy in your home. You’ll need to grab the healthiest food, cutest toys, Fresh Step® kitty litter, and the first litter box you can find. But, is having the litter box last on your list a big mistake?

Sure, litter boxes may all appear to be the same, but just like human toilets, they are not all created equal. And some will naturally appeal to your kitty more than others. If the litter box isn’t to their liking, Kittycat may even skip the litter box altogether and simply decide your bed or your white sofa is now her bathroom. Obviously way less than ideal. In fact, litter box avoidance is the #1 reason cats are returned to shelters. We don’t want that to happen to ANY cat. To avoid this from happening, consider these tips when picking your next litter box.

Rethinking the “One Cat, One Litter Box” rule.

Cats like to have options, so instead of considering one litter box per cat, think of having at least one more litter box than you do cats.1 For example, if you have 4 cats, you should have 5 litter boxes, 5 cats means 6 litter boxes, and so on. This way, each cat feels like he has his own litter box, and there are extra communal litter boxes, too.

You’re gonna need a bigger box.

This may seem like a no brainer, but the bigger your cat is, the bigger her litter box needs to be. After all, she has to fit into the box, and is going to spend some time attending to important business in there. You want to make sure that your cat is going to feel comfortable in there and will want to visit it again and again without using another place that she shouldn’t. Your cat should have ample space to climb in, dig around in the litter, daydream and climb out of the box. Measure your cat from the tip of her nose to the tip of her tail and make sure the box is about the length and a half of that.2 Do the same with the width of her body also to make sure the height of the box is correct too. Make sure to leave her the latest issue of Cat Fancy, too. Just kidding — or are we?

Covered or uncovered?

Whether to get an open litter box or a litter box with a lid is often a big debate. However, your cat probably wants you to get an uncovered box. Why? Having no cover helps your cat feel safe while they go to the bathroom since it allows him to see all around, including possible threats and an easy escape route if need be. Hey, it’s in their nature.

To clean or to self-clean?

Another debate in the kitty community is the self-cleaning litter box. While it can be tempting to automate another chore, it will be less than convenient when your cat becomes frightened that his poop place has suddenly come to life and scared him out of ever returning again. Similar to the automatic flush toilet that whirls when you’re mid-stream, these self-cleaning kitty litters scare cats, are expensive, high maintenance, and make it difficult to spot any health concerns that are found in your cat’s poop and pee. Stick with the old school scooping litter boxes for a happier, healthier cat.

Let’s get back to basics.

Now that you’ve chosen the right box, it’s time to get into Litter 101. You’ll learn everything you need to know to make sure your kitty has a fresh, clean box she’ll love.

Want free Fresh Step® litter?

Join the Paw Points® Reward Program, and earn enough points to score a FREE 25 pound box of Fresh Step® Clumping Kitty Litter for your brand new litter box. Check out the Paw Points® catalog to find other rewards that will make your cat’s new litter box fresher than ever.


1. Cat Not Using Litter Box: Causes and Solutions (n.d.) https://resources.bestfriends.org/article/cat-not-using-litter-box-causes-and-solutions
2. Litter Box 101 (2015) https://www.nehumanesociety.org/for-pet-owners/behavior-help/litter-box-101.html

What’s your cat stressed about?

While you’re juggling your bills, finding enough time to go to the gym, food prepping for the week, and staying calm in traffic, your cat is sitting by the window at home twitching her tail. So you may be wondering: What do cats have to worry about? Though your cat doesn’t have to present to her boss or run to the post office before it closes, cats do experience their own kind of stress, which is a result of their anxiety and fear.

Cats can experience stress if there’s a change to their routine, a dirty litter box, new additions to their home, loud music or fireworks, and more. Most cats hide their stress, which may turn into a slew of health issues. Stress can compromise your cat’s immune system, making them more vulnerable to illness, depression, and could even compound and create behavioral issues. But we’re here to tell you how to spot if your cat is stressed — and what to do to make sure she’s back to her calm, happy self.

Signs that your cat may be anxious or stressed:

If you think your cat is stressed, here are some ways to help:

Give Kitty a fresh outlook.

Want to make sure Kitty always has lovely, clean litter? Join the Paw Points® Rewards Program, and score free litter and coupons. Check out the Paw Points® catalog to find other rewards that will make your cat’s new litter box fresher than ever, and minimize the stress in her life. Soon enough, you kitty will be one cool cat indeed.

Just like people, cats get sick, too. And one of the most common ways a kitty gets sick — and luckily, one of the most treatable ways if you catch it early enough — is feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD).1 A UTI (urinary tract infection (UTI) falls under the category of FLUTD.

