That time you dreaded has arrived: Litter training

So you have a new addition in the house, and he’s a little ball of fur. Maybe he’s only 12 weeks old (often the legal minimum age before separation from mom). He may even be partially litter trained but when moving into a new home it can become very confusing for a young kitten. Litter training kittens can be hard work and does require patience. Accidents are extremely likely to happen but with time should become less frequent and eventually stop altogether. Remember to have patience as cats are VERY hygienic and it is very frustrating for them too. Ideally, you should have everything set up for when you bring the little guy home. For now and the immediate future, the litter box is your friend. In addition, having the right toilet training supplies will increase your chances of success.

What you need

The litter box: this should be relatively large to give the kitten room to manoeuvre. Remember the kitten will grow and certain breeds such as Ragdolls can get pretty big in terms of domestic cats. If the litter box is going to be used by more than one cat, then you may well want to consider getting a newer litter box. Litter boxes have advanced far beyond a basic plastic box. Many are now advanced in the world of cat box’s with a flap and an odour control system. If you are worried about your kitten struggling to get in and out of a litter box, you can easily make a wooden ramp to aid entrance and exit.

litter box tools

Next, think about the scoop you are going to use. Keeping a clean litter box is essential so you will need a scoop to remove any poo. Consider always have scented nappy bags to hand. Your cat will thank you for it.

Now, think about the type of litter that you will need. If possible, ask the person who breeded the cat. It’s a good idea to know what type of litter the kitten’s breeder used as they will be use to the smell of that litter. If they lined the box with newspaper ensure that you do the same. This will act as a trigger to remind the kitten that this is where they do their business. If you already have a cat and the new kitten will be using the same box, try and use a mix of litter to start off with. This shouldn’t discourage either feline from using the litter box. It can be hit and miss but eventually you will achieve this balance. This will create an environment that is comfortable for both cats.

Litter box: Location, location, location

The kittens litter box should be placed in an area that is relatively quiet and private. This means a part of the house that does not get a lot of traffic. The environment should be as peaceful and secluded as possible. A cat should feel relaxed when they do their business and stress can lead to accidents. My cats litter box is located in the corner of the conservatory. Its private and has the added bonus of having a stone floor. This makes sweeping excess litter and cleaning up anything else easy. A popular place however is a utility room so you may want to consider placing a litter box there.

You should consider some of the following steps for toilet training your kitten. These methods should be started as soon as your arrive home with your kitten. As with anything, the sooner you start, the quicker you get results. You should try to keep the environment as quiet as possible and free from children if possible. This may well be difficult as any children in the household will probably be extremely excited about the arrival of a new pet. However, it is best for the kitten so you need to explain to any children why its important not to be too loud and scare the kitten.

plant litter box

Making a success of the litter box

There is no absolute method for getting kitty used to a litter box. Take the following points and alter them as you see fit. It’s about getting a personal approach with your new furry friend. Remember, he/she are continuously learning too. So with that mind, let’s start at the beginning.

When your kitten arrives home in its carrier, take the kitten to the room where it will be spending the majority of its time. First, you should open the carrier door and leave the kitten to come out in its own time. They are likely to be scared and disorientated, you need to keep this in mind. Ensure that you close the doors to the room as too much open space can seem very daunting to a small kitten.

Once the kitten has emerged and has sniffed and explored, offer some food and water. It’s unlikely the kitten will take any but every kitten is different. Angelo didn’t leave a single scrap but then it was freshly cooked fish! His breeder was feeding him regular cat food so this was a real treat for him.

litter box with kittens

Now place the kitten in a fresh litter box. It’s highly likely the kitten will get straight back out, but hopefully the smell and feel of the litter will register with him. Every few hours place the kitten into the litter box, as a gentle reminder that the litter box is still there should they need to use it. Even if you have success with the kitten using the litter box during the first few hours of being home, still continue with the step below.

Accidents are probable as moving to a strange home without their mummy, brothers and sisters is a stressful and lonely time for them. If they do pee or worse poo somewhere they shouldn’t, simply show them what they have done and then take them to the litter box. This will remind them where they should have gone to the toilet. Always ensure that they have a litter box which is kept clean and fresh. Like humans, cats like to have a well-kept toilet area. Having a clean litter box will always reduce the chances of the cat choosing to go to the toilet in another area of your house. This is key so always bear it in mind, even when annoyed at any particular accident.

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