By Charlene Little, Contributing Writer
If you adopt a kitten and it has not been litter trained, chances are it was taken away from its mother to early. Cats are tedious creatures and like things in a certain way. Mother cats insist on cleanliness from their kittens. If provided the resources, they will litter train the kitten by the time they are 8 weeks old. If your kitten isn' t litter trained, the responsibility of mothering this kitten falls on you, and it will not be easy. Cats and kittens are stubborn beings and will fight you tooth and nail about training. With a little persistence and a little stubborn will of your own, you can litter train your kitten.
How To Determine Whether Your Kitten Is Litter Trained:
Determining whether your kitten is litter trained is fairly easy. As soon as you get him home. Place him gently into the litter box. He should begin digging in it. If he does not, take his front paws and gently help him dig in it. If he shows no interest, chances are, he is not trained and you will need to start your adventure of litter training him yourself.
What You Will Need:
You will need a small, kitten size litter box. This is not the time to buy something fancy, just a little cheap litter box will do. If the litter box is to tall, or the edges are too deep, the kitten will steer clear of this box.
When picking the litter, do not choose a clumping litter. Choose a clay based litter that is unscented. Don't worry, one little kitten won't make it stink right away, they do not produce a lot of waste in a day or two. Simply scooping out solid material will be efficient for a little guy.
Where To Start:
Place only about an inch of litter in the pan. Do not make it too deep or your kitten will snub his nose at it.
Kittens, like children, tend to hide behind things when they have to go potty. Most likely, your kitten will want to hide behind the couch or a chair. Kittens are private beings and enjoy having privacy. Place the litter box in the area that your kitten typically goes. Most likely this will be behind your couch. This will give him more privacy.
Another important step is to take your potted plants out of the house, or put them where your kitten cannot get to them. Kittens have a natural instinct that will draw them to dirt. They also have an instinct to bury their waste. Chances are, your kitten is already using your plants to go potty. Many plants cannot handle the high ammonia that is in cat urine and feces and will die due to the kitten's waste.
Ensure that the only place in the house that the kitten has the opportunity to bury their waste is the litter box. Do not allow anything to accumulate to the point where your kitten has the slightest chance of burying their waste in it, such as laundry.
Once Your Kitten Starts Using the Box:
Once your kitten begins using the liter box to potty in. Begin moving it toward the place that you actually want to keep the pan. This will allow him to transition to the place that you have chosen for him to potty.
Keep the litter box cleaned and ensure that it does not have an odor. Cats will not use a liter box that has a smell. or visible waste in it. Keep this in mind when you see waste in the box.
Keep A Close Eye on Your Kitten:
Kittens show signs that they have to go. Typically, the meow extremely loud and run toward a hiding spot. If your kitten does this, grab him up and rush him to the litter box.
Cats are very smart creatures. If your kitten has an accident, do not get upset with him and DO NOT rub his nose in it. Simply show him the mess, let him smell it, and walk him to the litter box. After a few times, he will learn to associate the action as "you do not need to go here, you need to go in your pan."
Litter training a kitten takes about 1 month to six weeks.
How To Keep the Pan Clean:
It is important to scoop solid waste once or twice a day. You can place the waste in a plastic, resealable bag so that you don't have to toss it in your trashcan. After the bag is partially full, seal it up and toss it in the garbage.
You should completely dump the pan once every two weeks. Wash out the pan wish dish soap, dry it well, and refill it with about an inch of liter.
As the kitten grows, you can upgrade to bigger and better pans. There are a few recommendations below and I have personally used all three. I prefer the Cat Genie 120, for sanitary reasons. It is the actual model that is in my bathroom as I write this! However, they all have perks. Imagine a world where you don't have to worry about the litter pan other than disposing of waste!
In addition, the Cat Genie 120 uses biodegradable material that is washed every time your cat uses the litter box. I got mine in an effort to help save the environment and keep my hands litter free. How can you beat that?
About the Author
Charlene Little is the mother of three wonderful boys and a volunteer foster mom for her local animal shelter. She enjoys working with various breeds of dogs and cats in learning social behavior, training, and how to be the successful member of a fur-ever family. She enjoys studying animals' behavior and finding solutions to behavior problems that the everyday person can handle. She covers topics from various forms of aggression and small problem behaviors. Every problem behavior has a solution, and the solution is never to give up on your pet! Love, kindness, and small adjustments could be just what you need.
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About the Author
Caradwyn Cooper is the mother of three wonderful boys and a volunteer foster mom for her local animal shelter. She enjoys working with various breeds of dogs and cats in learning social behavior, training, and how to be the successful member of a fur-ever family. She enjoys studying animals' behavior and finding solutions to behavior problems that the everyday person can handle. She covers topics from various forms of aggression and small problem behaviors. Every problem behavior has a solution, and the solution is never to give up on your pet! Love, kindness, and small adjustments could be just what you need.