Training Your Kitten to Use the Litter Box
In the event that you’ve recently been the delighted pet parent of a new cat, the subject of how to litter train a kitten is almost certainly on your thoughts. Knowing that litter box training is often a straightforward process may provide you with some relief. The majority of kittens come in their new homes having learned how to use a litter box from their mothers, and even those who haven’t are aided by a strong impulse to hide the evidence of their act after they’ve done it. However, if your new cat is in need of some guidance, the following methods should be of assistance.
Supplies You’ll Need
You’ll need a few materials to get your kitten started on the right foot when it comes to developing excellent toilet habits:
- In general, it’s a good idea to have one litter box for every two cats that will be using it, so if this is your first cat, you’ll want to start with two litter boxes. Place them in spots that are convenient to access while still providing privacy. They may not be used if they are too exposed, since your cat may not feel comfortable enough to do so. Kitty litter is a type of litter that is used for cats. You’ll discover a wide variety of alternatives, ranging from low-cost non-clumping clay litter to high-end, environmentally friendly solutions manufactured from materials such as pine pellets, recycled newspaper, and even whole wheat grains. Other cats are quite particular about the sort of litter they use, and will refuse to use it if the texture or scent is offensive to them. While many cats aren’t finicky about the type of litter you use, some cats are. If you want to experiment with other types of litter, your best strategy is to start with a basic unscented clumping litter and then switch after your cat has learned to use it properly. Toys and treats are provided. When you notice your furry bundle of joy using their litter box, give them a cat treat or a piece of dry cat food to show your appreciation. If you want to assist your child develop good associations with the litter box, you may use toys and praise to aid in the process. At some point, you’ll have to wean them off of the expectation that they’ll get a food-related reward every time they use the box.
How to Litter Train a Kitten
Follow these instructions to teach your cat how to use the litter box:
- By putting your cat in the boxes as soon as they arrive, you can demonstrate how they work and allow them to sniff and inspect them. Make sure not to relocate the boxes once you’ve showed them to your furry companion in order to prevent confusing him or her. Place your cat in one of the boxes as soon as they finish eating and as soon as they wake up from their naps. If you observe them acting in a way that indicates they need to go, such as sniffing or crouching in a certain spot, pick them up and place them in their litter box. When you observe them utilizing it, give them a reward for doing so. Give them a treat or a toy as a token of your appreciation. Don’t chastise or scold your cat if he makes a mistake. Such behavior will simply result in more tension and worry, which may compound the situation and make training much more difficult. Due to the fact that felines do not identify punishment with the episode in issue, training them to avoid repeating the behavior does not work.
Cleaning and Maintenance
It is critical to maintain the cleanliness of the litter box. In addition to removing the terrible “cat smell” from your home, this will make using the litter box a more pleasurable experience for your feline.
- Clean out the litter box on a regular basis to ensure that your kitten’s deposits are not left behind. Replace dirty litter as needed—typically when the litter no longer has the ability to suppress odor. When you change the litter, make sure to thoroughly clean and disinfect the box. Mild soap and water, or a mix of water and white vinegar, can be used to clean. Avoid using bleach, industrial disinfectants, or other harsh chemicals that might be damaging to your cat
- Instead, use natural cleaning products. Remove accidents from places outside the box by using an enzyme cleanser to clean the area. It is possible that if they are not treated for the scent, they will continue to go to that location
- Nevertheless, this sort of cleaning will erase the smell.
Litter Training Older Cats
Typically, older cats will have be accustomed to using a litter box by the time they come to live with you, but if the cat in issue was formerly an outdoor cat, you may face a litter box training difficulty. However, even in this case, cats have all of the reflexes necessary to help them rapidly understand what a litter box is for. Getting them used to the litter box may be the most difficult task. In such circumstances, Vetstreet recommends filling the box with outside soil to begin with, rather than using inside soil.
This will allow your cat time to become acclimated to the new surface.
Troubleshooting Your Cat
According to what has been previously said, certain cats may be rather particular regarding the conditions in which they are ready to endure. In the event that your cat is having difficulty learning to use the litter box, it is possible that they are just not like of the size or form of the box, or that they dislike the scent or texture of the litter. If the box is covered, they may find it too restrictive; alternatively, they may feel exposed and prefer a box that is not covered. It’s possible that they don’t like the position of the box, or that you just have to scoop it out more frequently than they do.
- If you have an older cat, it is possible that they are experiencing joint discomfort or stiffness, which makes reaching the litter box difficult for them.
- Although they have been thoroughly litter box trained, cats that have not yet been spayed or neutered may spray pee throughout the home in order to claim their territory, according to Petfinder.
- In the event that your cat has been using the litter box regularly for a length of time and then abruptly stops, or does so in an inconsistent manner, there may be an underlying problem.
- According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a cat’s refusal to use the litter box is frequently an indication of an underlying medical condition, such as a urinary tract infection, which can become serious if left untreated.