As with people, an FLUTD can cause a kitty a lot of pain and discomfort, but often can be quickly fixed with a dose of antibiotics. But how can you tell if your cat is suffering and needs medical attention ASAP? Call a vet immediately if you notice any of the following:1

  1. Kitty is going to the litter box a LOT: A UTI makes her feel like she has to pee again. And again. And again.
  2. Kitty is straining to pee: Your cat might cry out because it hurts so much to pee. If you have a male cat, he might have developed a blockage in the urethra. This can be very bad for Kitty’s health, since those toxins are building up in his little body. Get him to the vet, STAT.
  3. There is blood in Kitty’s pee: Peeing blood is never good, for humans or cats.
  4. Peeing outside the box: Has Kitty suddenly gone free range? It might be that she has to go and can’t make it to the box in time.
  5. Woah, that stinks!: Is Kitty’s pee more pungent than usual? It could be a sign of an underlying UTI.2
  6. Kitty is licking a lot — like, a LOT — down there: Kitty isn’t just doing this for fun. It’s likely she’s trying to self-soothe in the only way she knows how.

Which cats are at risk for a FLUTD?

The answer to this is that a LOT of cats are at risk,1 especially if they’re indoor cats as the SPCA and many vets recommend. Here is the quick answer:

If it’s not a UTI, what could it be?

Even though your cat is showing all the signs of a UTI, it might not be his or her problem. There is a whole host of other issues with the same symptoms, such as:1

Additional conditions could include:3

Because these symptoms have such wide-ranging and potentially fatal causes, any cat that’s in discomfort in the litter box needs to see his friendly neighborhood vet ASAP.

How will the vet diagnose my cat?

Once you bring your cat to the vet, she’ll determine (or try to) the cause of the issue. The tests include things such as: 1

Yes, all this is yucky, but important.

If your cat has a UTI, not only is she in pain — pain which a visit to the vet will help with enormously — but if ignored, a UTI can easily lead to severe kidney problems.4 And that can lead to huge vet bills — or worse, a trip to the rainbow bridge before Kitty’s time.

Learn to recognize these signs. If you spot them, it’s time to call the doctor.

Is Kitty feeling low? Give her a treat.

After a painful UTI episode, Kitty deserves lots of love and treats — and maybe some extra litter.

Join the Paw Points® program, and every purchase will earn you points. You can then redeem those points for free litter, coupons and toys. Because when that UTI is cleared up, Kitty’s going to be back to her usual playful, happy self. Hurrah!


1. Feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD). (n.d.). https://icatcare.org/advice/feline-lower-urinary-tract-disease-flutd
2. Urinary tract disease in cats. (2014). http://www.vetstreet.com/care/urinary-tract-disease-in-cats
3. Feline lower urinary tract disease. (n.d.). https://www.avma.org/public/PetCare/Pages/FLUTD.aspx
4. Common urinary & kidney ailments. (n.d.). https://www.vet.upenn.edu/veterinary-hospitals/ryan-veterinary-hospital/services/comprehensive-urology-care/common-urological-ailments

You’ve heard about reading tea leaves, right? It’s called tasseography, and it’s a method of fortune telling through interpreting patterns in the leaves.

Well, cats are having none of it. They want you to read about the here and now through clues they leave in the litterbox. Felines are notoriously good at hiding when they’re sick. After all, they can’t just tell you. But sometimes you just have to think inside the box.

These signs from the litter box are a good indication that it’s time to call the vet:

  1. Oops, I did it again: Is Kitty continually going outside the box? If you’ve already gone through the steps of cleaning the litter box (she likes a clean box), and using enzyme cleaner to dissuade her from going in the same spot — and still, she persists — it’s a good indication that she might be sick or stressed. Call the vet.
  2. Peeing, the Sequels: Is Kitty repeatedly visiting the box, trying to pee? Worse, have you noticed there’s blood in the pee? This is a strong sign she has a UTI, which are very painful for cats (and humans). She needs a vet’s help immediately.
  3. Off schedule pooping: Cats typically pee a couple times a day and poop once a day. If Kitty is visiting the litter box a lot, or visibly straining when trying to poop, she might be constipated. And if it’s just a mess in there, and Kitty has diarrhea for more than a day, it’s time to call the vet. Her tummy is upset, and she might (ick!) have worms. Basically, any drastic change, either going to the bathroom a lot more or a lot less than usual is cause to call the vet.
  4. Size matters: Fresh Step® clumping litter is a great choice not only because it cleans up easily, but also because it helps you monitor the size of those clumps. If you notice that clumps are smaller than usual, it might indicate that there’s a bladder infection going on. If they’re much larger than usual, and you see Kitty drinking a lot of water, she might be suffering from kidney problems. Again, time for a vet visit.

