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How To Train Your Cat To Use Pee Pads

May 28, 2013

The decision to provide pee pads for your cat may be an easy one – but just how easy is it to actually teach a cat to use them?

Photo courtesy drinkerthinker.

According to those who use pee pads in their home, it just requires a little know-how and some patience. Here are some best practices:

To get started, simply place a pee pad inside a clean litter box. Lay the pee pad flat on the bottom or make sure it’s big enough to drape over the sides. The cat should pee on it out of habit.

Training a cat to use a pee pad can also be much like training a cat to use the litter box. Place some of the cat’s stool on the pee pad to give him the idea, Andrea says. He’ll smell the stool on the pee pad, and he’ll be drawn to use it. That said, it may take some time before he’s comfortable going on the pee pad.

Others suggest putting a handful of litter in the center of the pad to clue him in. Once he starts using the pad faithfully, less and less litter can be used, until none is needed.

If a cat is currently going to the bathroom outside of the litter box, place a pad where ever the cat tends to go. Some even recommend taping them to walls if the cat has a tendency to spray.

Once a pee pad is in its desired location, check on it now and then. A cat may fold or crumple the pad in an attempt to bury his business. If the pad is askew when the cat uses it, it may result in the cat’s business spreading to the floor. Consequently, consider using pee pads only on a floor that’s easy to clean, like tile.

Photo courtesy djg0333.

If you’re not comfortable with using the pee pad on your floor, there are several options. One idea is to put the pee pad on a cookie sheet. A cat or even kitten should be able to walk over its low sides easily. That way, if a pad is overturned or askew, the mess will still be somewhat contained.

Another idea is to modify a litter box by cutting off one of its sides or transforming a storage container into a litter box. You can place duct tape around the cut edges so they’re not sharp.

You may also want to consider looking into training pad holders. A holder will secure the pad in place; its non-slip bottom will ensure that it doesn’t slide around when your cat steps on it.

Depending on how many cats you have in your home and how many of your cat use them, you may want to change the pad once or twice a day. Some cats will pee on one end of the pad, and then pee on the other end later in the day.

Does your cat use pee pads? How did you train him or her to use it? Please share in the comments!

20 Comments leave one →
  1. May 28, 2013 8:35 am

    My CH cat Bella is now 5 yrs old and when I figured out she was never going to use a regular litter box, I started putting her outside. She would go to the edge of the yard and pee in the leaves. I decided to try the pee pads. I put leaves on it and presto she used it first time no problems.Never needed leaves after that. I have a boot tray under the pad in case she misses. She does not poop on it though. She goes outside for that. She cries to let me know she needs to go. This has been a real life changer for us. Makes it so much easier.
    Also instead of the expensive puppy pads, I buy adult bed pads and cut them in half. It gives me 36 pads for $6.

  2. May 28, 2013 8:52 am

    My Ch cat Bella is about 5 yrs old now. When we first got her as a kitten I figured out right away she was not going to use the litter box so I started putting her outside to do her business. She would go to the edge of the yard and go in the leaves. I put leaves on a pee pad and presto she started using it immediately. She only pees on it though. She still gos out to poop or I clean it off the floor 😦
    Instead of the expensive puppy pads , I use adult bed pads and cut them in half. $6 for 18 (cut in half 36) pads. I put a boot tray under them. This has made such a difference with her. She cries to let me know when she needs to go out. She is very vocal about what she wants 🙂

  3. Jan Brownlee permalink
    September 30, 2013 2:19 pm

    My cat Brooklyn always peed on the bath mat when I had it on the floor in front of the shower. She would pee on throw rugs as well. I should have realized that pee pee pads were the answer, but it took me about a year to capitulate and buy them. She was peeing on the carpet in my room and I was desperate. She took to them right away and she has not peed on the carpet since I started using the pads. She was a stray and my theory is that she was raised with dogs who used the pee pee pads.

  4. January 4, 2015 6:45 pm

    Ihave 4 cats, 3 are out siders, I raised them science thay where born, & i wonder will that litter padd idea work in revers, I mean can it teach them to use the litter box when thay are in the house?

  5. Tom permalink
    September 13, 2015 11:32 am

    My cat was a urinating out side of the box for many years. He never got the hang of using litter for urinating but for #2 he sometimes used the litter. The vet checked him fora variety of ills and found none. I decided to mount pee pads wherever he had found his favorite place to pee. It worked. I had three places, which I changed and strategically mounted for him. Height, width and the correct mounting eventually gets worked out. Otherwise, I was at my wits end with the urination. This strategy could be a cat saver.

