Introducing your cat to litter training is an essential part of her development. Naturally, the mother cat takes over the responsibility. A kitten will instinctively watch and follow the mother’s lead. However, what happens when you are rearing a kitten yourself?
Getting the right litter box
- Cats, in general, have the natural instinct to cover their waste through digging or kicking. That being said, the right litter box should allow them to do so.
- Small litter boxes can accommodate your kitten. However, it is also recommended to buy a bigger one that can be used for a long time. Know that kittens can grow up so fast which will require a litter box replacement. Replacing a new litter box entails adjustments and retraining.
- The sides must be low enough for the kitten to enter and exit comfortably.
- You may consider getting an enclosed litter box. This will reduce the smell as well as give a sense of protection and privacy to your kitten while defecating. It is important to ensure that it still offers enough space to make your kitten feel comfortable.
Getting the right kitty litter
There are various options for kitty litter that can be found in pet stores and online. It can be clumping clay, non-clumping clay, and crystals. The choice will depend on your kitten’s preference.
- At first glance, clumping clay might be the best choice. However, it can also stimulate your kitten’s curiosity to eat the ball of clumps which can lead to a serious faecal impaction.
- The use of clay litter might require you to dump out the whole litter box when it is full (usually once a week) to keep everything clean.
- Avoid using scented or perfumed litter because your kitten might be repelled by the odour. Typically, a cat guides her way to the litter box using his own scent. Do not cover its natural odour with perfume.
- Select a particular litter that is available near your location. Some cats easily get accustomed to a specific litter and cannot handle well when there are changes made. Your little furball might not be able to recognise its tray unless it is the litter they are comfortable with.
This includes the scooper and the drop cloth. The scooper is used for removing waste from the litter box. The drop cloth can be placed under the box to prevent waste from soiling your interior.
Gently introduce the litter box
How does a cat know to use a litter box? Give her time to recognise the box as a litter box.
- Gently place the kitten in regular intervals, especially after meals, playtime, and whenever there are signs that she is about to eliminate. Most kittens will have an instinct to dig naturally in an area with the feel of the sand or litter.
- If there is no progress on digging or kicking, you may gently guide her paws in scratching the litter.
- During the first few weeks of introduction, you may confine her to a small area provided with food, water, bed, toys, and the litter box. This will help her get to know what those things are for. In addition, keep the litter box and the food bowl with the bedding at a safe distance.
- Never execute a punishment whilst she is in the litter box. She might associate the box with punishment.
- Most cats demand privacy when defecating. Give her exactly that and do not try to hover or try to help her whilst she is on the job. You are only sending her an impulse to go somewhere else. Instead, give her space then praise or give her treats after.
- As cats relish privacy, it is best to provide them with enough litter boxes. Ideally, one cat should have 2 litter box options.
Litter training problems
If you notice that your cat persistently eliminates outside the litter box, find out the problem and think about solutions. Some cats are just being picky and here are the most common causes why they find it unpleasant:
- The litter box is not clean enough.
- The size is not your cat’s preference. It may be too big or small, too high or low, and has a hood or not.
- The litter is not your cat’s preference. It is best to try out small amounts at first and see what works for your feline.
- The placement is not the right place for her. Remember that your cat prefers privacy.
- She might have bad experiences whilst she is on the box.
- Not enough boxes to accommodate the number of cats that you have.
- She is too young, too old, or too sick to mind the litter box.
Did these tips help you? How did you litter train your little kitten? Tell us in the comments below!