Normally, kittens will learn to use the litter box from their mothers. Mother cats will start training their kittens to use the litter box once they start weaning. By the time kittens are in their new homes, all if not most kittens will know how to use the litter box. However, in the event your kitten still does not know how to use the litter box when you bought it home, the following information on how to litter train a kitten will come in handy for you.
It will take about 12 to 14 weeks before kittens are well versed in using the litter box for all their elimination needs. Therefore, the best time to bring home a kitten is when it is around 12 to 14 weeks old, and not earlier than that. However, in cases which you need to bring home the kitten much earlier, you have to take over the role of the mother cat in teaching your kitten on how to use the litter box.
For newborn or young kitten up to 3 to 4 weeks old
Your kitten at this age will not be able to eliminate on its own without external help. Normally, the mother cat will help to stimulate the kitten into defecating and urinating after every feeding and sleeping session. Without the mother cat, you have to take over this role. After every feeding and sleeping session, use a wet but warm cloth or paper towel to rub the kitten’s genital area until your kitten defecates or urinates. You have to do this for every feeding and sleeping session until your kitten is able to walk on its own. By then, your kitten’s natural instinct will take over and it will dig and bury its wastes.
For a kitten that starts walking
Once your kitten starts to walk on its own, you can start introducing it to a litter box. Do note that your kitten needs to be able to feed itself, otherwise you have to wait till it is more independent. Start off by placing your kitten in the litter box and digging the litter with your finger after every feeding. You may need to do this a number of times before your little kitty gets the idea. Your kitten will quickly learn to use the litter box for all elimination needs once it is used to the litter box.
Tips to get your kitten to use the litter box
There may be instances whereby your kitten is having problems in getting used to the litter box. If that happens, the following information may be useful to you in getting your kitten to adapt to using the litter box.
Use the right litter and litter box
Choosing the right litter box and litter to use is the first step in getting your kitten to use the litter box. This is probably something a lot of first time cat owners are not aware of. Sometimes even experienced cat owners will overlook this. If possible, check with the breeder or whoever you get the kitten from what type of litter is your kitten using at the moment.
Also, there are many different types of litter boxes in the market. It is probably a tad difficult to get it right the first time. You may need to buy a few litter boxes before you strike gold. Unless you buy the exact litter box your kitten has all along been using. Using the same type of litter box and litter will give your kitten a sense of familiarity so it is more likely to use the litter box.
Make sure your litter box is clean
The thing about cats and probably everyone else is that cleanliness is very important. If your kitten starts using the litter box and then stop using it, there must be a reason why. Most of the time, it is probably due to the litter box being not clean enough. Most likely, you may then cleaning the litter box once a week may be good enough, but it is definitely not clean enough for your kitten. Make sure the litter is changed daily and the litter box clean thoroughly every couple of days. This will go a long way in ensuring your kitten will use the litter box for al lits elimination needs.
Do not punish your kitten
It is important to note that at all times, you are not suppose to punish your kitten for eliminating outside the litter box. It is normal for kittens to commit some mistakes along the way. Even older cats may have this problem from time to time. If you do that, it may have a reverse effect on what you are trying to achieve. It may make your kitten afraid of the litter box training it is given. Try positive reinforcement method instead. For example, if your kitten defecate outside the litter box. Instead of punishing your kitten, move the feces into the litter box in the presence of your kitten. This is to show your kitten that it should defecate there instead of outside the litter box.
Confine your kitten in a small room. If a small room is not available, you can try using a cage instead. The cage will work just as fine. Put your kitten’s bed, food and water bowls and litter box into the enclosed space. The idea is to force your kitten to use the litter box for all its elimination needs. Hence a small cage will be awesome in activating this idea. As you are probably aware, cats are super clean and hygienic creatures so your kitten will have no choice but force to use the litter box. Who wants to dirty their own beds or food and water sources!
You need to monitor closely to ensure your kitten is using the litter box for all its elimination needs. This is very important in the initial stages till it becomes a habit for your kitten. To become successful in training your kitten to use the litter box, you need to put in a bit of effort and have the patience and time to see though the litter box training. At the end of the day, it is worth the effort once your kitten is house trained.