If your cat is still having trouble using the litter box after you’ve checked out stress or health issues and done everything else, you may need to restrict them to a small space with the box, such as a bathroom or laundry room, until they get the hang of it.
Jean Marie Bauhaus was an American architect who founded the Bauhaus movement. A pet mom, pet blogger, and author based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Jean Marie Bauhaus writes under the supervision of a slew of furbabies on her lap most of the time.
Setting your cat up for litter box success
Despite the large number of litter box items available on the market and the wide range of human perspectives on litter boxes, from the perspective of a cat, the litter box setup is really simple. Make use of the checklist provided below to ensure that your cat has a successful litter box experience.
A few ideas to keep in mind:
- Considering that cats are originally desert creatures, think of your litter box as a miniature desert (which is effectively what it is to your cat)
- Cats are completely devoid of any sense of good and wrong. Instead, they focus about how to fulfill their own requirements. It’s impossible for your cat to think to themselves, “I’m doing the right thing,” when using the litter box. And if your cat is not utilizing the litter box, he or she will never consider to themselves, “I’m doing something wrong.” If cats are using the litter box on a regular basis, it is because it satisfies their requirements. In the event that cats aren’t utilizing the litter box, it is either because the box does not satisfy their needs or because there is another spot in your house that better satisfies their elimination demands.
What are cats’ needs when it comes to eliminating?
- To have a sense of security. They want to be able to view their surrounds and have a few alternative escape routes in case they need to flee if the situation calls for it. In the process of eliminating, cats emit odors that may attract the attention of other cats or possible predators. In other words, when it comes to going to the toilet, cats are not concerned with privacy. Privacy is a human right
- To properly bury their waste and disguise the odor of their waste
- To eliminate in a sanitary environment. Naturally, cats avoid eliminating in regions that already have a strong stench
- However, this is not always the case.
The litter box set up that best meets your cat’s needs:
- A huge, open litter box is provided. The box should be spacious enough for the cat to readily spin around in without coming into contact with the walls of the container. At the very least, one of the box’s sides should be low enough so that the cat will have no difficulty stepping into it. It is necessary to use a lower-sided box for cats if you have one.) Place the litter box in an easily accessible spot for the cat, but not in a high traffic part of the home where the cat will be frightened by the sudden movement of people. In addition, the litter box should be placed away from any noisy appliances that might frighten them. The litter box is placed away from the cat’s food and water bowls
- The litter box is placed in a location that allows the cat to see the entire room and where they will not feel trapped
- The use of unscented, scoop-able (also known as clumping) litter is recommended. This is the most sand-like litter available, and sand is the natural litter used by cats. (Think back to the desert.) It is recommended that you use 2 to 3 inches of litter, however the amount needed may vary based on your cat’s preferences. Litter box liners should not be used. Cats frequently get their claws tangled in these liners, causing them to avoid using the litter box altogether. Once a day, the litter box is scooped out. Given the lack of stored waste, this will not take long, which is ideal for your cat
- At least once every two weeks, the litter box is completely cleaned. A multi-cat home should have at least as many litter boxes as there are cats, and these boxes should be located in different areas around the house. This arrangement guarantees that if one cat is bullied by another, the other cat will still feel secure using the litter box. There should be a box on each floor of the house, even if there is only one cat in the house. When it comes to satisfying your cat’s requirements, making the litter box easily accessible is critical.
How to Litter Train a Cat According to Jackson Galaxy
As a new cat parent, ensuring sure your feline companion is comfortable in their new environment is an essential first step—and this may involve assisting them in learning to use the litter box. In this article, Jackson Galaxy, a cat behavior and wellness expert who is also the host of Animal Planet’s “My Cat From Hell” and a New York Times best-selling author, will teach you how to litter train a cat and mark this task off your cat motherhood to-do list. Using a litter box is a natural behavior for most cats, which they learn when they are kittens.
Other kittens, on the other hand, may require a little assistance in getting the hang of it, while some adult cats may have a strong aversion to using the litter box.
Now here, right now, right meow.
The Litter-Training Low-Down
Are you fostering or caring for a kitten that is extremely young? Kittens younger than 3 weeks of age will require physical stimulation after every meal in order to urinate and defecate, which may come as a surprise to some. As it turns out, this is precisely what it sounds like, as Galaxy points out. (You can find instructions on how to accomplish this, as well as information on litter training orphaned kittens, here.) After three weeks, kittens should begin to explore their surroundings, and the litter box should be a natural place for them to go.
In Galaxy’s experience, “it only takes a little bit of encouragement before they’ll spontaneously start wandering over to the litter box.” “It’s all about patience and perseverance, and it’s important to understand that kids aren’t going to be perfect at it every time,” says the instructor.
However, some cats establish a negative connection with the litter box over the course of their lives and may require further assistance.
