A retraining pen is a restricted area just large enough for your cat’s bedding at one end and litter at the other. A good size is approximately 75 cm wide x 65 cm high x 75.cm deep (30 inches wide x 26 inches high x 30 inches deep. Fold-up ones are available from our on-line shop. They are also useful as roomy transport in your car.
In a retraining pen your cat has only two options, to soil its bed or to use the litter you have provided. Because cats are inherently tidy and simply hate soiling their own nest, almost all cats when given this option will urinate and defecate on the litter. Follow these steps when using a retraining pen.
- After we have eliminated medical reasons for not using the litter tray, place a retraining pen in a quiet location where your cat has privacy when using the litter but also has access to seeing household activity.
- Cat urine retains a powerful odour even if you can’t actually smell it. You cat will go back to where it has soiled before and do so again unless you clean all soiled areas with an enzyme product such as enzyme detergent followed by alcohol such as methylated or surgical spirit.
- If training your cat to use a specific style of litter tray or a certain type of litter, install the tray in such a way that your cat, to avoid soiling its bedding, uses the tray.
- Watch your cat in the pen. When you see it using the litter tray give praise and a reward.
- Take your cat out of the retraining pen only when you can concentrate your attention on it, for meals or for play then put it straight back in.
- In almost all circumstances you need to use a retraining pen for one to two weeks to overcome a ‘urinating where you don’t want your cat to urinate’ problem.
Once your cat is reliably retrained using the retraining pen, release it into a single room, with the litter tray just outside the retraining pen. If your cat has previously messed in that room, leave a bowl with food in it on the previously messed location, even though you have thoroughly cleaned it. That inhibits the desire to mess on that spot again. Once your cat is reliably using the litter tray, gradually move it to where you want it to be in the room. Then, a room at a time, let your cat resume living throughout your home.