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Moving a Cat’s Litter Box: How to Do it Without Freaking Them Out

by Ben Doyle | Reading Time: 4 minutes

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Imagine going to the toilet and seeing it’s disappeared.

Picking up and moving a cat’s litter box can cause the same level of confusion. Not only that, it can cause stress, and anxiety and result in your cat choosing to use the carpet instead.

In this article, we’ll cover;

  • Reasons for moving the litter tray
  • Choosing the best location for your cat’s litter box
  • How to move your cat’s litter box in a way that doesn’t confuse them

Why Move Your Cat’s Litter Tray?

If you can, it’s always best to leave your cat’s litter tray in an area they have accepted.

That said, there are many reasons why you might want or need to move it;

  • Moving house
  • Renovating your home,
  • The introduction of a new pet
  • Conflict between pets
  • Disagreements in your family about where the litter box should go

Whatever the reason, if you’ve decided to move the litter tray, you must choose its new location with care.

Finding the Best Place to Put Your Cat’s Litter Box

Before moving your cat’s litter box, you need to find a suitable spot. The last thing your cat wants is for you to play ‘No you see it, now you don’t’ with their toilet. If your cat doesn’t know where their toilet is, you risk them choosing to use your carpet instead.

So plan ahead to make sure you find a permanent home for it.

We wrote a guide on the best and worst places to put a cats litter tray so make sure you read it.

For now though, here are a few things to consider;

The Location

Where you put your cat’s litter tray matters. It’s critical that you choose the right place if you want your cat to use their litter tray without issues.

So make sure:

  • They can get to it – that means keeping doors open, or installing cat flaps and having a litter tray on each floor.
  • It’s nearby – don’t make them cover long distances to go to the toilet.
  • You keep it away from food and water – cats keep their feeding and toileting areas separate. Don’t force them to eat where they toilet.

Traffic and Noise

Keep the litter box away from high traffic or noisy areas of your home.

For example, put it in the hallway where people come and go. Keep it away from areas where kids run around.

If your washing machine is noisy, don’t put it in the laundry room.

Choose a quiet place where your cat feels safe.

Your Cat’s Needs

All cats are different and so are their needs. What’s good for one cat might not be good for another.

Some cats like more privacy and prefer a quiet, enclosed litter box and/or space. Others like open spaces and want the security of having their people close by.

Some cats are happy to share litter boxes, others hate it. So make sure you have at least one litter tray per cat.

Your cat’s size also makes a difference. Bigger cats need bigger litter boxes with space around them to turn, dig and squat. A smaller cat can use a smaller space. So when you’re buying a cat litter tray, consider where you’ll put it.

How to Move a Cats Litter Box, Step-by-Step

Once you have chosen a new litter box location, you need to be methodical about how you do it.

It’s important to note that while some cats will just ‘get it’, others might struggle. So take your time and approach this process with love and understanding.

Here’s our step-by-step guide;

Step 1: Get a Second Litter Box

Get a second litter box and put it in the new location. If you can, get the same size, style and colour as your cats current one.

The more familiar you can make it, the easier the transition will go.

Step 2: Fill it With Used Litter

Take some used cat litter from your cat’s current tray and put it in the new one. This will fill the new tray and location with their scent.

Step 3: Show Your Cat Their New Litter Box Location

Take your cat to their new litter box. Some cats will use it straight away. Others won’t. Don’t worry.

Even if your cat does use it, don’t remove their old litter tray right away. You need to give them time to get used to their new one while still having the security of their old one.

So keep following the process.

Step 4: Start to Move the Old Litter Box

Start moving the old litter tray towards the new one.

Move it by a few feet each day, keeping within eyesight of where it was the day before.

Don’t move it large distances as your cat might not know where it’s gone. This can stress some cats and lead to accidents.

Step 5: Clean the Old Location

Once you’ve removed the litter tray from its old location (even if it’s not in its final location yet), clean the area. This will remove all scent markers that your cat associates with the area.

This will help them understand it’s no longer their toilet area.

Step 6: Remove One of the Litter Boxes

When the litter old box is within a few feet of the new one, you can remove it.

Your cat should now understand where their new litter box location is and use it without issue.

How Long Does Moving a Litter Box Take?

How long this process takes very much depends on your cat.

Confident cats might get it straight away. But if your cat is nervous or anxious, the process of relocating their litter box can take a while. So it’s important to move at their pace, not yours.

Not using the litter tray is often a sign of stress, anxiety and confusion. It’s best to treat these issues with care and understanding and help them to adjust.

Getting frustrated or angry with your cat will only result in them becoming more anxious. This could put them off using the litter box at all.


Relocating your cat’s litter box is a simple process. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

To make the process as easy as possible on your cat;

  1. Choose a location they’re comfortable in.
  2. Take your time to make the move a (very) gradual one. Go at their pace, not yours, and
  3. Approach the move with care and understanding, frustration and anger won’t help.

Some cats will just ‘get it’ while others might struggle. But with patience and understanding, your cat will learn to be comfortable in their new toilet.

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Ben Doyle

Ben Doyle co-owns Pet Checkers with his wife, Vicki. He spends his days looking after all kinds of animals, from dogs to eagles. When he's not taking care of animals, he's writing about them.

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