Tips for when your cat or kitten wont use a litter box – Part 2

Training a kitten to use a litter box can go as smooth as can be and other times it can be a struggle. Keep in mind that it is generally not the kitten’s fault that it has litter box problems. It is usually human errors that cause bad habits. The problem is that once a cat develops a bad habit, it is tough to break the habit.

STAGE 1: EVALUATION

The first important thing to do is to evaluate the situation. Determine where the kitten is going to the bathroom, because that behavior will need to be dealt with first. It can also provide a clue as to why the kitten is not going in the appropriate place.

1) By a door. This probably means marking territory.

2) Behind furniture or other items. It probably means that the kitten wants more privacy. Either other cats/kittens are using the box or it is in a place that has too much human or pet traffic.

3) Beside the litter box. This can mean that the kitten may be having trouble accessing the box. He knows where it is and to get close to it but he can’t get in. It can also mean that he is missing the box. Kittens will climb in sometimes and then put their bottoms by the edge of the box. Then the excretion ends up outside or on the box. They will do this too if the box is dirty.

4) On cloth items. Some will do their duty on rugs, laundry, or bath towels. Some cats have an attraction to rubber backed rugs. I have had to remove all of my rubber backed rugs due to one of my cats. As soon as a rubber backed rug is on the floor, she won’t leave it alone. Going on other items such as laundry and towels means that you have to neaten up.

5) Not burying defecation. This can mean that the cat does not like the litter. Not burying this can lead to going other places too because the litter is unpleasant to them.

6) Not making it to the box. Sometimes when a kitten makes the transition from mother’s milk to real food, it can have digestive issues.

Solutions

1) Keep the litter in a confined area and keep the kitten in this area until it learns to use the box appropriately.

2) Watch the diet of the kitten. It could be what you are feeding the kitten.

3) Reduce the hiding places. Don’t leave boxes sitting around or laundry on the floor. These just promote bad behavior and hiding places. If rugs are a temptation, remove them from the house for awhile to work on better habits.

4) Spay or neuter as soon as the kitten is old enough.

5) Start the litter in a shallow container and work up to a bigger box.

6) If the mother cat is part of the household. Allow the kitten to sniff the litter box after mom used the box. The kitten still believes that the mom is part of them.

7) Try a different litter. Choose one with smaller grains. Don’t buy a big container of litter until you know which type the kitten will like. Don’t keep using a bad litter just because you bought it and don’t want to waste it. It is better to waste the litter than your flooring.

8) Seriously clean the soiled areas. Buy a product specifically for pet accidents. If you don’t really clean up the area, the kitten will continue to return to the spot. Even go as far as putting something to deter the kitten on those spots such as a large box, a piece of furniture or even try aluminum foil.

9. Really keep the litter clean while training. Try to scoop as soon as the pet defecates. The kitten will soon learn that there is always a clean box.

10. Be patient and never yell at the kitten. That can make the kitten even more nervous and likely to have accidents. Remember most kittens have litter box problems due to human error. All kittens are good at heart.

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