How to Litter Train a Kitten?

Most adult cats will naturally seek out a sandy, granular place to eliminate, but young kittens might need a little help figuring out proper litter box habits.

If you adopt an older kitten or adult cat, you can start litter box training as soon as you bring them home. While deciding on a litter box may seem like a trivial task, it actually does make a big difference to your kitten.

Dr. Sally J. Foote, DVM , a feline behavior consultant certified by the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC), recommends a litter tray that is 13 by 9 inches for kittens. Your cats litter box should be approximately 1 1/2 times their length. Dr. Foote suggests giving your kitten a choice in the beginning to see what they prefer.

Research has shown that most cats prefer fine-grain litters, presumably because they have a softer feel. Its tempting to put litter boxes in closets and corners because we don’t want them to be visible, but this should be avoided. Remember that cats also don’t like to feel cornered or trapped during toilet time.

For kittens having trouble focusing, you may have to remove the option of having other interesting places to urinate. Dont make them have to go down the stairs, through the playroom, through the kitty door, and into the utility room, Nagelschneider says. Its particularly important to remember that your kitten will eventually become an adult cat, so putting a litter box up on a shelf or down many flights of stairs will make it much harder to get to when they are older and arthritic.

Step 2: Gently place your kitten in the litter box. If they dont, r un your fingers through the clean litter to demonstrate the pawing action. When your kitten uses the litter box appropriately, reward them with their favorite treat to create a positive association with the activity.

For this to work, the treat must be given immediately after they have left the box so they associate the activity with the reward. You don’t want your kitten developing an aversion to the box during the training process. Consider using pheromone diffusers near the litter box to relieve stress and make your kitten more comfortable with their surroundings.

These diffusers, when placed in the room with the litter box, make kittens feel that they have marked their territory. Bring your kitten to your veterinarian to check for parasites , urinary tract infections , or other medical issues that may promote inappropriate elimination. Your veterinarian can always help you troubleshoot your kittens litter box issues as well.

Training takes time, but your kitten will master these habits with your love, support, and attention.

What is the fastest way to litter train a kitten?

Show her the boxes as soon as she arrives by setting her in them and letting her sniff and examine them. ….Set your cat in one of the boxes immediately following meals and after she wakes up from naps. ….Reward her whenever you notice her using it. ….Don’t punish or scold her for accidents.

How long does it take to litter train a kitten?

Many kittens will catch on quite quickly, and get it right most of the time. Others may need to be placed in the litter box several times a day for several days before they start to grasp the idea. Overall it may take up to four weeks to get a kitten fully and reliably litter box trained.

How do I get my kitten to use the litter tray?

Try putting a litter tray down where they’ve been going to the toilet to encourage them to go in the tray. Keep a close eye on your cat if they look like they want to go to the toilet. With kittens, place them in or near their tray to encourage them to go to the toilet in there.

How do kittens automatically know to use a litter box?

Litter box training. Many cats and kittens will instinctively use a litter box without needing to be taught, because of their instincts to expel bodily waste in dirt or sand. Therefore, with a new kitten, owners usually need to simply show the kitten where the litter box is located, and how to get in and out.

If you’re the proud pet parent of a new cat, the question of how to litter train a kitten is probably foremost on your mind. It might relieve you to know that litter box training is typically a fairly simple affair. Many kittens arrive in their new homes having already learned how to use a litter box from their mothers, and even those who haven’t are helped along by a strong instinct to bury the evidence after doing the deed. However, if your new kitty needs some pointers, the following steps should help.

If your kitty uses the box consistently over a period of time and then suddenly stops, or does so inconsistently, there might be an underlying problem. Stress and anxiety can cause a cat to stop using the litter box, so consider whether there have been any major changes in their environment, and talk to your veterinarian.

Often, according to the ASPCA , no longer using the litter box can be a sign of an underlying medical problem, such as a urinary tract infection, which could become serious if left untreated. Now that you’re armed with everything you need to litter train your new cat, you’re well on the road to a happy, harmonious relationship with your family’s newest addition. Once you’ve ruled out stress or health problems and you’ve tried everything else, if your cat still isn’t getting the hang of it, you may need to confine them to a small area with the box, such as a bathroom or laundry room, until they start using it.

While most cats can be trained to use a litter box, its important that you help your kitten get off to a good start. If possible, you should obtain a kitten that already has been litter box trained in its previous home. It will adapt to a new environment more quickly than a kitten that has not been trained.

Once you have found a brand of litter, type of box, and location your kitten likes, avoid making sudden changes. Since it is important that your kitten feels comfortable where it eliminates, try to prevent anything unpleasant from happening when it is near its litter box.

Locate the box in an area free of startling noises, such as a washing machine, radiator, or furnace. When Mistakes Occur If your kitten eliminates outside its box, it wont take long for it to develop a habit of using this undesirable area. If the habit persists make certain that the soiled area has been thoroughly cleaned and treated with a commercial odor neutralizer.

