Owning a kitten or cat can be a completely rewarding but in some ways taxing experience. Kittens require a lot of attention, play and guidance with one of the hardest levels of guidance being that of litter training. Cat’s are mostly an indoor pet, so litter training is of complete necessity and it is worthwhile aiming to train your kitten as early as possible to work on ingraining this into their daily life. Unfortunately, kittens are not born knowing how to use the litter box and it is a completely foreign object and idea to them so the whole process of litter training is getting the kitten used to the litter and having them understand why they are getting used to the litter.
>> Read More:
- Best Outdoor Cat Houses. Making the Right Choice for Your Cat, and You
- How much it will cost to raise a kitten or cat?
- Best cat breeds for families and How much these breeds cost?
How To Litter Train A Kitten?
A couple of things to think about when setting up your litter station and box are:
- Select a large litter box. This is due to the fact that as the cat gets older and larger, the box will need to accommodate them and you will need to retrain your cat into a different box. This would not only be confusing for the cat, but time consuming and annoying for you.
- Select a dust-free, unscented litter. Dust and an unusual scent will irritate the cat and you want to draw your cat to the litter, not push it away and frustrate its senses.
- Buy a scooper to scoop out the urine and faeces from the litter. It is such an easy way to clean your litter and the easier it is to clean; the more likely you are to do it.
- Place the litter box in a peaceful location. The more peaceful and undisturbed the better. Kittens can be very frightful and if they are confronted with a loud noise or sudden distraction they will easily scare off.
Basically, you want to place your kitten into the litter at the usual times they would be thinking about going to the toilet. For instance, these times would be after they have been vigorously playing, or after they have been eating or sleeping. To get the idea into the kitten’s head of what they are supposed to be doing in the litter box, it is said that dragging the front paws through the litter gives the kitten the sensation of digging and covering, which is an intuitive thing that cats do after they have finished going to the toilet. Igniting intuition in your kitten will help link the box to going to the toilet and they will start to believe that they are naturally supposed to use the litter. Keep a close eye on the kitten in training, as they will still have accidents while they are learning.
If your kitten or cat does make a mistake and goes to the toilet on the rug, do not get angry and yell, push or hurt your cat in any way. This is not an effective way of communicating to your cat that they have done something wrong. The only thing that this will do is make your cat or kitten terrified of you, destroying your relationship with each other.
If training an older cat that you have rescued or that has found its way into your life, the training process can be a little different. If the cat has been an outside cat for a period of time, it is worth considering a finer litter that resembles dirt or sand to entice the cat into using something that they are more used to. Run your cat’s paws through the litter like you would a kitten to spike their intuition and for them to understand that this is where they can go to the toilet.
Keeping the litter clean is also a big factor in encouraging an older, untrained cat into using kitty litter. As they would never have gone in the same spot twice in the outdoors, it is highly unlikely that they are going to do so in your house. Some cats will even refuse to use the litter box after only having used it once, while most cats will use it a couple of times and cleaning it out once a day should suffice and save the life of your rug or carpet.
De-sexing is also important in the litter training process. Cats that are not de-sexed will use urine and faeces to mark their territory, especially if they are in a new surrounding or are surrounded by any other cats. By de-sexing your cat, you are eliminating the possibility of your cat uncontrollably marking their territory all around your house.
It is important to try and not move your kitty litter around too much. Sometimes, the cat is only accustomed to the space where the kitty litter has been and not the kitty litter itself, so they will continue to use the old space as their toilet. If you do have to move the litter, make a point in showing them often where you have moved it.
It is worth understanding that some cats will take quickly to the litter box, while others will have more trouble and will need to be constantly reminded for a while. In saying that, cats are very intelligent creatures and if trained right should not pose a problem at all, so get training!