How to teach a kitten to use litter box
You have just adopted a kitten and you want to quickly make it clean. This article is made for you.
Cats naturally like to relieve themselves in sand and dust. If you provide them with a litter box, they will gladly enter it instead of using your carpet. It is important to train your kitten as soon as she arrives home. Thus, he will use his litter box regularly, and very quickly. This will prevent you from finding small "gifts" all over the house. While it is important to find the right litter box and encourage your cat to use it, you shouldn't do it the way you would with a dog. There is no need to teach him what to do with the bac, his instinct will quickly take over. All you need to do is provide him with an accessible and suitable litter box.
1. Buy the equipment
1.1 Choose a large litter box
Small trays are made for kittens, but they grow so fast that you will have to replace the tray right after you buy it. This change of tray can cause your cat to become disoriented. It will be necessary to teach the kitten to use it again. It is therefore more interesting to start directly with a larger litter box that you can use for a longer period of time. Kittens have no problem getting into the large litter boxs as long as there is a side low enough for them to pass. Tip: If you find a good litter box, but you're not sure your kitten will be able to climb it, use a piece of wood or other flat material with good traction to make a small ramp. Attach it to one side of the baccalaureate with tape and remove it when the kitten is old enough to enter without a ramp.
1.2 The advantages of a closed litter box
Some litter boxs are covered with a door sometimes. The advantage of a closed litter box is that it reduces the amount of litter that could be dispersed throughout the house and stops odours if you live in a small space. Some cats feel safer in a closed litter box.
- Make sure your litter box is large enough. Cats need space to move comfortably in their litter boxs. Most cats feel the need to feel their stools and bury them.
- Some cats don't like closed trays at first. You can ease the transition by removing the top of the tray and the door until your cat is used to it.
1.3 Buy kitten litter
There are many types of litter and any one is suitable for young or adult cats (at least 8 months old). Choose a litter that contains as little dust as possible, as this irritates cats' lungs. Below are some important things to consider before making your choice. - Avoid clumping litter: cats tend to eat it. It accumulates in the intestines and can cause serious problems.
- If possible, use odourless litter: Kittens and cats may not like scented litter. If the scent is too strong, they could relieve themselves elsewhere. In addition, some odours can irritate their noses and eyes.
- Choose a litter box that you can find anywhere. Some cats get used to a particular litter box and will not recognize the box.
1.4 Buy a shovel and a mat for the litter box
Use the shovel to remove the excrement from the litter box. Put on a cat litter mat to easily recover the litter your cat takes with him when he comes out of the litter box. A cat litter mat will allow you to:
- Clean your cat's paws when he comes out of the litter box (traps litter);
- Capture the litter and prevent it from spreading throughout the house (solve hygiene problems);
- Save your money by re-using the litter that the mat captures (litter back into the box).
Read our article on "Why use a litter mat today"
Discover our selection of Premium Cat Litter Mat
2. Present the litter box to your kitten
2.1 Place the litter box in a quiet place
Put your litter box in a quiet place and not in a transit area such as the kitchen or storage room. Choose an ideal and easily accessible place that offers privacy to your cat. Also, choose a place free of sudden noises that could frighten your kitten.
- Even if laundry seems a good choice because there is not much traffic, the sudden noises of a washing machine or dryer changing cycles can frighten your kitten and make her afraid to use her litter box.
- The litter should be placed in a place where the kitten spends a lot of time. He must be able to see the litter box most of the time to be able to use it when he needs it.
- Cats like to have privacy. If they don't have one, they can start to relieve themselves behind the couch or in a remote corner.
- If you have started teaching your kitten to use her litter and you have to move her, do it gradually by moving her a few centimetres each day. Moving the litter to a different room overnight can disrupt your kitten and cause accidents throughout the house.
2.2 Put the kitten in a box filled with litter
As soon as you bring your kitten home, put her in a litter box so she can get used to the smell and feel of the litter box. Leave him there for a few minutes, even if he's not doing his business. Continue to put him there after each meal, when he wakes up or whenever you think he needs to relieve himself. If your kitten crouches in a position other than in her litter box, put her in her litter box immediately.
- Some kittens will immediately understand what litter is for and will not need to be trained further. Others will have to be put in the litter box up to ten times a day before they understand.
