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Training your kitten to use the litter box 

Kitten Photo



How to begin house training: Equipment Required

Litter Box

There are many different types of litter boxes but basically you need a litter box that gives your kitten plenty of room to move around in and also it must have sides that are low enough for your kitten to climb over. Choosing the right litter box for your cat

In an emergency you can improvise with something you have around the house such as a baking pan, a plastic container or a cut down cardboard box. (make sure you line these with plastic liners for example with plastic garbage bags)


Cat Litter

There are many commercial Cat Litters available and you should experiment and use what works best for you. Avoid scented litters. People may like the smell of scented kitty litter but many cats and kittens do not. You will have to strike a happy medium between the litter you prefer to use and the litter the kitten prefers to use.

Also avoid using clay clumping litter for young kittens as it can be dangerous, causing intestinal blockages if accidentally ingested.

In an emergency you can use shredded newspaper or soil or sand from your garden.

Where to place the litter box

Place the litter tray in a quiet area because cats like privacy. Don't choose a position where there is a lot of traffic or noise and don't place it out in the open. Preferably place it in a corner or at least with one wall behind it.

Don't place the litter box near your kitten's food or water bowls.

Make sure your kitten knows where the litter box is and that he doesn't have to travel far to reach it.

As a rule of thumb provide one to two litter boxes per cat in a household. If your house is very large, or has multiple floors, you may need to provide multiple locations.


How to house train your kitten

Firstly, do not allow your new kitten full run of the house. Try to contain him to the room you spend the most time in so you can watch him most of the time. Close all bedroom doors and barricade other areas that do not have doors.

Establish a routine

Gently place your kitten in the litter box a couple of minutes after he has finished eating and a couple of minutes after he has woken from a sleep. Cats by instinct  prefer to bury their urine and feces. His instincts may take over and he will begin to dig and scratch at the litter by himself. Give him some time to sniff around and decide what he is going to do. If he doesn't start scratching by himself, all you need to do is gently take hold of his front paw and simulate a digging and scratching motion. The kitten should get the idea from doing this. If this doesn't work scratch at the litter with your fingers. Try to make it look like a fun game so you attract his interest.

If the kitten uses the litter box give him lots of praise. If he doesn't use it don't force the issue. You must never use a raised voice or make him afraid of the litter box in any way.

Establish a routine of placing your kitten in the litter box at hourly intervals throughout the day. He may not want to go every hour but this will reinforce the idea of where you want him to go. It also helps avoid too many accidents.


Observe your kitten as much as you can

With young kittens accidents can occur frequently. You must be prepared to watch your kitten carefully at all times. If you see signs that he is about to go pee or poop, gently pick him up without a fuss and without scaring him place him in the litter box. 

Once your kitten has used the litter he leaves the smell of cat urine which will encourage him to come back next time. If he continues to have accidents try transferring some urine or faeces from the 'accident' to the litter box so that the  smell of it encourages him to use the litter.

What are the signs kitty needs to potty?

One of the signs that a kitten needs to eliminate is that he will begin scratching at the floor. He will often go to a corner, behind a couch or a quiet area. Be observant and watch your kitten's behavior. Often a hurried departure from a game will indicate that he is hurrying off for a bathroom break.


My kitten has accidents and pees on the floor!

Expect accidents. Your kitten is only a baby and is still learning what is expected of him. Do not punish a kitten by rubbing his nose in the accident as this does not work. All it will teach the kitten to do is to fear you. Praise good behaviour and try to keep a closer eye on your kitten in future.

If you catch your kitten in the act quickly pick him up and take him quickly to the litter box. Say words such as 'Ah Ah' or 'No' in an unhappy voice when he is eliminating in the wrong place and then praise him and tell him what a good boy he is while you have him placed in the litter.

Read this article on 10 Reasons why your cat won't use the litter box

Cleaning Issues

Make sure the litter box is always clean. Cats and kittens do not like using heavily soiled litter boxes. Scoop out the hard bits frequently and change the litter daily. Thoroughly wash litter boxes once a week.

Always clean urine accidents thoroughly. The smell of cat urine will entice your cat back to the inappropriate location. How to clean cat urine from Carpets using natural products

How to teach your kitten to go outside

If you live in a safe location and will allow your cat or kitten to go outside you may want to progress to pooping and peeing outside. This is achieved by simply moving the kitty litter box closer to the outside door slowly over a period of time. Eventually move it to just outside the door and then you can progress to no litter box at all. Make sure your kitten knows where the litter box is at all times. Don't move it suddenly from one room to the next and expect your kitten to know where it is. When you have reached the stage of having the litter box outside watch your kitten and wait until you see him begin to use it. Then gently pick him up and show him an appropriate spot in the garden or yard that he can use instead. Cats and kittens love freshly dug soil or a sandy spot so you may be able to prepare an area ahead of time that you would like him to use. Eventually he will find his own preferred spots to eliminate.





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