Contrary to what one might think, the use of litter is not innate in cats. It is true that cats are very clean pets, but kittens are not born with a predisposition to use the litter box when it comes to doing their business. They need to be taught so that they can develop this good hygiene habit. Usually, it is the mother who takes care of it, but if you have adopted a kitten without its mother, it is you who will have to teach it to use the litter box. How do you do it? Here are a few tips that may help you.
Choosing the right litter box
It is important to choose the right litter and litter box for your kitten. For a small cat, it needs something simple, intimate, and secure. Avoid models with lids or electronics that could frighten her. There’s also no need to invest in a huge box, as your kitten may have difficulty accessing its contents.
For starters, you can opt for a small box such as a simple shoebox lid for example. It will mainly be used to train the kitten. Once the kitten, once he’s older, understands the principle, you will only have to put the lid on the real litter box for him to adopt it.
Choose the right litter
Concerning the choice of litter, several possibilities are available to you, because there are today several types and varieties of litter: mineral and vegetable, based on clay, sand, or even wood pellets, recycled paper… The ideal is to opt for a material with high absorbent and deodorizing capacities but also agglomerating.
For a kitten, also make sure that the litter is somehow “edible”. Indeed, some kittens may accidentally swallow it while scratching the inside of the litter box to cover their excrement.
Correct positioning of the litter box
The location of the litter box also plays an important role in your kitten’s learning process. It’s important to set up her toilet in a quiet and intimate place… Make sure the litter box is easy to access. At first, it is best to avoid doors or cat flaps. Ideally, the litter box should be placed in a prominent corner of the room.
Then if you live in a rather spacious house or apartment, it is advisable to place a small litter box in each corner of the room or on each floor. Please note that small cats cannot hold themselves back for very long. Instead of going through the house or up the stairs, your kitten will simply go to relieve herself on your carpet.
Teach him the right gestures
Normally, the kitten will understand that it is necessary to defecate in the litter box when he sees his mom or dad do it. But here, it is you who assumes the role of parent, it is your role to make him understand the usefulness of the litter box.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you go to the litter box to relieve yourself, just to set an example ;-). To initiate your small cat, put it in the litter box. Then, take his little front paws to scratch the surface and give him an idea of what to do.
If he still defecates elsewhere, show him that you have taken the poop and placed it in the litter box. Not only will this help him understand, but the smell of his own feces will attract him to the litter box and encourage him to go to the toilet. Once he’s finished, let him remove himself from the box and leave the room. It will be easier for him to go back in by himself.
Establish a small ritual
If your kitten is still not used to the litter box, you will have to be patient. To help her, you can take things in hand by instituting some sort of little ritual. Don’t wait for your cat to go to the toilet; place it regularly in the litter box.
All you have to do is determine the times when your cat is most likely to relieve itself. Remember that small cat’s pee and poop more often than adults, but the best times are usually after bedtime, after eating, or after playing.