How to Litter Box Train Your Kitten
Kittens are like children. We still have to teach them how to use the toilet and not make a mess all over the floors or furniture! When rescue kittens are found young, they rely on their foster parents to help them go to the toilet. Once they reach 4 weeks old, you can begin the litter box training process. If your kitten is rescued or adopted over the age of 4 weeks old, you should start training your kitten to use the litter box as soon as possible. For new kitten parents, this may be completely unfamiliar territory, this is where we hope our article will be able to help guide you into successfully litter box training your kitten.
Litter box training your kitten.
What kind of litter should you use?
The first thing to consider when choosing a litter for your new kitten, is the texture of the cat litter sand granules. The smaller the granules, the softer the litter. There are also cat litter brands that are formulated with your kitten’s paw comfort in mind, like Kit Cat Soya Clump Baby Powder cat litter which has soft pellets that are easy on your kitten’s paws. Naturally, clumping litter is much easier to clean and manage for a cat parent, but overall the type of cat litter you end up using should depend on your kitten’s preferences, because some cats tend to be rather finicky over the litter they use, and may end up rejecting the litter you have chosen for them. In the end, it ends up being trial and error until you find the most suitable cat litter for your kitten, which is why many clumping & non-clumping cat litter brands include a smaller sized bag of their litter, which spares you from committing to a 12kg bag of cat litter that your kitten may dislike.
What kind of litter box would you need?
You’re going to need something to put all that litter in of course! The most important part of how to litter box train your kitten, is of course, the litter box itself! When choosing a litter box for your kitten the main factor to consider is the size. If your kitten is still very young, it stands to reason that you’d need a much smaller litter box. The Georplast 45cm Shuttle Cat Litter Box is a good choice for a starter litter box. The removable rim will make the litter box much shallower and allow for your kitten to enter the litter box more easily, without struggling to jump inside of it. Another option to consider is the Savic Gizmo medium sized litter box which also has a removable rim allowing for ease of access for your kittens and is also spacious without being too large for your kitten. Naturally as your kitten gets older and bigger, their litter box would need to get bigger as well. Thankfully we have a wide range of covered as well as open litter boxes available on our website and in our store. Your cat may prefer an open litter box as that is the most natural option, but every cat is unique, some prefer privacy, while others prefer not to be in an enclosed space while vulnerable.
Where should you place your cat’s litter box?
Your kitten’s bladder is still very small, so make sure you have at least a few litter boxes around the house that are easily accessible to your kitten so that they avoid having any accidents on your floor and begin to develop a bad habit of not using their litter box when they need to go to the toilet. The best placement would be somewhere visible and not hidden underneath or behind anything as you want your kitten to locate the litter box as easily as possible. Pick a quiet spot where your cat won’t feel too cornered off that has a lot of light and is free from anything that can startle them or distract them from using the litter box altogether. Your kitten should feel comfortable where their litter box is. If you’re worried about your kitten tracking litter everywhere you could get yourself either a litter tray mat to catch any loose pieces of cat litter that could be stuck to your kitten’s paws, or alternatively, opt for low track cat litter that avoids sticking to your kitten's paws overall. If you’re prepared to avoid your cat tracking litter everywhere, and if you dedicate your time towards ensuring those litter boxes are cleaned regularly, then litter box placement should be an easy decision!
It’s time to get down to business!
Now that you’ve set up your litter boxes, it’s time to start the litter box training attempts! First off, you’re going to have to catch your kitten! Once you’ve caught your little fur-baby, place them in the litter box full of litter. You can then encourage them to start scratching around the litter box by showing them. Move your hand around the clean cat litter as though you were scratching it, to demonstrate to them to do the same. Your kitten should naturally scratch around out of curiosity, or instinctively. Do this after each nap time, each meal or each time they drink water, so that they can get into the habit of going to the litter box to relieve themselves afterwards. Make sure when you’re going through this process with your kitten that none of your other cats are around, as that may intimidate your little one, or may have your other cats feeling territorial over the litter box itself. If your kitten is still not using their litter box then maybe get them a check up by your local vet in case they’re having any issues, for example a urinary infection or constipation. Sometimes when a cat is also going to the toilet outside of the litter box, it may be their way of signaling to you that something is wrong.
Shower them in praise when they use their litter box correctly!
When your kitten successfully uses their litter box, make sure they know they’ve done a good thing! Give them a lot of verbal praise congratulating them, as strange as that may sound, it does work, and make sure they’re also given some tasty treats as a reward! Positive reinforcement goes a long way when it comes to training.
How can you increase your chances of successfully litter training you kitten?
Sometimes cats can be finicky and stubborn when it comes to training them, which is why you may have to look at other methods that could help you on your litter box training journey.
Using litter box attractants.
Litter box attractants work through smell, the smell entices your curious kitten into investigating the litter box, and encourages them to continuously return. Simple Solution Cat Litter Attractant is an all natural formula that works wonders for getting your kitten to explore their litter box more.
Keeping their litter box clean.
Daily scoops are necessary for keeping your kitten’s litter box clean, in order to encourage them to always use it. Think about it, if your toilet was always dirty, you wouldn’t want to use it would you? The same could be true for our kitties! Clumping litter may even be easier to clean, as when they’re in contact with liquid, they form round clumps that are easy to scoop up! Speaking of scoops, you’d need to find the right one for the type of litter you plan on using. We provide a wide range of litter scoops varying in hole size to assist in sifting through your cat’s litter thoroughly.
What do you do if your kitten misses their litter box?
Don’t scold your kitten too much for missing their litter box, instead make sure the area where they’ve done their business has been cleaned and is free of their urine or stool scent. Pet Odour Removing Cleaners are ideal for these types of messes. If you’re noticing that your kitten is frequenting a specific area on the floor as their toilet, try placing their litter box in that area too.
Lastly, have patience!
Training a pet overall takes a lot of patience, you need to be prepared that they won't understand you, and that it will take a lot of work to get them completely trained, but in the end it is worth it! Make sure you give your kitten a lot of love throughout this process and be calm with them as they learn.