  6. Barbara permalink
    September 28, 2015 7:15 pm

    Thank you! I have been going out of my mind with a sweet Calico I rescued from the local shelter. First it was the bathroom sink – I began leaving it full of water. Next was the tub bath for both pee and poop, Then she started to poop behind the toilet, Then I caught her peeing into the floor vent in the living room as well as the floor of the little hidey thing she loved (before peeing in it), Tried the puppy pads behind the toilet and it worked! She will now poop in the litter box and pee on the pads. SO glad others have shared that while being strange, she is not the only wacky kitty on the planet. I still wish she would use the box (or the tub) as my guest bathroom has lost some ambiance with pee pads strewn about but better than replacing expensive throw rugs every week.

  7. Anna permalink
    December 13, 2015 9:52 am

    I didn’t need to train my 15 year old cat with pads, she just stopped using the litter box to pee in and was peeing in places she shouldn’t, She’s also calico and I have her 14 year old sister as well who really gets in her sisters space (no matter what I do honestly) So I read online that cats will sometimes use pads because of something they don’t like in the box, whether it be size or smell or pain, sometimes you just can’t tell. Anyways, if your stressing out not knowing what to do try to start off with pee pads near the letterbox to begin with, or find out where its favourite spot to relieve its self. Is it a stressful area with lots of action? Try moving the bathroom to a quieter location.

  8. December 23, 2015 9:04 pm

    I adopted my cat, Sherlock, from the animal shelter. He had been given up by his previous owners for inappropriate urination. It quickly became apparent that the problem still persisted.

    When I decided to use puppy pads I completely lined his favorite areas with them. Any new place he would pee in, I would line with puppy pads. I would have 10 or more set out. Gradually I was able to wean him down to one pad and place it where I want it. While he does sometimes still pee on things, I’ll take once every few months over daily messes.

  9. Susan R permalink
    April 29, 2016 1:41 pm

    One of our cats uses pee pads. She was run off of one of the boxes by the alpha cat and she rarely used the senior cat’s box. We put a box out for her, but the alpha cat used it as well so she would only use limitedly when he was sleeping. Out of desperation, we tried the pee pads and the first time did the trick. She actually seems to prefer the pads and usually centers everything well. Only occasionally is there spill over from her scratching the pad to cover. It’s easier to pick up and fold the pads rather than clean the litter box. The other two still use the boxes and this once does occasionally, but this seems to have resolved the issue.

  10. Linda permalink
    July 8, 2016 2:39 pm

    My 17 year old cat uses pee pads though we didn’t intentionally train her to. We’ve always had dogs and have always placed her litterbox in a closet with the door open enough for her to slip through but not the dogs. That way she has her own private area safe from the dogs to do her business. Now that she is quite elderly I noticed that there were a few times she peed in the closet but not in the litterbox. We promptly took her to the vet for a checkup, and learned that she has the beginnings of kidney disease (thankfully not too bad at this point). After a thorough cleaning, I began lining the closet floor with pee pads to catch any accidents in there if for some reason she decided not to use the box. Every time I cleaned the litter box I replaced all the pee pads. During that time we also rescued a puppy from the local shelter. So now we’re potty training the puppy, and we have a few pee pads in a couple spots in the house for the puppy. Guess who I caught peeing on the puppy’s pee pads–the cat!

  11. Chloe's dad permalink
    September 29, 2016 1:55 pm

    So we have a new dilemma. Our baby kitten (7 going on 8 weeks) found a spot on the hardwood floors of our 100-year-old building where she decided was a great place to pee. We have her trained in the litter box to move her bowels and pee, but for some reason she also likes this other spot. So, I placed a pee pad over the spot until I can acquire some natures miracle. In the last 24 hours, she has peed on the pad twice and continues to play with the plastic by chewing on it and wrestling with it. The frustration is, how do we get to a place where we can subtract the pee pad and she remembers where the dang litter box is located right in the next room? My concern is that she has established two locations to go potty. Any suggestions? Just to be clear, the pee pad location is not ideal as a new location for the litter box.

