How to Train Your Ragdoll Cat to Use an Automatic Litter Box

By Jennie @ Ragdoll Cats World

April 13, 2023

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A self-cleaning litter box is so much better than a traditional litter box. For most cat owners, a dirty litter box is their least favorite part about cat ownership.

 

Overview of Ragdoll Cat

Ragdoll cats are a unique but large cat breed that makes a wonderful addition to any family. While cats are notoriously temperamental, ragdolls go with the flow and adapt and are a good choice for first-time pet parents.

The characteristics that set ragdolls apart are they’re super easy to train, very affectionate, and friendly toward hoomans and other pets. They have a low prey drive which is great for our bird and small mammal population, and they love to snuggle.

A Robot That Eats Your Cat's Poop

When you pick up a ragdoll, they melt into your arms with pure love for you.

Ragdoll cats are ideal candidates if you’re wondering how to train your ragdoll to use an automatic litter pan. Cats, in general, are very clean animals.

 

Importance of Litter Box Training

We’ve come a long way from letting our cats poop in the children’s sandbox or our neighbor’s flowerbox. All animal waste can potentially carry harmful diseases.

Cats are super easy to litter train, and kittens and seniors adapt well to using the litter box. Asking ragdolls to switch from a litter pan to an automatic box isn’t that hard. Of course, because cats like to keep us on our toes, there’s always an expectation.

Litter box training is essential to you and the cat. If the cat has a secure place to go, you won’t have any accidents that can eventually destroy soft furnishings, carpets, and even wood flooring. It will keep you from inhaling unsanitary ammonia odor or contaminating your home with cat feces.

 

Benefits of Using an Automatic Litter Box

Before choosing high-tech cat litter boxes, answer a few questions about your cat’s personality.

  • Is your cat comfortable with small or big changes?
  • Do they get scared by loud noises like vacuums or other appliances?
  • What about smaller enclosed spaces (we’ve all seen our cats roll up into a ball and vanish inside the tiniest spaces).
  • Are you switching because you can’t maintain the litter box and your cat is going elsewhere in the house?
  • Do you have the time to retrain your ragdoll to use an automated litter box?
  • Are you okay with investing in an expensive kitty litter box that your cat might not use?
  • Thinking about getting an enclosed litter box or a hooded litter box.

Benefits of using an automatic ragdoll cat litter box are numerous:

  • Keeps litter box fresh
  • Instant removal of soiled litter
  • Less accumulating odor (you still have to empty the disposal tray frequently)
  • Hands-off cleaning
  • Uses less litter
  • Perfect for multi-cat households
  • Cost-effective (uses half of the litter)
  • Open or enclosed models that help prevent litter spray

How to Train Your Ragdoll Cat to Use an Automatic Litter Box

Steps to Train Your Ragdoll Cat to Use Automatic Litter Box

Ragdolls and Maine Coon cats naturally relieve themselves in a sandy-soil litter box. It’s part of their natural habit. Some cats will use an automatic box within a few hours; some take coaxing and take a couple of weeks–have patience.

A. Bring the New Automatic Litter Box to the Cat

Cats are naturally curious. Invite them to help you unpack the box when it arrives and make the introduction. Cats love boxes, so make a game of it. This way, your ragdoll gets to have fun and gets used to the scent of the new box.

Allow the cat or cats to explore the enclosure on its terms.

Switch on the automatic litter pan motor while you’re next to your cat for reassurance, but only after you’ve reviewed the manual and start-up features.

Place the New One Next to the Old One

Cats are savvy and will make the association if you place the new litter robot next to the old litter box. It’s a great way to make the transition and give the cat a choice until they’re ready for the switch.

Setup Litter Box According to Instructions

This is where it could go drastically wrong. Please read and follow the instructions thoroughly before switching it on and filling it with the recommended litter type and the correct fill level.

Litter Type Should be Same as Used by Cat Earlier

Some cats can be finicky about the litter type, and most clumping clay litter brands are compatible with automatic litter boxes. However, go slow if you switch to the automated box.

If Litter Box Demands a New Litter, Train Your Kitty to New Litter First

Automatic litter boxes rely on engineered mechanisms to work correctly. Some litter types might not work with these mechanisms. If you need to make a switch, do it gradually and train your cat to use the new litter material first.

Most litter robots use specific types like clumping litter or crystal litter. Make sure your cat likes that type before making the switch.

