Most cats will instinctively use a litter tray from a very early age. Once you have settled your cat into their new environment, you will need to determine the best place for their litter tray. Choose an area away from your cat’s food and water where they will have some privacy and quiet and where you are happy for the litter tray to remain permanently. Avoid frequently moving the tray so as not to confuse and stress your cat. For the first few days after you have brought your cat home, place them in their litter tray within half an hour of feeding time and encourage them to scratch around in the litter. Praise your cat when they use their tray correctly but do not punish them if they have an accident outside of the tray as they are unlikely to associate your punishment with their mistake. If your cat is not using their litter tray try changing the type of litter you have used. Make sure the litter is changed frequently as cats are fastidious animals that do not like to use soiled trays.
If your cat starts to urinate or defecate outside of the tray it is worthwhile visiting a veterinarian to make sure there are no medical reasons for changes in toileting behaviour. Please see the article titled “Why is my cat urinating inappropriately?” for important information.