Punishment usually makes things worse or creates other problems such as fear of the owner, especially if you swat your kitten or rub its nose in the mess. For example, bladder disease, diarrhea, and constipation can irritate your kitten when it eliminates and cause it to avoid the box.

Learning to eliminate in the chosen area is a crucial skill for pet kittens and cats. Elimination outside the litter box is the most common problematic behavior reported by cat owners, so a proactive approach is critical for a successful life shared by people and their pets.

Doing our best to keep the litter clean and appealing to cats is one of the most important factors in maintaining good elimination habits in our pets. Every Month: Empty all litter and thoroughly scrub the box with hot water and mild soap before refilling.

Most kittens and cats will naturally eliminate in litter, as they tend to prefer loose granule substrates. If you see the cat sniffing, pawing at the floor, circling, or looking for a private area, quietly carry or entice them back to the litter station to help them remember where it is. If you are supervising your kitten or new cat and they start to eliminate outside the litter box, interrupt them using a cheerful voice, a whistle, or clap your hands.

Guide your kitten or cat quickly to the right spot and then allow them quiet and privacy to finish eliminating. If you find a mistake after the fact, simply calmly and quietly clean the area, and resolve to better supervise the kitten in the future. Punishing your pet for a natural act can make them think they should never toilet near a person and cause them to become secretive or fearful about elimination.

These details can offer great insight for your veterinary team in helping resolve litter use troubles.

When to Start Litter Training Kittens

In the first few weeks after birth, mother cats stimulate their kittens to eliminate, and they clean them up afterward. During that time, kittens don’t need litter boxes.You can start litter training kittens at around 4 weeks of age by offering kitten-friendly litter boxes. This coincides with the time that kittens start weaning.If you adopt an older kitten or adult cat, you can start litter box training as soon as you bring them home. You will need the right cat potty training supplies to be set up before they come to their new home.

Choose a Litter Box

While deciding on a litter box may seem like a trivial task, it actually does make a big difference to your kitten.

Get the Right Size Litter Box

Full-size boxes may be too big and intimidating for a small kitten. Dr. Sally J. Foote, DVM, a feline behavior consultant certified by the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC), recommends a litter tray that is 13 by 9 inches for kittens.If your cat is older or you have other adult cats in the home, they will need boxes that are full-size, while your kitten needs their smaller litter boxes to start with.The litter box will need to grow with your kitten. Your cat’s litter box should be approximately 1 1/2 times their length. You will need to size up as your kitten gets bigger.

Provide More Than One Litter Box

At a minimum, there should be one more litter box in your house than the number of cats. If you have two cats, there should be three boxes. If you have five cats, there should be at least six boxes.

Uncovered versus Covered Litter Boxes

Many cats prefer to use an uncovered box.“In nature, cats don’t want to get caught by a predator inside an enclosed area,” says IAABC-certified cat behavior consultant Mieshelle Nagelschneider. Many of her clients believe that their cats prefer the privacy of a cover, but she says that “cats don’t want to feel trapped” when they use their litter box.Whether or not your cat prefers a restroom with or without a roof comes down to your kitty’s personal preference, says Dr. Foote, who has found that some cats prefer an open space to eliminate, while others prefer an enclosed space.Dr. Foote suggests giving your kitten a choice in the beginning to see what they prefer.

Pick the Right Type of Litter

Research has shown that most cats prefer fine-grain litters, presumably because they have a softer feel.When it comes to clumping or non-clumping litters, cats have their own preferences. Of course, you might prefer clumping for the ease of scooping.In terms of clay litter versus litter made from other materials, some cats won’t use a box that has corn- or wheat-based litter because it smells like food, Nagelschneider says.Try out a few types to make sure you get the type of litter that your kitten prefers.

Plan Where to Put the Litter Boxes

Litter box placement and availability can be a critical factor in encouraging your kitten to use the box.

Don’t Hide the Litter Boxes

If the boxes are all in the same corner, they are effectively one big box, which can lead to trouble if your kitties don’t want to share.It’s tempting to put litter boxes in closets and corners because we don’t want them to be visible, but this should be avoided. Remember that cats also don’t like to feel cornered or trapped during toilet time.They’ll also need some sort of light to see and find their boxes, so if there’s no ambient light in the place where you keep the litter box, try using a night-light, Nagelschneider says.

Avoid Distractions

Set up your kitten’s litter box in an area that has few things to distract them from getting down to business.For kittens having trouble focusing, you may have to remove the option of having other “interesting” places to urinate. Try keeping your kitten in a small room without any rugs or carpeting and only a small amount of bedding to try and keep them focused until they master using the litter box.

Place Litter Boxes on Every Floor

The boxes should be spread out, with at least one on every floor of your home.Make it easy for your cat to get to the litter boxes. “Don’t make them have to go down the stairs, through the playroom, through the kitty door, and into the utility room,” Nagelschneider says. “Cat’s don’t want to go any farther than we do to reach the bathroom.”It’s particularly important to remember that your kitten will eventually become an adult cat, so putting a litter box up on a shelf or down many flights of stairs will make it much harder to get to when they are older and arthritic.

Introduce Your Kitten to the Litter Box

Once you have your supplies picked out and litter box areas set up, here’s how you can help litter train your kitten.

Reinforce Good Litter Box Habits

When your kitten uses the litter box appropriately, reward them with their favorite treat to create a positive association with the activity.For this to work, the treat must be given immediately after they have left the box so they associate the activity with the reward.If your kitten makes a mistake, do NOT punish them or yell at them. Calmly clean up the mess with an

Keep the Litter Boxes Clean

Try to scoop your kitten’s litter box after every elimination. You don’t want your kitten developing an aversion to the box during the training process. After scooping, add some clean litter to maintain a litter depth of 2 to 3 inches to give your kitty plenty of room to dig.Once your kitten is older and uses the litter box consistently, you can scoop daily instead of each time your kitten uses the box.Periodically empty out all of the litter in each box, clean the boxes, and fill them with clean litter. Most non-scoop litters will have their own recommendations on the label for how frequently they should be changed.Clumping litters only need to be changed out completely every week or couple of weeks, depending on how many cats you have using the boxes.

How to Litter Train a Kitten

To start your kitty off right on the path to developing good bathroom habits, you’ll need a few supplies:

Litter Training Older Cats

It’s important to take proper care of the litter box. Not only will this help eliminate the dreaded “cat smell” from your home, but it will also make using the box a more pleasant experience for your cat.

Troubleshooting Your Cat

Some cats, as mentioned previously, can be quite picky about the conditions under which they’re willing to go. If your cat doesn’t seem to be getting the hang of using the box, it could simply be that they don’t like the size or shape of the box or the smell or texture of the litter. If the box is covered, they may find it too confining—or it may be that it feels too exposed and would prefer a covered box. They might also dislike the location of the box, or it may be that you simply need to scoop it out more often. You might need to experiment until you find the right combination of factors that makes them comfortable enough to use the box.If you have an older cat, they may be dealing with joint pain or stiffness that makes accessing the box difficult for your cat. Consider whether the sides of the box might be too high for them to comfortably climb over, or whether they have to climb stairs or jump up on something in order to get to it.Cats that have yet to be spayed or neutered might spray urine throughout the house in order to mark their territory, even after being fully litter box trained, suggests Petfinder. Often, being spayed or neutered tends to eliminate this behavior.If your kitty uses the box consistently over a period of time and then suddenly stops, or does so inconsistently, there might be an underlying problem. Stress and anxiety can cause a cat to stop using the litter box, so consider whether there have been any major changes in their environment, and talk to your veterinarian. Often, according to the ASPCA, no longer using the litter box can be a sign of an underlying medical problem, such as a urinary tract infection, which could become serious if left untreated.Now that you’re armed with everything you need to litter train your new cat, you’re well on the road to a happy, harmonious relationship with your family’s newest addition. Once you’ve ruled out stress or health problems and you’ve tried everything else, if your cat still isn’t getting the hang of it, you may need to confine them to a small area with the box, such as a bathroom or laundry room, until they start using it.

The Right Equipment

When you get a new kitten, find out what type of litter is used in its previous home. Use the same type of litter at first, then gradually introduce it to a new brand if necessary. Often a plastic box is the most practical and easy to clean. The sides should be low enough that your kitten can easily climb in and out. Place the box in a relatively quiet area of your home with minimal traffic, where your kitten can have some privacy. Be sure the box is easily accessible, perhaps near to your kitten’s sleeping area.Some kittens dislike scented litter, so it is usually best to start with an unscented clay or clumping litter. If you already have cats at home, provide an additional box for each new cat. Most kittens will automatically use kitty litter in preference to other surfaces, except perhaps the soil of a potted plant. To prevent mishaps, keep plants out of your kitten’s reach or cover the soil with pine cones or decorative rock.To ensure that your kitten uses its litter box every time, keep it within eyesight at all times. If it stops playing and begins sniffing around, gently carry it to the litter box. Praise any sniffing or scratching and give it loads of praise or a small food treat for eliminating. Whenever you are unable to watch your kitten, restrict it to a cat-proofed room with its litter box. Continue this for at least the first two weeks, until your kitten is using its box regularly.Using a covered litter box can help control the odor in your home and can be helpful for kittens with poor aim. If your cat is reluctant to use a covered box, condition it to this setup by placing a large cardboard box over its litter box. Gradually decrease the size of the cardboard until it approximates the commercial box. Then make the switch.

Housetraining for Kittens and Cats

Learning to eliminate in the chosen area is a crucial skill for pet kittens and cats. Elimination outside the litter box is the most common problematic behavior reported by cat owners, so a proactive approach is critical for a successful life shared by people and their pets.