“The process of teaching cats to use a litter box is a lengthy one, and it is important to consider the location of the boxnew association—making sure it is in a secure location so that other cats and dogs, as well as children, do not get into it or ambush them while they are using it.” But first and foremost, you must outfit your home with the appropriate litter-training materials.
Everything You Need to Litter Train a Cat
All you’ll need to get started is a litter box and some kitty litter to get things started. Although a mat such as the All-Absorb Cat Litter Matto will assist capture any stray litter that your cat throws out of the litter box and protect your floor in the event of an accident, we recommend that you use it in addition. For kittens and senior cats that may have difficulty getting in and out of the litter box, Galaxy recommends purchasing a low, open-sided litter box, such as theKittyGoHere Senior Cat Litter Box, which is available at Amazon.
- You may also remove the front portion of a litter box to make it more convenient for them, suggests galaxy.
- The closer the particle size is to that of sand, the better.
- In addition, Galaxy advises against using clay litter for kittens.
- A good, non-clay-based cat litter to consider isFrisco Natural Grass Cat Litter, which is available in a variety of sizes.
- As a result, if you have only one cat, you should have two litter boxes available.
- And so forth.
How to Litter Train a Cat
As Galaxy previously indicated, most cats and kittens should be able to use the litter box on their own. Rather of being complicated, litter training may be broken down into five easy steps in the vast majority of situations.
Potty Training – How to Train Your Cat to Use the Litter Box
In collaboration with Pamela Reid of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Dr. Stephanie Janeczko of Animal CareControl of New York City and Pamela Reid of the ASPCA Elizabeth Teal and Micky Niego, Companion Animal Services, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Bringing home a new cat or kitten is a wonderful experience—the playing, the purring, the litter box training, and so on. But wait, there’s more. Okay, so litter box training isn’t really enjoyable, but it’s necessary and typically rather simple.
Before Bringing Home A New Cat
You will need to complete a few simple tasks before bringing your new cat home. These tasks are as follows:
- Purchase one or two full-size litter boxes to keep your pets safe. In terms of how many litter boxes you’ll need, the conventional rule of thumb is one litter box for each cat, plus one spare box. As a result, if you have one cat, you need purchase two litter boxes. Two cats, perhaps? Spend the money on three litter boxes, and so forth. Make a layer of litter in the bottom of the container: three to four inches deep for clumping litter, and two to three inches deep for non-clumping litter Cats enjoy digging and burying, and this depth provides them with the opportunity to do so. It’s important to think about the sort of trash you’re utilizing as well. The surface should be smooth and free of prickly particles, and the smell should not be too overpowering to be effective. Some kittens will try to consume clumping litter, which is not recommended. While this may appear to be an unappealing alternative to a snack, it can actually clump together in their stomach and create some major problems. Choose a non-clumping litter until your kitten is around 4-6 months old
- Locate the litter box in a secluded, peaceful, and easily accessible location for your cat. Maintaining a box on each floor of your home is ideal if at all possible. If you’re using clumping litter, make a point of scooping at least once a day, and make it easier on yourself by keeping a few bags for waste disposal on hand. For non-clumping solid waste, scoop solid trash at least once a day, and be sure to thoroughly empty the box at least once a week.
How to Litter Train a Kitten
Following the acquisition of your new cat, you will need to train them to use the litter box.
- Following the adoption of your new cat, you will need to train them to use the litter box.
Due to the inherent attraction that cats have to litter-like sites to release themselves, they often pick up on litter box training quite fast. Many cats, on the other hand, have relapses and have accidents at some time in their lives. If this occurs, maintain your composure and remember that the situation is normal and that it can be resolved. In the meantime, shower your new kitten with affection and take advantage of this opportunity to spend quality time with them.
Issues With Litter Box Training
It’s understandable that some owners would question, “Why isn’t my cat using the litter box?” It is estimated that at least 10% of domestic cats may dirty outside of the litter box at some point in their lives. It is the most typical feline behavior problem to see your cat urinating and defecating outside of the litter box. Many cats are surrendered to shelters because of house-soiling issues. The majority of the time, this is superfluous. The good news is that cats suffering from this condition have a great prognosis.
- Before attempting to clean up after your cat, take him or her to your veterinarian for an examination.
- The veterinarian will be able to rule out any medical issues that may be causing the problem.
- Some cats cease using the litter box completely, while others just use it for urine and feces.
- Some litter box issues arise as a result of a cat establishing a predilection for a certain substrate or surface for elimination over time.
- Perhaps you’ve placed a plush throw rug to your bathroom, which the cat finds much more comfortable.
- Set up a number of boxes and give a variety of options such as clay, clumping, coarse, fine, and so on.
- They also preferred fine-grained and soft litter as a litter type.
