You probably need to know how to litter train a kitten because you just got one or are planning to soon. Most kittens can be trained to use the litter box quickly and easily because domestic cats are naturally tidy creatures. Modern cats still carry over this behavior from their ancestors, who buried their waste to protect it from predators and rivals and do the same in litter boxes. You get the convenience of easy cleanup, and your cat gets the mental and physical health benefits of having a regular, private, sandy place to eliminate.
Most cats naturally know how to use a litter box, but occasionally training is required. A guide to potty training a kitten.
Instructions for How to Train Your Cat to Use the Litter Box
A tabby kitten with gray stripes rests in front of a sunny yellow litter box. To successfully housebreak a kitten, you should do the following:
- Gather your materials: a litter box and litter are the bare minima. A mat placed beneath the litter box can help contain any accidents. The best litter to use is fine, sandy, clumping, and odorless. Select a box with low sides to make it simpler for a kitten or a cat with mobility issues to enter and exit. Put the container someplace warm and quiet with little foot traffic. Put one litter box for every level your home has, plus one more than the number of cats you have.
- Exhibit your cat by The next step is to introduce your kitten to the litter box(es). Put your cat in the box so it can play and investigate. You shouldn’t play with or distract your kitten while they’re in the box, and once you’ve shown them where it is, you shouldn’t move it. After eating or napping, get your kitten used to using the litter box. In addition, you should hurry your kitten to the litter box whenever you see them crouching or sniffing the air as if they need to go.
- Have hope and wait: Accidents are inevitable in the course of litter box training. Clean up the mess with an enzymatic cleaner and keep reinforcing the training without punishing or scolding your kitten. Kittens vary greatly in their cognitive development; it may take a month for some to understand. Provide treats and positive reinforcement when you observe your kitten using the box effectively.
Some felines are very particular about their travel accommodations. There are several potential causes if your kitten still isn’t using the box after you’ve followed the above instructions. A few things your cat probably doesn’t like are:
- The box’s dimensions or shape.
- The litter’s aroma or consistency
- Where the container is kept
- Cats who use a communal litter box
- A lid on the container could be too confining for them. They could also feel unsafe and prefer a closed box.
- You may need to do a better job of scooping out the box to keep it clean. Cats prefer litter boxes that are kept clean, so it’s important to remove feces and urine clumps at least once per day.
It’s possible that you’ll need to try a few different things before you find the one that makes your kitten feel safe enough to use the box. Until your kitten learns to consistently use the litter box, you may need to keep them in a small space like a bathroom.
- Even after they’ve mastered using the litter box, unaltered kittens may still spray urine as a form of territorial marking. Your kitten may stop doing this after being spayed or neutered.
- Because of age-related joint pain or stiffness, your senior cat may have trouble getting in and out of the litter box. Think about whether or not your cat will have to jump up on something or climb stairs in order to reach the litter box.
- Anxiety/stress: If your kitten has been using the box regularly for a while, but then stops or starts using it inconsistently, there may be a problem. Consider whether there have been any significant changes to the cat’s environment and consult your vet if the cat has suddenly stopped using the litter box.
- Problems with health: if your cat has suddenly stopped using the litter box, it may be a sign of an infection in the urinary tract or bladder. Consult your veterinarian if you have any concerns about your pet’s health.
Fortunately, most kittens take to a litter box like a duck to water, so you can rest assured that you and your new furry family member will have a pleasant and productive life together once you’ve learned how to litter train a kitten. Get a load of this!