Kittens are readily trained to the litterbox, which is much preferable to accidents on the carpet. The momma cat will usually train them, but if you are the surrogate momma, here's how.
Time Required: 5 - 15 minutes each time after feeding
- If you have other cats, buy a new litterbox for the kitten. A small one that she can easily climb in is good for starters. It might help to put some newspaper or a washable rug under the litterbox.
- Fill the box with a good non-scented, non-clay-clumping litter to the depth of two or three inches. (Clumping clay litter contains sodium bentonite as its clumping agent, which can also "clump" in the kitten's intestines if ingested - an extremely dangerous situation.)
- Place the litterbox in a quiet, private place away from her food dish, but easily accessible to her. Put a mat underneath to catch any litter thrown out by busy little paws.
- Immediately after feeding your kitten, pick her up and put her in the box. Leave her there for a few minutes. You can scratch around a bit in the litter to show her how.
- If she goes, praise her profusely. If she doesn't, watch her closely for indications of wanting to go elsewhere.
- The instant you see her squatting on the floor, pick her up and gently place her in the litterbox. The keyword here is "gently." You do not want her to associate her litter box with unpleasant memories.
- Every time she uses the box, praise her profusely. You want her to associate her box usage with pleasure.
- Keep the box immaculately clean, by scooping it several times a day and changing the litter and washing and disenfecting the box at least twice weekly. A mild bleach solution is excellent for cleaning, and rinse, rinse, rinse afterward, then thoroughly dry.
- The rule of thumb is one litterbox per cat plus one extra. Therefore, two cats = three litterboxes.
- Do not keep your cat locked up in your bedroom at night, away from the box. Contrary to opinion, cats can NOT hold it all night.
- Once you've found a good litter and box location, don't change it. Subtle changes can often cause a cat to forget its previous training.
- Sudden failure to use the litterbox after faithful use, can be an indication of a urinary tract problem. Eliminate this cause before trying to retrain.
- Kittens will eat litter--it's a normal part of their exploration and development. Avoid clay clumping litter because it can cause intestinal problems if ingested. There are other fine clumping litters available, such as World's Best Cat Litter, Pa-Purr, and others reviewed on this site.
What You Need
- Small litter pan
- Litter safe for kittens
- Newspaper, mat, or rug