Once a Week, Give the Option to Your Cat to Choose the Box

If you’re confident your ragdoll is comfortable with the new litter robot, make the transition, and remember to reward with their favorite treat. If you sense your cat’s resistance, go slow. Instead, invite your cat to use the new box once a week.

Use cat nip or a yummy treat to lure them in.

Also, don’t make other drastic changes like litter box location or adding other appliances or family members.

B. Run the Automatic (Self Cleaning) Litter Box

Cats are very communicative, but it helps to speak cat to get their meaning. If the cat is comfortable around the new robotic litter box, switch it on and see how it responds.

If the cat isn’t bothered, repeat the process to get the cat accustomed to the noise.

Make Sure Your Cat Doesn’t Get Bothered

Cats like enclosed places, and the new litter box, minus the noise, might make the cat feel secure. Remain with the cat when the machine is running and watch your cat’s reaction. (The device shouldn’t be running with the cat inside as a safety feature.)

Run Box Twice or Thrice a Day to Make Your Ragdoll Comfortable With It

Ragdolls want to be with you. So to get them used to the new litter box, switch it on while you’re in the room. Don’t make a big deal of it; make it as natural as any other household chore.

Add the Litter Back Into the Box Once Your Cat Gets Comfortable

Once the cat is reasonably comfortable with the new litter box device, move it next to the original litter box and add fresh clumping litter according to the fill instructions. Give your cat(s) the option of using either.

Some experts recommend not cleaning the old litter system as frequently, but there is a point where you have to if the cat isn’t using the new litter robot.

Repeat the Process of Turning the System on While the Cat Is Nearby

For Ragdolls that are more hesitant about the new litter box system, give them time. You still have a good chance of succeeding if they don’t run away. Cats have a sense of humor and like to play games with us too.

C. Turn on the Self-Cleaning Function

In case you’re wondering, automated litter box systems have a built-in sensor and measure when a cat is inside the drum. It has a safety feature and won’t start up with the cat inside.

Most self-cleaning litter boxes have a very faint operating noise between 25 to 40 decibels and emit a soft hum that shouldn’t scare your cat, although they have extremely sensitive hearing.

Before Turning It on, Wait for Your Cat to Begin Using It

Get the cats used to the new litter pan and clean it manually. Once the cat is comfortable and has a routine, activate the automatic self-cleaning litter.

State-of-the-art litter boxes are quiet and have safety sensors that turn the system on after a lapsed period. Unless there’s a malfunction, the system won’t turn on with the cat inside unless someone manually overrides the setting (which I doubt is doable).

Automatic box designers understand cats too, and have cats’ safety in mind when litter training.

Continuously Supervise Your Cat, After Switching on the Automatic Litter Box

Automatic litter boxes are expensive. They’re outfitted with sensors and high-tech features to prevent accidents. However, until you and your cat are entirely at ease, keep an eye on the cat when it does its business. Once you switch the litter box into operation mode, it will self-regulate when to come on and remove the solid waste.

D. Time Your Ragdoll’s Bathroom Visits

To help your ragdoll adjust to the new system, monitor its bathroom breaks which in a cat world isn’t always doable since they’re nocturnal creatures.

With kittens, it’s easier to time their bathroom visits with their feeding time. Give them ample space and time to get to the bathroom without adding any agitation.

What If It Doesn’t Work?

When you invest in an automatic cat litter system from a reputable firm, you’ll receive a warranty for parts. However, they don’t offer refunds if Fluffy isn’t into advanced poop removal. It might also point to other litter box problems.

Patience is the most critical part of training or retraining a cat to a new litter system. You can’t talk your cat into using it, but gentle coaxing with treats, reassurance, and time might work.

If all fails, clean the unit and sell it at a reduced price or give it to a local shelter or friend.

 

Conclusion

Don’t give up if you don’t succeed right away. The beauty of ragdoll cats is that they are so intelligent, willing, and easy to train to use the cat litter box.

Not all cats will adapt, but by following the manufacturer’s guidelines and our advice, you’re halfway there to training your cat to use the self-cleaning litter box with success.

 

Written by Jennie @ Ragdoll Cats World

I'm Jennie, the creator of Ragdoll Cats World. I have been owned and loved by Ragdoll Cats for almost twenty years after getting my first Ragdoll kittens, Huey and Choo-Choo back in 2003. They lived to the grand old age of 18 and 17 and they even made the move from London to Australia with me! We now have two Ragdoll cats, Violet and Ocean, and a Maine Coon cat named Eddie, and we love sharing our knowledge of all things related to Ragdoll Cats with you at Ragdoll Cats World!

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