The early warning signs of litter aversion in cats include failing to “cover” their urine and feces, failing to scratch the litter prior to elimination, scratching outside of the box rather than inside, perching with their feet on the edge of the box, racing out of the box, and shaking their feet as if disgusted by the feel of the litter.
- Cats, like humans, have strong feelings regarding boxes, both positive and negative.
- They normally don’t like for a covered box; after all, who would want to be trapped in a little room filled with the stench of pee and excrement all of the time?
- You should scoop your cat’s litter box at least once per day if you have a finicky cat.
- Warm water is perfectly OK.
- Because a cat’s sense of smell is quite acute, you should avoid placing the litter box in close proximity to their food, drink, favorite napping locations, or room deodorizers, no matter how clean you keep it.
- The location of a cat’s litter box might have a significant influence on his or her motivation to utilize it.
- Generally, cats want to be able to see if someone is approaching them, and they prefer to have more than one path out of the box if they are trying to escape, thus closets and unoccupied shower stalls are not ideal options for hiding places.
If you believe your cat is soiling because they prefer a different location, consider putting a litter box in that location.
Cats might sometimes develop a phobia of the place where the litter box is positioned.
As an example, a cat suffering from diarrhea may receive feces on its feet or tail and identify the unpleasantness of the environment with the location.
It has also been reported that an individual’s cat quit using his or her litter box, which was conveniently located next to the toilet, because a teenage male in the family was “splashing” in the box.
When there is tension between cats in the house, it is possible that an elimination problem may arise.
In order to enhance the possibility that there is a clean litter box someplace, you should always have more litter boxes than cats available.
Similarly, if one cat is harassing and frightening another, the victim may be too terrified to approach the litter box.
Even when one cat, usually the younger one, is attempting to persuade the other cat to play, lying in wait can occur.
If you have numerous cats and you’re not sure which one is urinating, talk to your veterinarian about delivering fluorescein, a non-toxic dye, to one of the cats to determine which cat is urinating.
Another option is to confine cats one at a time to establish which one is the source of the problem.
It is not recommended to clean using an ammonia-based cleaner. If the cat has urinated in a particular location, washing it with ammonia may cause the cat to return to that spot to urinate again.
Other Things To Consider With Litter Box Training
Should I get my dog spayed or neutered? Another consideration is whether or not your cat has been spayed or neutered. Cats are far more likely to mark their territory if they are not neutered or spayed, so having males neutered and females spayed will be beneficial. Cats that are sexually mature utilize urine and excrement to mark their territory and announce their desire for a mate. If your cat is more than six months old, it should be spayed or neutered; male cats should be neutered, and female cats should be spayed or neutered.
- For further information, contact your veterinarian or your local SPCA.
- If this is the case, the cat is not urinating outside of its box; rather, it is spraying.
- It happens while they are standing with their tails straight up, and they discharge a jet of pee sideways, which strikes the wall and falls to the floor.
- In spite of the fact that men and women both spray, males do it more frequently, and unneutered males virtually always do so.
- Unfortunately, if the cat has been permitted to spray for an extended period of time, as is often the case with rescued tom cats, neutering may not be enough to resolve the issue.
- A professional behavior counselor may be required to assist with the modification of the behavior in question.
Do they have mishaps once a week, once a month, or once a year, for example?
This cat is exhibiting that they are completely unaware that there is only one place to excrete.
Close supervision or confinement (as described in the next pages) should be used to educate the cat to use the litter box and ONLY the litter box.
Whenever feasible, adjust the outward appearance of the places that are most frequently dirty.
They will be less inclined to return if the restroom does not smell or seem like the ‘old bathroom.’ You should gently but firmly direct the cat towards the litter box if they are sniffing or scratching around in an area that is off limits.
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No, It’s Stress Environmental stress takes its toll on house cats.
Cats are as individual as people.
Others lack confidence; they’re timid.
Most cats thrive on the predictability of a daily routine.
A dinner party (a bunch of noisy strangers all over the place), going away for the weekend (isolation/change in routine and/or caregiver), or having the plumber come in to fix the sink (trespasser) may cause the cat to feel threatened and become anxious.
Take the time to learn who your cat is and how you can meet their needs and minimize their stress.
Create a sanctuary for the cat now; bed them down there during the big party or when you’re using power tools.
Have the cat sitter come and feed the cat several times before you leave on vacation.
Both objectives should be worked on simultaneously.
This is not to say you must eliminate the stressful element but you must alter the cat’s perception of that element through socialization or desensitization.
Retraining… Can They Be Helped?
Once it has been determined that the cat is in good health training can begin.
The cat starts the program in confinement.
The bathroom is recommended as it typically has non-absorbent tile flooring and offers privacy.
In addition to those necessary trips to the bathroom, you should make time for 3 to 4 twenty-minute sessions with the cat either playing, grooming, talking, or feeding.
Remember to place dishes and bedding in the corner of the room farthest from the litter box.
For these cats, a cattery cage or vari-kennel is useful.
