Tips for litter box training kittens – Part 5

I never had a cat of my own till I got Ernest as a small kitten, when my children were really small too. Of course, I had grown up with cats in the family, the grand aunties and grandmas had them and any toilet training was none of my affair. I recall they would let the cat out to ‘do its business’ in nearby fields or wasteland, and problems in the house did not seem an issue. So when Ernest arrived, rather suddenly one late Saturday afternoon, I had no books, and nobody to hand to tell me how to go about the litter training. I sought advice on the phone, from my mother and mother-in-law. Both had different views, so I took the best parts and modified as I went along.

The first important point is never to scold or hit, even gently, when a kitten has an ‘accident’. OK, it is most annoying when you see puddles – or worse, a little pile of something – on your best rug or carpet. The tip here is to clean this up and put it in the litter tray. Yes, that way, you are telling the kitten WHERE such stuff belongs, and it can smell where it should ‘go’. My mother-in-law advised me to prepare myself for many little accidents at first, by covering all floors with newspaper! Somewhat over the top and very annoying in a rustling sort of way, you would agree. My mother said I should rub the kitten’s nose in its deposits, then place the animal on the litter tray! Rather harsh, and NOT what I did, or advise anybody else to do. I struck a happy medium. I put the litter tray near the back door and surrounded it with newspapers. Whether I did right or wrong, about half an hour after I fed the kitten, I would set it on the litter tray; rather like potty training a child, and involving repeated patterns. This seemed to work very well.

One tip I read was if the kitten, or cat keeps peeing in the same place, (not the litter box or tray), then feed it there. Because felines are very clean animals, this will put them off going back to that spot and peeing. Well, nobody likes to eat in the bathroom, now do they? If you do this for a few days, maybe less, the message goes home and no more unauthorised peeing. Strangely enough, I have Stephen King, the novelist, to thank for a good tip for getting rid of cat pee smells. I cannot remember which of his books I found this in, I read so many of them, but it worked. Put some white wine on the offending area of carpet or floor, sprinkle with bicarbonate of soda and leave overnight. In the morning, wash this off

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