7 Meowsome Tips For Litter Box Training Your Kitten

Posted on December 7, 2017

litter box trainingCats love being clean, and most cats naturally adapt to litter box training. Chances are if you have adopted a kitten, they’re probably using a litter box already.

But if your kitten hasn’t been taught to use a litter box or hasn’t been exposed to one, you have a bit of work to do.

You will need to buy a litter box that’s large enough for the kitten to move around in comfortably. And you should add enough litter to cover the bottom of the box.

You’ll have to be patient and remember that accidents may happen. But with lots of love and a little effort, your cat will be using its litter box in no time.

Let’s take a look at the top tips for litter box training.

Have More Than One Box for Litter Box Training

You want to have one litter box more than the number of cats in your household. For example, if you have two cats, you should really have three accessible litter boxes available.

As soon as you bring your kitten home, introduce her to the litter box. Watch your kitten and get to know its personality.

Be sure to place her in the litter box after meals regularly.

If you notice your kitty sniffing or crouching, she probably needs to go, so direct her towards the litter box. You want to make sure the box is placed in a quiet and easily accessible location.

Don’t place the litter box close to her bed. And make sure you empty the tray on a regular basis. Kittens want to be clean, and she will not like using it if she senses that it’s dirty.

Be sure to scoop out the box every day and wash it with detergent and hot water as needed. And be careful with disinfectants because some are toxic to cats.

Teach by Showing

If your kitten seems to have problems with the box, you can offer her a bit of guidance during litter box training. When your kitten is in the litter box, scratch the litter lightly with your finger.

In most cases, this won’t be necessary. As kittens grow, it’s instinctual for them to want to go to the bathroom in litter, dirt, or sand.

By scratching the litter, you’re teaching her how the litter box is used. You can take her paw and gently scratch it through the litter as well.

Don’t underestimate the intelligence of your kitten. They act on instinct but can definitely learn by example too.

Avoid Punishment

Although most kittens adapt easily, not all kittens will adapt to a litter box right away. As you begin litter box training, you have to remember to stay calm and avoid getting angry.

Your kitten will eventually understand what to do, and the hard part will be over. In the meantime, your job is to stay patient while you guide her through the process.

Punishing your kitten for failure to use the litter box will only backfire. She will become scared of the box, and you don’t want that to happen.

A cat will avoid things in the future that caused them any previous anxiety. You want a happy, well-adjusted cat in the future, so avoid expressing anger in any way.

Cats love rewards, so instead of punishment, try talking to her sweetly, praising her, and offering little treats when she uses the box correctly. This will encourage her to keep using the litter box.

Confine Briefly

If your kitten is having difficulty adjusting to litter box training, you might want to try confining her briefly. Choose a small space such as a bathroom and provide the essentials.

Make sure to have a litter box, water and food, a bed, a few toys, and a scratching post. The idea is that your kitten will gain a better understanding of the purpose of the litter box when there are fewer distractions around.

You should not look at this as punishment or show any anger. Make sure to use lots of TLC and encouragement as you help her learn what the litter box is for.

The Litter Matters

Many people make the mistake of adding too much litter to the box. They think the more litter they add, the less cleaning they will do.

This is simply not the case. Cats do not like and probably will not use litter if it’s over two inches deep.

Longer-haired cats tend to prefer a smooth surface and less litter. Putting in extra litter doesn’t take the place of scooping and regular cleaning of the box.

Some cat owners like to use box liners. This is for convenience so the litter can be gathered all at once and thrown away.

You may want to think twice about purchasing box liners. Although it works for some cats, most will just scratch it to shreds as they try to bury their waste.

Placement Matters

Where you decide to place the litter box does make a difference. If the location isn’t enjoyable for the kitten, she will avoid it.

The area should be private and in a quiet area if possible. High traffic areas where kids are playing isn’t the best choice.

You also want to avoid loud appliances like the washer and dryer. If your kitten simply refuses to use the box, you may need to make some simple adjustments.

Try moving it to a quieter area. You may want to try another brand of litter or even a different type of litter box.

Seeing the Vet

If simple adjustments don’t seem to work or if your kitten suddenly begins going outside the box, a visit to the veterinarian is the next step.

You want to make sure there aren’t health related problems affecting your kitten’s litter box training. Certain medical conditions could cause these issues.

The veterinarian can help you determine if your kitten is healthy. No matter what, punishment is never the answer and will only make the situation worse.

If you’re in the Marietta area and have questions or need medical care for your new kitten or beloved pet, we would love to help. Contact us, and check out our website and helpful blogs too.