- You should avoid "showing" your kitten the digging movements that cats make to bury their excrement, as you may frighten her. So resist the temptation to take his paws and help him dig in the litter until he understands alone.
2.3 Praise him, do not punish him
When he gets used to his litter box and starts using it as a toilet, praise him every time he goes to the litter box by caressing him and making reassuring sounds. Do not punish him when he is in the litter box, otherwise he will start associating him with reprimands.
- Kittens do not react well if they are put in feces that they have deposited outside the litter box. If yours has an accident, let it sniff it, then grab it gently and put it in the litter box so it knows where to go next time.
- Never yell at him as a punishment. This may result in fearing you.
Positive reinforcement both helps encourage healthy behavior and curb bad behavior. This is crucial to remember when your cat acts up, as you may find yourself resorting to punishing it.
The thing is, punishing your cat does the exact opposite of what you hope to achieve! It fails to teach your cat what they’ve done wrong, increases its stress and anxiety, and may even destabilize the positive relationship you’ve worked so hard to build. Conversely, positive reinforcement demonstrates that good behavior is recognized and rewarded, and therein sets your cat up for success.
2.4 Get your cat used to his new environment
When you first bring your kitten home, you should confine her to a space for the first few weeks. This will help him to get used to his new environment, give him easy access to his litter box and help reduce accidents.
- You should confine it to a carpet-free area to facilitate the cleaning of possible accidents.
- Place the kitten's litter, food and bed in the opposite side of the space.
3. Putting your kitten at ease
3.1 Clean the litter box every day
Kittens don't like to relieve themselves in dirty places. If you don't change the litter, your cat will find a cleaner place, such as a carpet, to do her business.
- To clean the litter, scoop up the excrement and put it in a small garbage bag for disposal.
- You can leave some stool in the litter box (by changing it frequently) during the first few weeks. This will help the kitten know what her litter is for.
3.2 Clean the litter box thoroughly and frequently
About once a week, you will have to completely empty the contents of the litter and clean it from top to bottom. Once the litter box is empty, clean it with a safe cleaning product or warm soapy water, then rinse it, dry it and refill it with litter.
- It can be tempting to leave the clumping litter for more than a week because it is easy to remove the excrement. However, even the clumping litter must be completely emptied and frequently replaced.
3.3 Thoroughly clean up accident areas
If your kitten or cat is relieving herself outside of her litter box, make sure to thoroughly clean the area by removing any traces of urine or feces. This should help you reduce the frequency of accidents.
3.4 Remember to remove large plant pots from your home
If you catch your kitten using your plant's soil for her needs, you will need to remove them or cover the soil with foil while she learns to use the litter box. Kittens instinctively bury their excrement, so yours will probably be attracted to the ground or sandy areas. Make sure that the litter box is the only place in the house where he will want to relieve himself.
3.5 Feed him at regular times
This will help you predict when he will need to use the litter box. Generally, kittens need to empty their intestines about 20 minutes after eating. When you think he should do it, take him to the litter box and let him in.
Tips & Advice
- As your kitten grows, you will need to put more litter in the box. When it is about 6 months old, you should put between 5 and 10 cm thick.
- To wipe urine more easily, it is preferable to have tiles or parquet.
- If you have a rather large house or apartment, it is advisable to have several litters.
- If you have to change bedding for any reason, it is advisable to do so slowly by mixing the old bedding with the new one. Gradually, you will increase the amount of new litter for about two weeks.
- If despite your efforts, your kitten seems reluctant to use her litter box, try changing it, especially if the one she has is perfumed.
- Praise and pet your kitten when she does something good, the positive reinforcement will encourage her to do it again.
- Use a cat litter mat to reduce litter loss. We advise cat owners to use large size cat litter box mat. With its blackhole cat litter mat captures all the kitty litter.
Warnings and cautions
- Have your kitten checked by your veterinarian to make sure she is healthy. Some diseases can influence your kitten's behaviour and prevent normal learning about litter use.
- Feed your kitten dry or semi-wet food specially designed for kittens.
- The fact that his owner punished him for relieving himself in the wrong place is a common reason why a kitten continues to do outside the litter box. He ends up feeling insecure when he goes to do his business for fear of being punished and becomes secret. Never punish your kitten if she has relieved herself in the wrong place, as this will only make things worse.