How to train a kitten to use litter box? This is first and most important question new cat owners ask as soon as they get a cat.
You get a kitten and now you have to train him to use a litter box if of course he doesn’t use it yet.
How to choose a right litter box? Choosing a right litter box is a very important task
Types of litter boxes:
Nowadays they sell a huge variety of litter boxes in pet stores:
Disposable litter trays
Sifting cat litter pans
Open litter pans/ with high sides or with just high back
Hooded litter boxes/ Litter boxes with hood and door
Top entry litter boxes
Self-cleaning litter boxes
You can see different types of litter boxes at these pictures .
When buying a litter box for your cat try to choose the one which will fit him the most. If your kitten is quite big try to buy him a litter box of large or extra-large size. If you prefer small scoopable self-clumping litter to litter pellets, the better option will be to buy a litter box with high sides or hooded one compared to the one with low sides. It will prevent your cat from spilling the litter around when he jumps out of the litter box. Make sure that you pick the litter box which fits your cat size and your cat feel comfortable using it.
Some cat owners still use cat litter pans with sifter and do not use litter for it but it works only in case cat is trained to use such litter pan. Big plus of such litter pan is that you save money on litter and it is quite easy to clean it. Big minus is that it smells – since it doesn’t have a litter which absorbs the smell and – over time the plastic of such litter pan starts absorbing the smell. If you decide to get such litter pan be ready to change it for a new one quite frequently. While the kitten is small his waste is almost odorless but when he grows older his wastes start having stronger smell. Especially after cats reach adolescence they start producing hormone which has very strong smell.
All breeders recommend to use cat litter – there is no smell, it is cleaner, more practical and more hygienical. And cats by their nature are very cleanly animals and like to rake their waste up and get rid of smell. Your goal is just to help your cat ;)
There is a big variety of types of cat litter at the market today. Different cat owners prefer different types and brands. Among the most popular ones is clay clumping litter - it is made of highly absordable material and forms clumps when your cat urinates which absorbs smell and are very easy to clean. Highly popular cat litter is the one which is made out of recycled materials like paper or pine. There are also cat litter made of silica gel crystals, wheat, grass, corn, walnut shells and etc. You can click this link to read more about cat litter.
Nowadays more and more cat owners are trying to train their cats to use toilets bowls. To read more information about it you can click this link.
So, how to train your cat to use a litter box.
First, you need to find a place in your house – where to place a litter box - and make it preferably more enclosed by fencing it off. Do not put a litter box in the passing areas, placing it in a corner will be a better option. Remember, cats like privacy. Also loud noises or sounds can scare your cat away.
Here I should mention that you should start training your kitten to use litter box as soon as he turns 3-4 weeks old. Quite often the power of instinct helps a kitten to find a litter box and figure out what to do there. If he doesn’t understand you need to help him by moving litter with your hand.
Overtime kitten memorizes the spot where litter box is located and you can start to open up the area with litter box a little bit more but not a lot because your kitten can get frustrated. Thus the kitten gets adjusted in the house and always knows where to run to use litterbox.
And even if you do everything correct, sometimes “surprises” can happen – please do not get upset and always be patient. Kittens are like kids and need some time to learn new things. If your kitten doesn’t use litter box never scream at him nor beat him otherwise he will see as a punishment not for the fact that he did his things in a wrong place but for the process itself and next time will hide away better - somewhere in a dark corner. Instead, pick him up and put him into a litter box and move litter with his paw so he can understand that using litter box is much more comfortable.
Sometimes you can see that your kitten is quite disturbed, fusses and sniffs around – this is the sign that he is looking for bathroom. Then pick him up and put him into the litter box. After he finishes do not forget to praise him by petting him or even telling him that he did a great job. Training your kitten to use a litter box might take some time.
Make sure you clean thoroughly “wrong spots” where your kitten did his things. You can use floor cleaner with lavender smell - lavender kills odors very well. Also you can put some orange peels on these spots – cats really dislike citrus smells.
Also, in pets store you can find a variety of sprays designed to train kitten to use litter box. They are quite helpful.
Another option is to use special training litter. It has special ingredients which attract kittens to it and kittens love the feel of this litter.
It is up you which option to choose.
What to do if your cats doesn’t use litter box?
There might be multiple reasons why your cat refuses to use litter box. Let’s talk about the major ones.
First, do not forget that fact that cats are very cleanly animals. Clean litter box regularly, remove waste, change litter once in a while and wash litter box once in few months.
Another reason why your cat refuses to use litter box might be that litter box is located too close to bowls with food and water. Never put food bowls close to litter box.
Also, it is quite possible that your cat doesn’t like that particular type of litter box (hooded litter boxes with doors trap odors inside very well and your cat might not like it, or the opposite – your cat’s litter box is too open and doesn’t provide him enough privacy) – try to change litter box.
Or your cat doesn’t like the litter. Some litters are scented, your cat might not like that. Try to get him unscented litter.
Also, you cat might be stressed. It might happen if you move to a different place or if you bring a new cat or dog into the house. Remember that cats are creatures of habits and everything which falls out of their comfort zone might stress them. In that case you need to wait, after a few days your cat will get used to changes and everything will fall into place.
Regardless of what the reason is, the most important thing is your patience. Be patient with your cat and you will get 100% results!