Sure, you may not be able to perform tasseography and read the future. But with litterography (that’s a term we just made up and we’re going to use it all the time now), you’ll be able to read the litter box clues — and get your faithful furry companion to the vet just as she needs it.

Need more litter than usual? Join the Paw Points® program, and every purchase will earn you points. You can then redeem those points for free litter or coupons. Fresh litter — and good kitty health — for all!

Almost everything about adopting a new kitty is awesome. They’re loving. They’re playful. They’re beautiful. And they can be incredibly calming companions.

But just like the rest of us, a cat has to go potty several times a day. That odor can be, shall we say, aggressive. But here at Fresh Step, we’re the odor control experts, so we’ve got a lot of ways to keep your home smelling fresh and lovely, every day.

First, what makes cat pee so strong-smelling?

Cat pee isn’t so very different from other animal pee. But younger cats have very efficient kidneys, which absorb water very well to keep them hydrated. And they generally don’t drink much water. As a result, your kitty’s pee is very concentrated. And when it begins to break down, bacteria create a strong ammonia smell. And worse, cat pee isn’t noticeable until it’s a problem. You’ll notice that older cats have even stronger smelling pee, as their geriatric kidneys don’t work as well as they used to.

Let’s get fresh.

But keeping your home smelling sweet and not “catty” isn’t that hard, and is absolutely worth it. Take these steps, and when guests come over, they’ll be surprised (and delighted) that you have a cat or two.

  1. Choose the right litter for your cat(s): Got one cat? Got more than one? Is your cat a kitten or a wise elder? From singletons to multiple and older cats, there’s a Fresh Step® litter that’s right for your cat. Find your cat’s litter here.
  2. Clean litter regularly: Scoop out solids once a day, and clean the rest of the litter according to the instructions on the package. Treat kitty to a nice new litterbox once a year, since plastic will eventually absorb odors and be stinky.
  3. Make sure you have enough boxes to go around: If you have multiple cats, you should have a litter box for each cat, plus one extra. So if you have two cats, get three litter boxes.
  4. Take care of accidents ASAP: Sometimes Kitty will go in the wrong area (say, the rug or a couch). Treat that area as soon as you can with enzyme cleaners so she won’t return after she marked her spot.
  5. Get Kitty fixed: Male cats have an even stronger pee scent, and often will spray to mark territory (nothing says “This is mine!” like peeing on it). Getting cats fixed, male or female, will often help avoid these problems — and a host of others, but we’ll save that for another time.
  6. Vacuum it away: Vacuum rugs and kitty litter area about twice a week. It will help keep odors down and reduce pet hair everywhere.
  7. Keep Kitty’s bedding clean: Make sure any blankets and bedding that Kitty sleeps on are kept fresh for her. Your home will smell better, and your cat will love snoozing on a soft, clean bed (and those “catty” odors should disappear).
  8. Wash Kitty’s food and water bowl: Cleaning your cat’s food and water bowl regularly will discourage stinky bacteria from forming, and keep your cat healthier.

Clean and fresh is the name of the game when it comes to keeping odors from forming. Want to keep that litter coming? With the Fresh Step® Paw Points® program, you’ll earn points for buying the litter your kitty loves. Points add up fast, and you can redeem them for free litter and coupons. That way, you’ll get to enjoy more purr time — and less stink time.

It’s an exciting day. You’ve adopted a new feline family member. On behalf of cat lovers everywhere, we thank you for opening your heart and home to a cat.

There are the purring, playing and cuddles to look forward to. But there’s also the logistics. How do you train a new cat to find and use the litter box? Luckily, you’ve come to the right place. We’re the kitty litter experts.

Whether you want to know how to help a kitten learn how to use a litter box, or find out why your adult feline is avoiding the box, we’ve got all the tips you need to successfully litter train your cat.

Litter training a kitten.

