Kittens start to dig and scratch in the dirt at about four weeks old. This is a natural instinct they are born with, and we can use this instinct to help litter box train a kitten. Buy a litter box before you adopt your kitten, so it will be there when she arrives home with you. Put it in a room where you will want it to stay. Don’t get a tiny one, because your little kitten will grow into cat, so go for a large one. She’ll grow into it. The larger the litter box, the better. Cats appreciate the extra space. Make sure there is a lowered step on the litter box so your kitten can easily climb into it. Place the litter box in a place in your home that will be easy for your kitten to get to. If you are getting more than one kitten or cat, you will need more than one litter box – one per feline, at minimum. Cats are particular about where they go potty, and they do not like sharing. To avoid accidents and unnecessary fights, you really should have one litter box for each kitten you have.
Teaching Your New Kitten to Use the Litter Box Litter box training your kitten takes consistency, but they learn fast. You will need to put her in the litter box yourself at certain times. Put your kitten in the litter box after a meal or nap. If you can tell when she’s about to go, just pick her up and place her in the box. If she has an accident, put her in the litter box. If she has an accident on the floor put some gloves on, pick it up, and put it in the litter box immediately afterward. That will help your kitten get the hint. Leave a little bit of feces and urine in the litter box in the beginning, so she can associate the smell with the litter box. She will notice that the smell only comes from that place. Seeing her own feces in the litter box also helps. Once your kitten is using the litter box regularly, which could be in just a couple of days, she should be ready to use it on her own without constant prompting. That’s when you can start cleaning it on a daily basis. Kittens do not respond well to punishments, so stick with praising her when she does the right thing. Praise her with saying That’s a girl, treats, petting, and playtime.
Taking Care of the Litter Box Cats are very clean animals. They don’t like filth and won’t tolerate it. Keep the litter box clear of urine and feces (once they are already box trained) by scooping it out every day. At least once a week, you will need to dump out all of the litter and add fresh litter to it. Choose good, quality litter for your kitten’s litter box. It should be unscented and dust-free (as much as possible). There will be some dust that rises when the litter is messed with, but the less dust there is, the better. Too much can hurt your kitten’s respiratory system. Clumping litter is great, because it will clump the urine and feces together so you can easily scoop it out. Remember, keep the litter box in a quiet, easy to get to place in your home. Have it there already before your new kitten comes home. Do not move it unless you absolutely have to, and if you do, move it step by step. Train your kitten by placing her feces in the litter box so she knows where it’s supposed to be. It doesn’t take long to litter box train a kitten. Keep the learning process positive with lots of praise when she does well. In no time, you will have a proper kitty going in her litter box all the time.
Photo: Courtesy of Pen Waggener via Flickr (CC by 2.0)