Kittens naturally like to relieve themselves in dirt or sand. If you start as soon as you bring them home to litter train them, he or she will form it as a regular habit. Most cats learn from their mothers at a very young age to use a litter box but adopted stray or feral cats may not know how to use a litter box.
Sometimes, even a well-trained cat may seem to forget and start relieving around the house. Whether you are training a recently adopted cat who has never used a litter box or you are retraining your long time cat to use the litter box, following a few tips will help your cat on the right path.
How to litter train a kitten
LEARN YOUR CAT’S SCHEDULE: Generally, cats will need to relieve themselves after taking a nap, after he has been playing around or after he has eaten. This will help you know when he’s most likely to relieve himself; so you can direct him.
INTRODUCE A LITTER BOX: there are different sizes of litter boxes. Small boxes are available for tiny kittens, but kittens grow up so fast that you will have to replace the litter box as the kitten grows and retrain the kitten on how best to use it.
BUY KITTY LITTER: There are many types of litter to choose from, and most of them are fine for juvenile or adult cats. Select a litter that is as dust-free as possible, since dust can irritate cats’ lungs. Cats generally prefer clumping litters; as its more comfortable to walk on and makes it easier for cats to bury their wastes.
PLACE THE LITTER BOX IN A GOOD LOCATION: Cats prefer to use the litter box in a quiet, private place where they feel safe. Don’t put it in high traffic areas of your home. The ideal litter box location is easily accessible, offers plenty of privacy, and is free from sudden noises that could frighten the kitten.
The litter box should be in an area that the kitten spends a lot of time. He should be able to see the litter box most of the time so that he can use it when he needs it. While training your kitten on how to use the litter box and it becomes necessary to move the box, do it gradually, a few feet at a time every few days.
PLAY WITH YOUR CAT NEAR THE BOX: most cats need to eliminate after playing and running around. You can facilitate the process by playing with your cat near his litter box. This act can most likely lead him needing to eliminate at which point you can direct him to the litter box.
TEACH HIM WHAT TO DO: If your cat never learned how to use the litter box, you may need to show him how it’s done. This means you have to carry him to the litter box when he’s about to eliminate and teach him how to dig in the litter. Use a finger to scrape some litter aside until he learns by example.
If your cat eliminates in the box but hasn’t learned how to bury it, use your finger to scoop a little litter on top of his waste. It will take time, but he will eventually understand that you want him to learn those behaviors.
MOVE FOOD AND WATER TO THE PROBLEM AREA: If your cat continues to relieve himself outside the litter box and seems to have one spot he really enjoys, try moving his food and water to the areas he keeps eliminating. Cats have a hardwired impulse to avoid excreting wastes around food and water.
REWARDING SUCCESS: When your kitten successfully uses her litter box, make sure you give him lots of praises each time he goes by petting him and making comforting sounds. This way, he will soon learn to associate the litter box with good feelings.
All you need to do is to show your kitten a little patience, and lots of encouragement while litter training it and he will quickly adjust to using it.