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How to Train a Kitten to Use the Litter Box
Unless you have received your kitten from someone who is cat/kitten savvy, your new kitten probably varies in age from five to six weeks old. According to foster kitten rescuer, Dusty Rainbolt- author of Kittens for Dummies and Cat Wrangling 101-
“Eight to ten weeks old is the optimum age to adopt a kitten out. By this time, the kitten has learned all she can from the Queen (and other resident cats). Hopefully, the kitten has also been neutered by this time and the new owner won’t encounter issues with the new arrival.” www.dustycatwriter.com
The New Kitten:
Isolate the kitten in a small, warm room away from all other resident cats and normal household traffic. Provide food, water and litter boxes for the kitten. The best litter boxes can be found in your local grocery store (disposable baking pans). They come in various sizes. Buy several; they are grouped together for better value.
Use plain, clay litter. Kitties like to sample their environment and they explore their new world using their paws and mouth. Some kittens tend to eat cat litter causing their owners to become concerned. You don’t want your kitten swallowing clumping litter, so sticking with plain clay litter is best. The clumping litter can form small, hard bits that sometimes adhere to the top of a kitten’s mouth. Also clumping litter has a habit of balling up underneath the pads of the feet causing kitty to become quite sore.
Allow for mistakes:
The Queen is the clean-up committee. From birth, kittens pee and poop wherever they happen to be. The Queen is right there to remove it quickly (she eats the waste). The purpose of the disposable baking pans provides kitty with several way -stations she can use. Make sure you place all litter boxes away from food and water sources. When kitty is learning to use the litter box, the cat litter can fly. You don’t want soiled cat litter in kitty’s food.
Hit and Miss:
If kitty misses the litter pan, don’t lose your cool. Accidents happen. Simply scoop up the waste and drop it into the litter box. Blot up the urine with an enzyme cleaner. Once that dries, place a litter box on the floor over the stain. Kitty will learn to do her duty in the litter box. If kitty is peeing in an inappropriate place, you can put a food bowl on the spot. Kitties won’t pee or poop where they eat.
The Great Cover-up
As she grows, she will instinctively cover her waste. You do not need to show her how to scoop cat litter. Grabbing her paws and scooping with them can annoy or even scare her. She’ll figure it out over time. If you feed premium kitten food, this will help to keep the odor down. If your male kitten doesn’t cover his waste, this is instinctual and means your kitten is an Alpha. Alpha males like to have their scent out there to make a point to other cats. Even some solo cats won’t cover their waste. Female kittens can also be strong Alphas.
Waste Not, Want Not:
After she eats, place her in the litter box. Some kittens might be confused and lay down in the cat litter, but eventually they do understand, the litter box is their disposal station.
Punishing a kitten for peeing or pooping outside the litter box is counter-productive. Don’t push her sensitive nose into her waste. Have patience and provide kitty with all she needs to do the job right. Keep her isolated until she has learned what litter boxes are for. Then, open up your home to her providing her with more litter pans so mistakes will not occur.
SOS (Signs Or Symptoms)
Watery stool, diarrhea, kitties straining to go or peeing or pooping in minute amounts, blood or mucous in the stool or scooting their bums on the floor, all are warning signs to be aware of. If you notice any of these occurring, get your kitten to the vet immediately.