How to litter train a kitten to stop messy surprises on time
Kittens usually learn how to use the litter box before you bring them home. They follow whatever their mothers are doing, so the initial confusion is mostly eliminated by having someone to look up to.
Even if your kitten didn’t have a chance to pick up on this “good behaviour,” their instinct to bury the evidence after doing their business will kick in. That doesn’t mean your little kitty couldn’t use some help, though!
Stop your energetic feline furball from using your brand-new rug as their toilette on time—here’s how to litter train a kitten in a few easy steps.
Nothing can stop me now!!! The world is my litter box!
Kitten litter training—the essential supplies
To train your kitty to use the litter tray successfully, you need to get:
- Litter boxes
- Kitty litter
- Toys and treats
Getting a litter tray
Although it seems like an easy task, there’s more to choosing a suitable litter tray than you think.
It’s important to:
- Get the right size—Adult-sized litter tray may be too big for your kitten and can look intimidating to them. The best size for kittens is 33 by 23 cm. Keep in mind that the litter tray should grow with your kitten. It should be about 11/2 times the length of your feline friend, so you’ll have to size up as your kitty starts developing into an adult
- Have one extra—It’s a good idea to have one more litter tray compared to the number of cats. If your new kitten is the only feline in your household, get at least two and place them strategically in the house
- Choose between a covered vs uncovered litter tray—You may think your kitty would prefer the privacy of a covered litter box, but it can make them feel trapped. Some felines prefer open spaces, while others like enclosed ones better. Allow your kitten to choose what they like best
- Find the right place for the litter tray—The placement and availability of the litter tray are crucial when encouraging your furball to use it. Don’t hide it in a closet or a corner because cats don’t like to feel trapped while doing their business. Remove anything distracting from the room, such as carpeting or other animals, and ensure there’s enough light in it so your kitty can easily find their box. Once you figure out where to put it, do not move the tray. Indoor cats are creatures of habit, and they will get confused if you place it elsewhere
- Place a litter tray on each floor of your house—If you live in a home with more than one floor, make it easy for your little kitty to reach the litter box no matter which side of the staircase they’re on. Cats don’t and shouldn’t have to go any farther to go potty than we do
Kitten toilet training is easier with the right kitty litter
You can find many cat litter options—from low-cost, non-clumping clay to high-end, eco-friendly litter. Some are scented, and while it may be tempting to get one of those, you should keep in mind that your kitty’s nose is incredibly sensitive. Scents may distract your little furball, and that’s the opposite of what you want to achieve when litter training them.
You should let your kitten choose which option they like the most, so be ready to try out several different litters before finding the right one.
Wondering how to litter train a kitten fast? Use toys and treats!
The secret to fast and successful potty training is rewarding your kitty with what they love most every time they use the litter tray. Do this immediately after they leave the box, so they start associating the deed with the reward. This will reinforce the good habit, and your kitten will be fully trained in no time.
Ooohhh, so this is your idea of bribery, hooman? Nice try!
How to train a kitten to use a litter box step by step
Going through potty training successfully consists of three steps only:
- Allow your kitten to get familiar with the litter tray as soon as you bring them home. You should place your little furball inside and let them sniff and explore the space. They may start pawing at the litter instinctively or even using the box. If not, you should run your fingers through the litter to demonstrate the pawing action
- Put your feline companion inside the box after each meal and nap. This is usually the time they need to go, so act fast! You should do the same whenever you notice them crouching or sniffing around
- Reward their good behaviour. Give your kitty a treat once they’ve executed the task successfully. Don’t ever punish or scold them for accidents! This could only cause stress and anxiety, making potty training unnecessarily more difficult. Instead, you should calmly clean up the mess with an enzymatic cleaning solution and not react in any other way. Be patient and allow your kitten some time to form a good habit
How long does it take to litter train a kitten?
Kittens don’t take long to learn what the litter tray is for. Some pick up on it immediately, whereas others may take several days. It shouldn’t take your kitten more than four weeks to be fully and reliably potty trained.
Keep the kitten litter box clean
You should scoop your kitten’s litter box after every use. The odour might make your kitty develop an aversion to the box, which would make potty training more difficult.
Add some clean litter right after scooping it. You should maintain a height of about 5 to 8 cm to allow your feline companion room to dig.
As your kitty grows older and forms a habit of using the litter tray, you can scoop it daily.
Make sure to periodically empty, clean, and refill the box with fresh litter. Read what the litter bag says—there’s usually a recommendation on the label.
If you purchase clumping litter, you’ll have to replace it weekly or biweekly, depending on how many felines are using it.
To clean the box, use mild soap and water—never use bleach, commercial disinfectants, or other harsh chemicals. For spots outside the box, use an enzymatic cleaner. It will eliminate the smell that may make your kitty want to go at that same spot again.
This resembles litter… doesn’t it?
Potential kitten litter-box training issues and how to avoid them
If you notice that your kitten is having a hard time using the box, consider:
- Checking whether the litter box is:
- Located in a quiet spot
- Easily accessible
- Not hidden in a closet or a corner
- Not guarded by other cats
- Changing the type of box or litter
- Scooping and replacing the litter more often to eliminate unpleasant odours
- Using pheromone diffusers near the box to relieve anxiety
- Getting your kitty checked for UTIs, parasites, or any other health issues
What else you can do to make your new kitty feel at home
Kittens are sensitive and don’t have an easy time adjusting to new surroundings. To make them comfortable in their new environment and look after them properly, ensure they have:
- A comfy cat bed—Although not necessary, having their bed will make your kitty feel cosy
- Fun toys to play with—Kittens go crazy for feathered toys or those with bells or squeakers
- A scratching post—If you want to prevent your feline companion from using your furniture to file their claws, a scratching post is a must
- Delicious kitten food—Home is where the heart is, and the heart is where the food is! To keep your kitty perfectly jolly and healthy, provide them with the food they’ll love
What kind of cat food does a little kitty need?
Meat is the only source of essential amino acids your kitten needs to stay happy and healthy, and these include taurine, lysine, and arginine.
The best high-protein sources for your kitten are:
- Chicken (cooked, not raw)
- Pork, ham, and bacon (on occasion because they contain lots of fat)
I see food! I’m coming down, wait for me!!
Finding the right nutrient balance
A cat’s optimal diet should consist of:
More than 50%
Up to 20%
Less than 3%
Carbs (sugars and grains) should be avoided because they can cause diarrhoea, obesity, diabetes, plaque build-up, and bladder problems in cats. Some carb-rich foods, like grapes, chocolate, and citruses, are even toxic to felines.
You should give biscuits to your feline in moderation as they’re calorie-dense and may make your kitty fat. Be careful even if you’re trying to get your cat to fatten up because they’re losing weight—a dry-food-only diet is not the best way to do it as it can make them dehydrated and fail to provide all the essential nutrients.
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