Kitten Toilet Training

by Dr Lee Danks
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Kitten Toilet Training 1240X450

Bringing home a new kitten is a great joy, and also brings a bundle of new responsibilities. Hygiene and toileting is one in particular you’ll probably want to address from the moment they steps into your home.

Litterbox training can be very low-input for some kittens, who have learned well from their mothers and litter-mates, but others can be accident prone, needing a little more guidance and time to use the box like it’s second nature.

Some considerations while your pal is learning the litterbox:

  • Don’t allow your kitten full run of the house – it just gives them more places to ‘go’
  • Try to contain your kitten in the room you spend the most time in. This way, you can keep an eye on them while they're deciding on where to do their ‘business’
  • Close all bedroom doors, and barricade other areas you’d prefer them not to ‘go’
Setting a Routine - How and Why

Begin by gently placing your kitten into the litterbox a few minutes after they've finished eating, and a couple of minutes after they've woken from a sleep. While your kitten is in their litterbox - give them some time to sniff around, get used to the litter box material and figure out what they want to do.

By instinct cats prefer to bury their wee and poo – so you may be pleasantly surprised to see yours digging and scratching at the litter. But don't stress if they don't, just gently take hold of their front paw and do a little digging and scratching demo for them. Your kitten should get the idea.

When your kitten uses the litterbox, wait for them to completely finish their business, then give them lots of praise and some kitten treats. If they're taking their time, patience is key. Try not to rush them or be forceful if they're not ready.

A great way to get your kitten into the habit is to place them into their litterbox at hourly intervals throughout the day. Even though it's unlikely that they'll want to go every hour, it reinforces the idea of what and where it is.

Accidents do happen and that's ok

In this early stage of their life, your kitten is learning a lot of significant things at once, so it’s only natural for ‘accidents’ to happen. Be warned that they're likely to be frequent at first, so be prepared to watch your kitten carefully in these early stages. If you sense a squat coming on in a place it shouldn’t happen, then gently pick them up and place them in their litterbox.

The good news is that once your kitten has used their litter tray, the smell of urine that is left behind will encourage them to come back next time.

Picking your Litter

Not all cat litter is the same, so it’s hard to know which one’s right for you and your kitten. Here's a very brief summary:

  • Clay or Natural litters are usually the safest options for kittens.
  • For adult cats with litterboxes in inside spots, crystal or clumping litters are great options