Cats and litter box training – Part 8

Cats are naturally a remarkably clean and fastidious animal and will usually learn quite quickly how to use a litter tray. Some kittens can be put in the litter tray and they instinctively go back there but others simply refuse to use the litter tray and will always find a nice corner of the room. The other problem here is that once one of the kittens starts using a corner of the room, the other may think that they should be using it too.

You really need to spend a fair amount of time with the kittens continually picking them up after eating or drinking and putting them in the litter tray. You can also buy a spray that attracts them to the litter tray. Cat urine does not do the carpets any good and if you allow the cat to continually use the corner of a room, you will soon find that the carpet discolors and you can never really get rid of that awful smell.

You could use a “pet behave spray” which is basically a spray that can be applied to any soft furnishing – carpets, stairs, settees etc and will deter the cat from going near as they hate the smell. You will also need to clean the litter tray daily if you have more than one cat. The only solution is perseverance and a willingness to clean up a lot of cat waste before they finally learn where they are supposed to go! You should never scold a young cat for fouling in the wrong place and certainly never rub its nose in it.

Most people keep the cat’s litter box in the bathroom or secluded in the basement. Keep im mind, though, that a very small kitten may have difficulty getting up and down stairs. Two litter boxes in different areas of the house would be even better so if they wander they will not be caught short. Cats appear to prefer to do their business unobserved, so allow them some privacy. It’s not that they’re shy – modesty and shame are concepts alien to cats. It’s probably just that they feel vulnerable when caught perched in the litter box, and cats don’t like to feel trapped.

As for the type of litter boxes, a plastic or baked enamel pan is easy to clean and will not react with the urine. Be very sure that it is stable and won’t shift or tip when the cat goes in. One disaster like that, and they won’t go near the litter box again!

Always clean it with soap and hot water (probably about once a week), but take care to avoid strong disinfectant as the odour can offend some cats. Also, disinfectants containing coal tar or carbolic derivatives can actually be dangerous to cats and kittens. You may find that your cat rejects one commercial cat litter, while another may be more acceptable. You may have to try several brands before finding a suitable one.

It’s a good idea to take the kitten to their litter box whenever they wake up from a nap, after playing, or has finished a meal. It is also wise not to let them roam around the house unobserved until you’re convinced they’re using their litter box regularly

Types of Litter

Clay Litter is the more traditional kind of kitty litter. It is inexpensive and tends not to get tracked outside the box. Inconvenience in cleaning the box is a drawback. With this kind of litter you are not able to clean it completely without dumping the whole tray. This leads to an odour over time.

Clumping Litter is relatively new on the market. It is more expensive than the traditional clay but has many benefits. You are better able to clean everything out of the box as the urine forms a clump of litter making removal quick and easy. On this same token you can better monitor your cat’s urinary output on a daily basis. This type does however tend to be tracked outside of the litter box, especially in carpeted rooms.

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