Tips for litter box training kittens

KITTY HYGIENE MADE SIMPLE

Training a kitten to use a litter box is fairly simple to do, if it is done correctly.

Usually, the queen, or mother cat, initiates the litter training process with her offspring. She sets an example, while her young kittens watch. The queen uses the litter box, buries the evidence and steps out again.

Whether you are training multiple kittens or simply bringing home a single young feline pet, the litter training process is the same.

INTRODUCING THE KITTEN TO THE LITTER BOX

Gently pick up your kitten, and place him in a clean litter box. Let him walk around and explore it. Soon, he will realize the reason he is there, particularly if the litter box retains a light scent that reveals its use. (For this reason, the litter box should be clean, but not sterilized and completely odor-free during the training process.)

When you kitten successfully uses the litter box, you will want to reward him with plenty of affection and affirmation. Pet him and praise him in a soothing voice.

WHAT ABOUT ACCIDENTS?

Occasionally, a kitten may have an accident and perform his pottying outside the litter box. When this happens, you must address the situation directly and consistently, but compassionately.

Pick up the kitten, and place him by the soiled spot. Gently put his head down, offering him a strong smell of the evidence. Then place him immediately in the litter box. Gently begin digging in the kitty litter with his paws. He will quickly get the point.

Cats are generally clean and intelligent creatures. Quite quickly, a kitten can learn to use the litter box consistently, as long as it is maintained well. If the litter box becomes too dirty, messy and stinky, even the best trained cats may refuse to use it.

LOCATING THE LITTER BOX

Ideally, you will find a fairly private, but well-ventilated location for your litter box. A bathroom, laundry room or mud room may be just right.

Be sure to place your kitten’s feeding equipment, such as his food and water bowls, as far away from the litter box as possible.

MAINTAINING THE LITTER BOX

Usually, a cat owner will keep a small slotted scoop near the litter box, to remove any soilings as quickly as possible.

The entire litter box should be cleaned often as well, and new kitty litter should replace the old. In a single-cat home, once a week may be enough. In homes with multiple cats, the litter may need to be changed more often.

Although the box itself should be cleaned regularly, cat owners should not use bleach, pine-scented disinfectants or other chemicals that may mask the faint scent of the litter box. On the other hand, ammonia-based cleaners will only increase the odor of a pungent litter box. Clean soapy water is the best, actually.

If the litter box is kept clean and neat, your kitten will soon be happy to use it.

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