If the cat urinates on the cat bed, it must be removed.
Keep a diary; note when the cat uses the litter box.
Observe from a distance; make sure that they have not fallen prey to old habits!
Only when you observe the cat reliably returning to the litter box on their own, can you begin to cut back on the supervision.
The cat cannot attempt to urinate/defecate outside of the box without being observed and directed toward the box.
In order for effective learning to take place, the cat must be watched carefully and encouraged to use the box; consistency is everything.
The solutions often require patience, and always require consistency.
Your investment of quality time and attention will be well rewarded. Litter box problems can be stressful for the whole family—most of all for your cat. Try to be patient and don’t give up. Your cat will eventually get back to the box, and you can both get on with your lives.
Can I Train an Outdoor Cat to Use a Litterbox?
A.Litterbox training is one of the most difficult aspects of converting an outdoor-only cat to an indoor environment. Most cats, on the other hand, can be litterbox trained in a few basic stages with little effort and difficulty.
Make the Litterbox Appealing
Every home should have one litterbox for each cat, plus an additional one. Make sure you have two litter boxes for your new cat, and arrange them in areas where your cat is most likely to want to relieve herself: one near the entrance leading to the outside where she would ordinarily eliminate, and another in a more private spot. Some cats prefer litterboxes that are more concealed, so putting one behind a cat-safe plant or other barrier might make her feel more secure. Cover the soil of the plant with pieces of tin foil for a few days to ensure that your cat utilizes the box rather than the plant as a potty.
- Cat owners frequently choose litterboxes that are less obnoxious to the human sight, such as those that are enclosed.
- The aroma is also contained within covered boxes, which may cause a cat to seek a more pleasant environment with less irritating scents.
- Even while some cats do well in covered or self-scooping litterboxes, many others do better in uncovered litterboxes.
- You will, however, need to trim one or more of the sides down in order to make it easier for a middle-aged cat, who may be suffering from joint illness, to get in and out of the litterbox.
- While scented litter is enticing to us since it reduces odors, it can be disagreeable to many cats because of its strong aroma.
- Certain cats are highly picky about the type of substrate they prefer to use.
- Alternatively, you might put one item in each box and let your cat choose which she likes.
- To assist your outdoor cat in making the move, you may mix the litter with the outside substrate and gradually reduce the amount of outdoor soil added over time until she is just using kitty litter in her box at the end of the transition period.
Litter Training Kittens 101: When to Start and How to Do It
Most adult cats will instinctively seek out a sandy, granular area to excrete, but newborn kittens may require a little assistance in developing correct litter box habits. In order to assist your cat have the best chance of success while litter training, there are several things you may do.
The following are some recommendations for cat toilet training, including when to begin, how to choose litter boxes, how to select the proper sort of litter, how and where to set up the litter boxes, and how to assist your kitten in mastering the litter box. Jump to a specific section:
- When Should You Begin Litter Training Kittens? Instructions on How to Litter Train Your Kitten
- Decide on a litter box, and then choose the appropriate type of litter. Place the litter boxes in their proper locations. Instruct your kitten on how to use the litter box. Reinforce good litter box habits with your children. Maintain the cleanliness of the litter box. In the event that your kitten refuses to use the litter box, there are a few things you may do.
When to Start Litter Training Kittens
Mother cats encourage their kittens to eliminate in the first few weeks after birth, and they clean up after them after they have done so. Kittens do not require litter boxes throughout this time period. Starting at about 4 weeks of age, you may begin litter training kittens by providing them with kitten-friendly litter boxes. This occurs at the same time when kittens begin to wean themselves. It is possible to begin litter box training your kitten or adult cat as soon as you bring them home if you acquire an older kitten or adult cat.
How to Litter Train Your Kitten or Cat
Follow these instructions to ensure that your cat has a successful toilet training experience.
Choose a Litter Box
While selecting a litter box may appear to be a little decision, it may make a significant impact in your kitten’s health and well-being.
Get the Right Size Litter Box
It is possible that full-size boxes will be too large and scary for a little cat. The International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) suggests that kittens use a litter tray that is 13 by 9 inches in size, according to Dr. Sally J. Foote, DVM, a feline behavior consultant accredited by the IAABC. If your cat is older, or if you have additional adult cats in the house, they will require full-size litter boxes, but your kitten will require smaller litter boxes to start. The litter box will need to expand to accommodate your kitten’s growth.
As your kitty grows in size, you will need to purchase a larger size.
Provide More Than One Litter Box
It is recommended that you have one litter box in excess of the number of cats in your home. For example, if you have two cats, you should have three boxes. It is recommended that you have at least six boxes if you have five cats.