One of the (many) great things about kittens is that they may start to instinctively want to use a litter box as soon as they’re about 3–4 weeks old.1 But that tiny fuzzball is still learning, and might need a little encouragement. Here are some tips to ensure a first timer’s success:

  1. A Room of Kitty’s Own: For the first week (especially if the kitten is very young), contain the kitten in a room with her litter box and food, but keep the food as far away from the litter as possible. This lets Kitten acclimate to her new home and gets her used to litter.
  2. Don't Clump Me In: Many vets recommend non-clumping litter for kittens. After two or three months you can gradually transition them to clumping litter.
  3. I Have Tiny Legs!: Use a shallow, small litter box so Kitten doesn’t have trouble getting into it.
  4. Shhh, I Must Concentrate: Put the litter in a quiet, private space so Kitten doesn’t get distracted.
  5. Learning About Litter:  Keep placing Kitten in the litter box to get her used to her new box, especially after a nap or eating.
  6. Give Me a Helping Paw: If Kitten is a little confused, you can help her by putting your hand on her paw and gently encouraging her to scratch. Usually, she’ll take this up on her own, and instinctively know that this is her toilet. If she does, give her a treat!
  7. Oops, I Missed: If she goes outside the box, don’t get mad at her or yell or force her into the box. She might get scared (wouldn’t you?) and start associating the litter box with punishment.

With the right training and a little natural instinct, Kitten will soon be a litter box champ.

How to litter train an adult cat.

An adult cat (unless they’re feral), will generally know how to use a litter box already. That’s because cats are SMART and BEAUTIFUL. However, there are a couple of tips to make sure Kitty knows where her litter box is and how to use it correctly.

  1. Privacy, Please: Cats like their privacy as much as humans. Put the box in a quiet, accessible location that’s easy to clean, such as a bathroom.4 Got a multi-level house? We recommend having a litter box per level.
  2. Dude, Where’s My Box?: Place the cat in the box several times so she knows where it is. If you need to move it, move it gradually over several days so Kitty doesn’t get confused.
  3. Just My Size: Make sure the litter box is a comfortable size for your cat. It should be one and a half times her body length. Cats generally prefer an open box.4
  4. A Box for Every Cat: Got more than one cat? Make sure you have enough litter boxes for everyone. The rule of thumb is one box per cat, plus one. So if you have two cats, get three litter boxes.
  5. I Love a Fresh, Clean Litterbox: Cats are very sensitive to odors, and they might reject a litter box that’s too messy.4 So scoop out solids once a day, and follow the directions on your favorite kind of Fresh Step® litter to keep the box smelling clean and fresh.

Soon Kitty will be using her litter box regularly and it will be one of her happy places. But sometimes…

Accidents happen.

Occasionally — or maybe often — your cat might miss the litter box or stop using it entirely. Let’s troubleshoot this thing.Is the box clean? Cats, like people, enjoy a clean bathroom.4 If Kitty is avoiding the box, she might be giving you a hint that it’s time to clean it out. Give Kitty what she needs, a box filled with clean Fresh Step® litter.

Is your cat sick? Cats won’t tell you that they’re sick. Sometimes the litter box is the first clue. If Kitty is avoiding the litter box, going a lot or just can’t make it in time, it’s time to take her to the vet.4 She needs a doctor’s help.

Do you have enough boxes? Each cat in your household should have his/her own box.5 So, getting an extra litter box might be just the trick.

After checking off those boxes (see what we did there?), and Kitty is still relieving herself in inappropriate places, try these tricks:

  1. Clean the area with an enzyme cleaner to remove any odor marks for the cat.6 If she went there once, and she smells her own pee there, she’ll be tempted to go there again.
  2. After cleaning the area with an enzyme cleaner, put a couple of treats down: Cats, like humans, don’t like to “go” where they eat.
  3. Block the area off.
  4. Or cover it generously with a plastic cover liner, teeth side up, plastic wrap or tin foil. After a few weeks, you should see success.
  5. Try unscented litter. Some cats have extra-sensitive noses.

Good luck! Remember, the number one reason cats avoid the litter box is because the litter isn’t clean. So, make sure your kitty always has a supply of clean, effective Fresh Step® litter.

Get lots of litter with the Paw Points® program.

Join the Fresh Step® Paw Points® program, and you’ll earn points every time you buy litter. It’s easy to rack up the points — and then you can redeem for fresh, free litter (along with toys, entries into our big sweepstakes and even donations for your favorite cat shelter).


1. How old is that kitten? Kitten guide: Three weeks. (n.d.) https://www.alleycat.org/resources/how-old-is-that-kitten-guide-three-weeks/
2. Litter training. (n.d.). http://www.kittenlady.org/litter
3. Preventing litter box problems. (n.d.). https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/preventing-litter-box-problems
4. Litter box problems. (n.d.). https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/cat-care/common-cat-behavior-issues/litter-box-problems
5. What multiple cats need multiple litter boxes. (n.d.). https://www.petmd.com/cat/centers/litter/evr_why_multi_cat_households_need_multiple_litter_boxes
6. McCarthy C. (n.d.). How to clean cat urine. https://www.petmd.com/cat/care/how-clean-cat-urine