  12. Cindy permalink
    November 14, 2016 4:14 pm

    We adopted a stray cat who had 5 kittens. All started using the litter box right off, except one, who would eliminate on the pee pads we had put around the litter boxes in case of an accident. Now that she is 4 months old, she continues to use the pee pads, always just outside the litter box. I thought that was so strange, until I saw the messages above. I didn’t have to train this little sweetie. She just doesn’t seem to like the feel of litter.

  13. Christine permalink
    February 2, 2017 6:04 pm

    My 19 year old cat has gone outside the litter box all of her life, until recently. She had a kidney infection and dribbled everywhere, so I laid pee pads near her. She just LOVES them. She trained me to get her pee pads. I buy large size from Costco. She rarely will use the litter box. (We have other cats.). It’s interesting – if this were just another litter box our male cat would use it, but he leaves it completely alone. I have a big room with space for 4 somewhat overlapping pee pads, on the carpet. First I put down some of that plastic carpet material you can use when painting the house. The plastic gets wiped when needed, and replaced about every 2 months. No box at all. Does require space.

  14. Laura permalink
    November 29, 2017 3:57 am

    Our dog did the training! I’m convinced kitty thinks he is a dog…

  15. Bonnie permalink
    January 20, 2019 10:57 am

    My cat has been perfect since I got him at a shelter all of a day he urinated beside the litter a clean one at that! I haven’t figured it out so I put the under pads at the front of the litter box and he seemed pretty happy ! Tho I was upset at first.. thinking buying pee pads..I’m now thinking it is easier so I’m letting it go….he still uses the litter box half the time ..he has me puzzled!

  16. Allison permalink
    August 27, 2019 10:20 am

    My 16 year old cat is severely arthritic and i have just started using pee pads and they are a life saver! I actually have 2 cats.. full sisters.. one is like a kitten still and the other is severely arthritic from her head to her tail, missing her canines, has a heart murmur and spots on her lungs. A few years a go I noticed weight loss and moved the cat food and one litter box from the basement where the dogs couldn’t get it to a place upstairs where the dogs couldn’t get it… that worked well until recently when she started urinating outside the litter box upstairs. I taped pee pads to the wall where she was going and spread a few on the floor underneath the taped ones to enlarge the area… It’s a work in progress but she’s using the pee pads and not the hardwood floor so when I get it fine tuned I’ll post more. I would like to move the area that she prefers to go in and I’m certain it will take time.

  17. October 16, 2019 8:59 am

    My cat has been traumatised by a health condition, so the litter box is not his preference anymore. I put the pee pads on a tray where he decided to go and now he goes on the pee pads.

  18. Denise DuVall permalink
    April 5, 2020 12:24 pm

    We have 2 CH kitty’s that we love dearly. Our biggest frustration is that we have 4 litter boxes for them to use. they will go #2 in the box, but then pee outside the box in another location. We are constantly cleaning up. We have started to use cheap area rugs (that we can wash) with a pee pad underneath. The biggest drawback to the pee pad is we have one kitty with CH that likes to chew on the plastic. That is why we put them underneath the rug, he doesn’t see the plastic to chew on but uses the rug. With the pee pad under the rug it doesn’t soak down to the floor thus prevents our wood floor from getting ruined. We are open to any other advice, but for now, this helps a bit.

  19. LaVada permalink
    February 3, 2021 3:40 pm

    I use an automobile oil drip pan for my cat’s pee pads to protect the floor.

  20. Ann permalink
    January 15, 2023 11:01 pm

    My cat came to me from the Humane society at 6 months old. She is now almost a year old and has never used a litter box. She is not afraid of the box but just refuses to use it. I’ve tried everything, and i do mean everything with no luck. She preferred my carpet, which was a no no. I put a small bath rug on the floor with a plastic liner under it and covered it with a potty pad. i blocked off access to her favorite spot. At first, she used the potty rug and then covered her business with the pad and then she decided to use the pad! Every time she used the pad correctly I gave her a treat. She will now use the pad in my guest bathroom. It was a long ordeal, moving the rug and pad from her preferred pee spot into the bathroom, a distance of about 20 feet. Just a few inches a day until she would accept the new location. Now, she will sometimes call me into the bathroom so I can“admire” her work and give her a treat. This solution seems to work for both of us. I am madly in love with her and couldn’t possibly give her up so I’m glad we worked this out together. All I can say as you have to be very patient. .

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