Uncovered versus Covered Litter Boxes
Many cats prefer to use a litter box that is not covered. “In nature, cats do not want to be trapped by a predator inside an enclosed location,” explains Mieshelle Nagelschneider, an IAABC-certified cat behavior expert. Despite the fact that many of her clients believe their cats prefer the seclusion of a cover, she believes that “cats don’t like to feel caged” when they use their litter box. According to Dr. Foote, whether your cat likes a bathroom with or without a roof comes down to your cat’s particular choice.
Pick the Right Type of Litter
According to research, fine-grain litters are preferred by the majority of cats, possibly because they are softer to the touch. Cats have their own preferences whether it comes to clumping or non-clumping litters, for example. Of fact, some people enjoy clumping since it makes scooping easier.
In terms of clay litter vs other types of litter, Nagelschneider explains that some cats will not use a box that contains corn- or wheat-based litter because it smells like food. You should experiment with a few different varieties to ensure that you acquire the sort of litter that your cat enjoys.
Plan Where to Put the Litter Boxes
When it comes to encouraging your kitten to use the litter box, the location and accessibility of the box might be key factors.
Don’t Hide the Litter Boxes
If all of the boxes are in the same area, they are practically one large box, which might cause problems if your cats don’t want to share their food and space. While it may be tempting to conceal litter boxes in closets and corners because we do not wish to draw attention to them, doing so should be avoided. Keep in mind that cats do not want to feel enclosed or imprisoned when it is time to go to the bathroom. They’ll also want some form of illumination in order to see and locate their litter boxes, so if there isn’t any natural light in the area where the litter box is kept, Nagelschneider recommends using a nightlight.
Set up your kitten’s litter box in a place where there aren’t many distractions that will keep them from getting down to business. When dealing with kittens that have difficulty concentrating, it may be necessary to remove the option of having alternative “interesting” areas to pee. Keep your kitten in a small space with no rugs or carpeting and only a little quantity of bedding to attempt to keep them focused until they are able to use the litter box on their own.
Place Litter Boxes on Every Floor
The boxes should be evenly distributed around your home, with at least one on each floor. Ensure that your cat has an easy time getting to and from the litter boxes. “Don’t force them to travel down the stairs, past the playroom, through the cat door, and into the utility room,” Nagelschneider advises. ” In order to get to the potty, cats don’t want to travel any further than humans do. If you have a kitten, keep in mind that it will eventually grow up and become an adult cat. Placing a litter box on a high shelf or down a long flight of steps can make it much more difficult for them to reach when they are older and arthritic.
Introduce Your Kitten to the Litter Box
Once you’ve gathered your materials and set up your litter box regions, here’s how you may assist your kitten in learning to use the litter box. Step 1: Show your kitten the locations of each litter box and let him or her to sniff each one individually. Then, gently place your kitten into the litter box. Step 2: When they see litter, they may immediately start pawing at it or perhaps using the litter box. Otherwise, rake your fingers through the clean litter to imitate the pawing motion. To ensure that your kitten uses one of the boxes on its own, try placing your kitten in one of the boxes every time they eat, drink, or get up from a nap until they become accustomed to using the box on its own.
Reinforce Good Litter Box Habits
When your kitten uses the litter box properly, give them a treat to reinforce the behavior and help them form a positive relationship with the activity. It is essential that the treat be delivered shortly after they have exited the box in order for them to link the activity with the reward in this manner.
Unless your cat has done anything wrong, there is no need to reprimand or shout at them. Maintain your composure and use anenzymaticcleaner to clean up the mess. Do not react in any other manner.
Keep the Litter Boxes Clean
Every time your kitten eliminates, make an effort to scoop the litter box. When it comes to the training process, you don’t want your kitten to develop a dislike for the litter box. After scooping, replenish the litter with clean litter to maintain a litter depth of 2 to 3 inches, which will provide your cat with plenty of digging space. Once your kitten is older and has established a habit of using the litter box on a continuous basis, you can scoop once a day instead of every time your kitten uses the box.
Most non-scoop litters will have their own guidelines on the label as to how frequently they should be changed, so pay attention to those.
What to Do if Your Kitten Won’t Use the Litter Box
The following measures should be followed if your kitten is having difficulty with litter box training and is urinating outside the box; First and foremost, carefully examine your litter box setup. The preferences of each kitten are small variations on a theme. Check to see that the litter boxes are in good working order.
- These items are easily available
- Are situated in peaceful surroundings
- Are not tucked away in a corner
- They are not being protected by other cats.
2. Think about switching either the litter box or the type of litter. You may wish to purchase a new box (covered rather than open, or one with low sides) and set it nearby to observe whether your kitty prefers that box over the old one. Alternatively, retain the same box and merely alter the litter type to determine whether the problem is with the box or the litter. 3. Increase the frequency with which you scoop and replace all litter. In order to decrease tension and make your cat more comfortable with their surroundings, consider placing pheromone diffusers near the litter box.
These are quite unusual in kittens, but they should not be ignored when they do occur.
Most importantly, remember to be patient!
