When you adopt a kitten, you might wonder how to litter train a kitten. It can be helpful to know that most kittens arrive in their new homes having already learned how to use a litter box from their mothers. Even if we don’t know it, most of us have an instinct that makes us want to conceal what happened after we’ve done something wrong. If your new feline needs some pointers, the following steps should help.
Supplies and Equipment
Setting up your kitten for success when it comes to litter box training requires a few supplies. Below you can read a guide by PremiumCatSupplies:
- Litter boxes: Kitty’s gotta go. To make her feel safe, place litter boxes in private spots—wherever your cat hangs out. If there are multiple cats in your home, be sure to have one box for each kitty plus one extra.
- Kitty litter: There are many different types of cat litters. Expensive litters made from natural materials such as pine, recycled newspaper and wheat are becoming more popular, but most cats are not very picky about what type of litter they use. Start with a standard, unscented clumping litter and then experiment later if you want to change brands.
- Treats and toys: Rewards for using the litter box include cat treats, dry cat food and toys. Once your cat has made positive associations about using the box, you’ll need to wean them off of expecting a food-related treat every time they use the box.
How to litter-train a kitten
- As soon as your cat’s boxes arrive, set them up and let your cat sniff around them. Don’t move the boxes once you’ve shown them to your cat, so that he knows exactly what they are.
- When your cat has finished eating or wakes up from a nap, put them in one of the boxes. If you see your cat exhibiting signs that they need to use the litter box, such as sniffing or crouching in a particular area, pick your cat up and place them in the box.
- Praise your dog whenever it uses a command you have taught it. This can be done with the use of a treat, toy, or verbal praise.
- Accidents are a normal part of learning to use the litter box, so don’t punish your cat for them. Doing so won’t help her learn what she should do, and will only make both of you more stressed out.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Cats don’t like to use dirty litter boxes. Make sure to scoop the box daily and change the litter every few days. This will help eliminate odors in your home, as well as make it easier for your cat to do his business!
- Scoop your kitten’s litterbox daily to remove her deposits. Replace the soiled litter as needed—typically when the litter no longer controls odors.
- When you change out the litter, wipe down the box with mild soap and water, or wipe it down with a solution of water and white vinegar. Never use bleach or other harsh chemicals, which could be harmful to your cat.
- Avoid letting your kitten’s accidents go untreated. Clean the area with an enzyme cleaner to eliminate the smell, which if left untreated might encourage your kitten to repeat the action.
The Best Litter Box Locations
- Bedroom: If your cat has problems with litter box training, try moving the litter box to another room. If possible, place the litter box away from where you sleep. Closets are not recommended because they can be too dark and confining for cats.
- Living Room: Although it may not seem like the best solution, your cat will be most comfortable in your family/living room. Make sure you place the litter box where your cat can access it easily but it is not hidden behind any furniture.
- Office: A room with a door that closes is the best place to put a litter box — typically spare bedrooms and offices are comfortable, quiet and private.
- Wide hallway: To make your cat feel comfortable, you can install an open hallway. This will allow the cat to see what is happening in the rest of the house. You should, however, place the litter box in hallways that have low foot traffic and ample room to walk beside the box without invading your cat’s personal space.
Litter Training Older Cats
Most older cats are already well-versed in using a litter box by the time they come to live with you. However, if your cat was previously an outdoor cat, he may need some extra training in order to use his new litter box. In such cases, we suggest filling the box with outdoor soil at first so that he gets used to the feel of it under his paws. Gradually replace more and more of the dirt with cat litter as he gets used to going in his new box until you’ve completely removed all traces of dirt from it.
Caring for Your Cat
Some cats may need to get used to a new litter box. If your cat doesn’t seem to be using the litter box, try cleaning it with a mild bleach solution. You can also try switching to a different type of litter if your cat has used the box but seems hesitant about returning. If a box is covered, it may feel confining to your rats. If they feel too exposed, they may not want to use it. Scooping out the box more often may help with this problem. You might have to experiment with different factors until you find the right combination that makes your rats comfortable using their litter box. It may be that an older cat is having difficulty reaching the litter box because of joint pain or stiffness. If the sides of the box are too tall or if there is something making it difficult for them to climb into the box, make sure that you provide a litter box with easy access.
Many cats tend to spray urine throughout the house once they have reached sexual maturity and begun to mark their territory, even after being fully litter box trained. Many owners find that spaying or neutering cats can help eliminate this behaviour. If your kitty suddenly stops using the litter box or uses it inconsistently, there might be something wrong. Stress and anxiety can cause a cat to stop using her litter box, so consider whether there have been any major changes in her environment and talk to your veterinarian. Often, according to the ASPCA, this is a sign of an underlying medical problem. Once you’ve learned everything you need to know about litter-training your new cat, you’re well on your way to a happy and harmonious relationship with your family’s newest addition.