Bringing a new kitten home for the first time is an exciting moment. There are a few things on the check-list to have in place.
Food, comfy bed, toys, scratching post, and litter tray are just a few of the more important items.
Whether your new kitten is going to be an indoor cat or not. You will need to get them litter trained as soon as possible.
There are few things more annoying than a pet ruining carpets or furniture by not being toilet trained. Although litter training a kitten isn’t too difficult, it’s still a frequently asked question from new owners.
The important thing here is to get off on the right foot. The longer you leave it, or let your kitten get away with not using the litter box. The harder it will be to train them.
Most kittens start using a tray as early as 3 or 4 weeks of age. So by time you get your kitten it should just be a formality. Here are some points to set you in the right direction.
How Can I Litter Train My Kitten
Cats have a natural instinct to use sand, soil, or loose ground to go to toilet. Kittens learn a lot from their mothers in the first few weeks of their lives, and should pick up this habit.
You will still need to help your kitten out though. Imagine entering a new home and environment, it can be scary at first. So having a litter box in an ideal place, with good access is very important.
When you first bring kitty home, show them the litter box. Place them in there and gently take their paws and help them make the scratching motion. The kitty will jump out at first, probably a few times.
That’s fine. Just keep taking the kitten back at intervals. After meals, first thing in the morning, after waking from naps, these are all good times and they will likely need the toilet then.
Don’t forget to give your cat some privacy when they start using the litter. Cats like to go to toilet in private, I’m sure you can understand that.
If your kitten is having accidents outside of the box, don’t shout or upset them. Instead, it’s a lot more effective to clean up the mess completely to remove the scent. Then go back to placing them in the tray as discussed.
How Many Litter Boxes Should I Have?
Typically you should have one litter tray per cat in the household, plus one extra. This might sound like a lot, but cats are particular about having their own box.
Some cats will refuse to use the same box as another cat. Some will even not use a box that isn’t clean, hence the spare box. Once you find discreet places you will not find it a intrusive to your own space.
Where Should I Put the Litter Boxes?
Cats prefer quiet places to do their business. So look for a private place where there isn’t going to be much foot traffic or breezes coming through. So near the front door, or a washroom are not the right places.
If you have other animals that are causing disruptions to the box add a stair gate to the room. Dogs in particular are stumped by a small stair gate, while cats can either slip between the bars or jump over.
Try to avoid putting the box in a corner too, especially if you have other cats. Cats don’t like to feel trapped with their backs against the wall.
What Size and Type of Litter Box Should I Use?
There are various different types, sizes, and models of litter boxes. Here are the pros and cons of the more common choices.
Open Litter Boxes
These are for cats that need an easy to use box and don’t like feeling closed in. They can’t mask odours of used litter however.
Covered Litter Boxes
These are more aesthetically pleasing and great if your cat is happy using it. They are a little more expensive, but worth the cost.
Self-cleaning Litter Boxes
These are the most expensive options. They perform basic self-cleaning at intervals, but are not overly effective. I recommend you take a closer look at some if you think this option appeals to you.
What Type of Litter Should I Use?
With so many types of litter on the market it can get confusing. Ideally you want a fine consistency that resembles sand or soil like a cat would use outdoors.
Always go for unscented. Although scented may be better for you, it’s not for the cat. A litter that clumps well is easiest to use, there are a few to choose from on the market.
How Often Should I Empty the Litter Box?
Cats are clean animals and appreciate having a clean litter box. As a rule of thumb you should clean out the box as soon as you notice it has been used.
You should also be completely cleaning and emptying the box at least once a week. Giving it a good wash, but don’t use any disinfectants that leave fumes or odours behind.