Tips for litter box training kittens – Part 4

Cats are very clean and have a natural instinct to eliminate to sand and soil. Kittens learn where to appropriately eliminate by watching their mother and usually start learning at about three to four weeks of age. You should not have to do much to train your kitten to use the litter box. However, there are some steps you can take to insure success. Litter box issues and elimination disorders are the main reasons cats are given up to shelters so success is important.

Household Introduction –

Once you have introduced your new kitten to the household take her to the litter box and gently place her inside. Take her front paws and show her how to scratch the litter. Repeat this routine throughout the day. Once she uses the box leave her alone. Cats like their privacy when using the box.

Until you are sure your kitten is using the box, confine them in a smaller area with access to the box. Do not allow them to find alternate places to eliminate.

Keep the kitten away from houseplants. The dirt around the household will be hard to resist .

Litter Box –

A good rule of thumb is to have one litter box per cat in the household, plus one. Some cats will not use a box that has been used by another cat.

A new kitten should have a new, smaller, litter box that they can access easily.

The box should be located in quiet area with little foot traffic. It should be placed away from the kitten’s food and water supply. It should be easily accessible.

The litter box can be cleaned with a water and vinegar mixture.

Litter –

There are many types of litter currently available. Many cats prefer unscented litter with a sandy texture. However, there are litter versions which come in pellets and other shapes which can be successfully used.

Try to start your kitten off with the litter used in their previous environment and if necessary switch them over slowly to the type preferred in your household.

Avoid clumping litter which uses sodium bentonite. It can cause intestinal issues if ingested.

Litter should be scooped daily and the full box of litter should be switched to fresh litter at least once a week.

Mistakes –

Determine the reason your cat chose to eliminate outside of the box. Is the box clean enough? Cats can be very fussy about the cleanliness of the box. Did they have access to the box? Is the environment quiet? Has something changed?

Clean any mistakes immediately with an enzymatic cleaner designed to work with cat urine and odor. If spots are not thoroughly cleaned your cat may return to the spot for future elimination.

Do not punish a cat for not eliminating in the box. Instead show them the box and praise profusely when used.

If accidents continue, this could be a sign of a urinary tract disease or intestinal parasites and they should see a veterinarian.

Offer your kitten a calm, clean and quiet environment for their litter box. They should easily learn the appropriate spot to eliminate. Once settled into a successful litter box set up do not make any unnecessary changes.

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