Photograph courtesy of Shutterstock.com/Africa Studio.
Litter Box Training – Longmont Humane Society
Contrary to common belief, Garfield did not come into the world in a litter box. He was simply drawn in that manner! It is not in their natural state for cats to know how to use a litter box, which is a colored, plastic box filled with sterilized clay particles. Cats learn where and how to use the toilet from their mother when they are around 4 weeks old. A casual observer may be unaware that any active training has taken place since learning may occur so fast and without warning. Orphaned kittens must be introduced to the notion of a box by their caregiver.
When a kitten first wakes up, as well as after meals and strenuous play, it should be placed in the litter box.
The majority of kittens quickly take over and effectively utilize the litter box. The key is to ensure that it is the only location that the kitten visits. When left alone, a kitten might quickly lose track of the litter box and resort to using whatever is nearby when the urge to pee arises.
Strays and Feral Cats
If the kittens are born outside, their mother may select a cluster of leaves or a patch of soft ground as the kittens’ toilet. Feral and stray cats who have recently been adopted may need to be actively trained to use a litter box filled with clay litter, particularly if they have been imprinted on anything else. Some stray dogs are fast to pick up on the rules, while others are not. Instead of gravel-textured clay, consider using a fine-grained sand-type litter. In certain circumstances, it may be essential to begin with the substance the cat is accustomed to (dirt, sand, newspapers, etc.) and gradually transition the cat to the new substance over a period of several weeks by gradually increasing the percentage of the old substance to the new one.
Keep in mind that a cat who lived outside has a plethora of options to select from.
If the cat refuses to use the box at any point during the process, go return to the stage at which he was successful the last time.
Is She Spayed…Is He Neutered?
Cats that are sexually mature utilize urine and excrement to mark their territory and announce their desire for a mate. It is recommended that you get your cat spayed or neutered if he or she is more than 6 months old. Male cats are neutered, and female cats are spayed or neutered as well. Performing this treatment on an anesthetized cat under the supervision of a veterinarian is a very easy surgical procedure. For additional information, speak with your veterinarian or your local SPCA. It is quite tough to train an intact cat that does not use the litter box since his behavior is impacted by his hormonal state.
Spraying…What Is It and Why?
The pee puddle is located either up against a wall or along one of the sofa’s sides. If this is the case, the cat is not urinating outside of his cage; rather, he is spraying. When a cat squats, he is emptying his bladder in order to get rid of waste from his digestive system. When a cat sprays, he does not crouch on the ground. He raises his tail straight up and exhales a torrent of pee in the direction of the camera. It collides with the wall and tumbles to the ground below. Whether spraying claims territory or serves to warn trespassers away is unclear, but it is evident that spraying has nothing to do with the necessity of using the restroom.
Men and women both spray, but males tend to do it more frequently than females, according to research.
In the case of an unneutered male who has only recently begun spraying, the good news is that neutering him will almost always put an end to the practice.
Unfortunately, if the cat has been permitted to spray for an extended period of time, as is often the case with rescued tom cats, neutering may not be enough to resolve the issue. The use of a professional behavior counselor may be required in order to remedy the situation in this circumstance.
Clean Box…Clean Cat
It’s common for cats to refuse to use the litter box if the box isn’t maintained clean. For some cats, this implies that they have to wipe out their litter box after each usage. Others find that once a day is more than plenty. Cats may utilize the area around the litter box (throw rug, sink, or tub) if they believe the box is filthy, especially if they have litter scattered about it.
Is He Really Box-Trained?
Some cats can develop a sense of direction in relation to the box’s placement. You may believe that a cat has been trained to use a box when, in reality, he has been trained to utilize the space in which the box has been put. If this is the case, the cat will continue to eliminate in the area where the litter box was previously located. You can move a box a few feet each day until it reaches the new place until it is no longer necessary. Following a meal, when the cat wakes up from a nap, and at other times when you know the cat has to go, aggressively demonstrate to the cat where the litter box is located in your new house.
Changing back to the previous litter is generally sufficient to resolve the issue.
It doesn’t look, feel, or smell like that in his bathroom, after all.
He Uses the Box…Sometimes!
Now we’ll talk about cats who have been trained to use a litter box but still have accidents. Has the cat ever been able to use the litter box consistently for an extended period of time? What is the frequency of his accidents? Is he involved in an accident every week, every month, or every year? A cat who has a lot of accidents isn’t trained to use the litter box. To the contrary, he’s exhibiting his lack of understanding of the fact that there is only one area to delete – the box! Close monitoring or confinement should be used to teach the cat to use the litter box and only the litter box.
Whenever feasible, alter the aesthetic appearance of the places that are most commonly contaminated.
A new restroom that doesn’t smell or look like the old one will reduce the likelihood of a repeat visit from the cat.
In other cases, stress might manifest itself in the form of occasional or predictable mishaps (e.g., “he always does it when I return back from vacation”).
Don’t Yell…Clean it Up!
Never strike or get hostile with your cat because he or she isn’t utilizing the litter box as instructed. Punishing him after the fact will not educate him to use the box when he “needs to relieve himself.” Screaming, beating, and generally stomping about can only serve to deteriorate your bond with your cat. They will train him to be on the lookout for you because you are a dangerous and unpredictable human being. It is critical to properly clean a contaminated area with an enzyme-based cleaner that will not only remove the stain but will also eliminate the stink from the environment.
Use caution while cleaning up after your cat since ammonia and ammonia-based products will entice the cat back to the area.
Carpets and carpet padding with foam backings that are often dirty can create an ammonia-like stench. If this occurs, enzyme cleansers may not be effective, and you may be forced to remove the padding and replace it with new padding.
Is it Spite? No, It’s Stress
House cats suffer from the effects of environmental stress. According to research, there is a strong link between continuing stress and the occurrence of house soiling. Cats are as unique as people in their personalities. Some people are courageous, extroverted, and adventurous, and as a result, they are resilient and forgiving. Others are fearful, and as a result, they slink from room to room and flee from unfamiliar faces. The regularity of a daily routine is quite appealing to most cats. Personal crises, the addition of a new family member (spouse or child), and home renovations are all major occasions from the feline perspective.
- Take the time to get to know your cat and understand how you can best provide his requirements while also reducing his stress levels.
- Create a safe haven for him and allow him to rest there when you are hosting a large party or doing repairs.
- Make arrangements for a cat sitter to come and feed him many times before you depart on your trip.
- Because of the stress, the cat may continue to avoid the box and/or urinate on personal items such as bedding, clothing, and your favorite chair as long as the issue is not handled, continues to be ongoing, and/or escalates.
- Consider collaborating with a professional behavior counselor to achieve your goals.
The Multi-Cat Household
There is a social hierarchy among cats, and this hierarchy comprises not only dominant and subordinate roles, but also outcasts and pariahs. The unique personalities of the cats involved have a significant influence on the formation of the hierarchical system. They either hide or spend the most of their time on the highest points in their territory that they have access to. They may be attacked by other cats on a regular basis, but they will rarely fight back. If you discover that the house spoiler is an outcast, the best course of action may be to locate him a new place to live.
Stress can cause one or more cats in a multi-cat home to spray (mark territory) or pee and defecate outside the litter box on a regular basis.
In addition, adding extra “cat places” with many levels (scratching posts with hideouts and/or lookouts, carpeted shelves, and so on) might help alleviate issues in a multi-cat home.
Retraining…Can He Be Helped?
As a first step in finding a remedy, a veterinarian should thoroughly check the cat to rule out any potential health issues (worms, cystitis, digestive illness, and so on). It is possible to begin teaching a cat once it has been verified that it is in excellent health. It has been determined that the most effective strategy is a combination of confinement and monitored freedom. In confinement, the cat is the one who initiates the program. The majority of cats adapt well to living in small spaces.
In order for humans to use the toilet on a regular basis, it is not possible to keep the cat in the house for a prolonged amount of time.
During the sessions, you can play, groom, converse, and/or feed your dog.
Keep in mind to put the bed and all of the bowls in the area that is farthest away from the litter box.
This is due to the fact that if they are given the chance, they will choose the incorrect location.
The enclosure must be large enough to accommodate both the cat bed at one end and the litter box at the other end of the enclosure.
Feed the cat twice a day, allowing the food to sit down for roughly 20 minutes between each meal.
Following a period of two weeks in which the cat has been using the box and only the box, you may begin allowing him access to other rooms in the house one at a time.
Check to see whether he has relapsed into past patterns of behavior.
Please make sure that he is returned to confinement before his next planned “pit stop.” When you are not at home, do not let the cat out to play.
Do not leave food out on the counter all day.
The cat should not be able to urinate or defecate outside of the litter box without being noticed and led toward the litter box by an adult.
This requires constant monitoring of the cat and encouragement for him to use the litter box in order for good learning to occur.
When dealing with a cat who does not consistently utilize his litter box, the subtleties of cat behavior become immediately apparent.
The answers frequently need patience, and they always necessitate constancy. Be sensitive to the requirements of your cat. Your dedication to putting in quality time and effort will be well recompensed. Tips for Taking Care of Your Cat
- Bottle-fed or nursing kitten care (PDF)
- Litter box training
- Relieving cat boredom
- Letting the cat out
- Spaying or neutering your cat are all topics covered. Educating Miss Kitty
- One Cat or Two
- Developmental Stages of Kittens(PDF)
- Your New Baby Kitten(PDF)
- Kitten Care
- Please Read Before Declawing(PDF)
- Cold Weather Pet Care(PDF)
- Educating Miss Kitty
- For assistance with cat scratching, please see: