How Do You Litter Train A Kitten Without Its Mother
Kittens voluntarily eliminate urine and faeces about 3 – 4 weeks of age. Orphans younger than 3 weeks require their genitals stimulated after each meal to induce defecation and urination since its usually invigorated by their mother.
To help a neonate eliminate: before and after a feed, moisten a cotton ball or damp soft cloth with warm water and gently rub his or hers tummy as well as genital area in a circular motion until the kitten urinates and defecates . Kitten will urinate during each stimulation and usually defecate once daily. See your vet for additional advice.
Remember Accidents Are Bound To Happen
Litter box training kittens means accidents are bound to happen. The best way to handle them is calmly. Rubbing kittens noses in a mess and yelling at them is neither productive nor kind. When your kitten makes a solid mess, simply use a paper towel, pick it up, and place both the kitten and the mess in the litter box.
Once kittens associate litter boxes with going to the bathroom, youre on your way. Avoid making elimination traumatic for your kitten, and youll be on a path to successful kitten litter box training.
Choose Where To Put The Litter Boxes
When it comes to litter training, location is everything. Cats like privacy and easy access, so a spot in a low traffic area thats effortless to find and step into are best. Many pet parents put litter boxes in their bathroom, a quiet corner of a bedroom or living area, or a closet with the door open.
If you have multiple floors in your home, McMillan recommends putting a litter box on each floorthat way, your cat wont have to climb the stairs when its go-time. Again, its all about making this as easy as possible for your kitten.
The space should feel safe to your kitty, with plenty of visibility so they can monitor their surroundings as they go.
Finally, do not place litter boxes next to your kittens food dishes. Hey, would you want to eat every meal right next to your toilet? Neither does your kitten. For sanitary reasons as well as general cat fussiness, youll want to keep the litter box and their feeding station in two distinct, separate parts of your home.
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Are Kittens Automatically Litter Trained
If you are getting your kitten from a breeder, ask if they have been trained to use a litter box. If not, avoid this breeder. Not because the kitten is not using the litter box. Itâs easy to teach that behavior, but any breeder who has ignored one of the most crucial parts of kitten care, is of questionable expertise. You canât know what else the breeder âforgotâ to take care of. Things like immunizations that must be given at the right times, in the precisely the correct amounts, and other items related to the healthy development of a kitten.
Okay, letâs assume youâve gotten your kitten from a reputable breeder who has taken care of the young cat with the highest responsibility. And letâs assume further that the breeder has litter trained your new kitten well.
Then you are probably thinking, should I litter train a kitten if theyâve already been trained? Yes, you should! You are not the only one that asks this, most of our patients do as well.
Why should you continue with your kittenâs litter training? The main reason is that your kitten has already learned the location of the litter box in their old home. The problem is that they donât know where in their new home the litter box is. Thereâs a lot to learn when they arrive in their new home so just make sure that their new litter box is easily accessible.
What You Need To Potty
- Litter box
- Kitty litter
- Poop bags if you’re using non-flushable litter
- Enzyme cleaner
Picking a good litter box
To start, you want to match your litter box to the size of your cat. Kittens may need a smaller box, with at least one shallow side, so they can easily scramble in and out. Theyll graduate to a bigger box as they grow.
Pick a litter box thats big enough for your cat to move around without bumping up against the sides. You want one thats at least three to four inches deep. Because cats usually kick or paw litter over their leavings, a deeper box can help keep litter and other stuff! from flying out onto your floor.
Is your kitty a champion litter-kicker? See if theyre willing to use a covered box, or other furniture-type litter solutions. Covered litter boxes can get really stinky if you dont clean them every day, but they may save you some extra sweeping.
Picking a kitty litter
Once you have your litter box, pour in about one to two inches of kitty litter. You want to cover the entire bottom of the box too little, and the box gets gross very quickly too much, and its easy to miss goop when you scoop.
No matter which litter you pick, you should be scooping it every day. Dump out the old litter and put in new litter at least once a week. Wash the tray with enzyme cleaner every month.
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Stages Of Feline Labor
The first stage may take 12 hours, during which the queen may purr and breathe rhythmically. She may become very active, try to dig at the floor, appear to be straining to use her litter box, and cry loudly.
In the second stage, the water breaks, and straw colored fluid is passed. A kitten will be delivered a few minutes later. The queen will lick the kitten clean and bite through the umbilical cord. She is bonding with her kittens through this process, and learning to recognize them as her own. Do not disturb her. It may look as if her treatment is too rough, but she is actually stimulating breathing and blood circulation. Kittens should begin nursing between subsequent births.
In the final stage, the placenta follows a few minutes after delivery of a kitten. The mother will probably eat some or all of the placentas. Kittens are born anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes apart, so most deliveries take 2 to 6 hours. The average litter is 4 to 5 kittens. Larger litters of 6, 7, or more are unusual.
If a kitten is not born within 2 hours and the mother appears to be continually straining or in distress, call a veterinarian immediately. She may need a Caesarean or a drug called oxytocin to stimulate contractions. If the mother is content and happy, she is probably finished, though there have been cases in which a cat resumed delivery sometime later.
What Kind Of Litter Box Do You Need For A Kitten
While a young kitten can use a litter box and you should introduce them as soon as possible, not any kind of litter box will work. It needs to be a litter box with low sides so they can easily climb in and out, which is something that you usually dont want with an older cat.
So, a disposable cardboard litter box might be a good choice. Not only does this have low sides, but you can place it near the kittens so they can get in and out without too much work.
Keep in mind that while kittens might be curious, they still are kittens, and they feel safer close to where theyve spent their entire lives. As they learn to walk, theyre not always the most stable, so if they have to go too far to reach the litter box, they simply might not make it in time.
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How To Litter Train A Kitten: Step
Once youve prepared the area, its time to start litter training your kitten. This process is usually easy, but there are a few things you should keep in mind before you start.
Successful litterbox training should start about 3-4 weeks old. Initially confine to a kitten-proof room with access to food, water, toys, bedding, and multiple latrines.
Problems And Proofing Behavior
Most kittens will learn to use the litter box fairly quickly. It may take longer for some kittens, so try to be patient. If your kitten has one or two specific areas in the house where it likes to eliminate, move the litter boxes to these areas. If this does not work, try changing the litter box or the cat litter brand or type.
When considering litter boxes, try to put yourself in your cat’s position. Is there something in the area that is frightening or distracting? Perhaps there is a sight or sound that makes your cat want to avoid the area. Maybe the litter box has a strong plastic smell to it. Perhaps the litter does not feel good on the paws or has an odor kitty dislikes. You may need to make several small changes before your kitten will accept the litter box.
Remember, never punish your cat for accidents. Be consistent about moving the kitten to the litter box if you catch it in the middle of an accident. Try not to get angry or frustrated. Stress in the environment is the main cause of behavioral litter box issues. This means you may need to assess your kitten’s environment. Are there other pets in the home causing stress? Is your kitten acting anxious or restless? Perhaps it needs more exercise or vertical space.
If you continue to have trouble, talk to your veterinarian, who can rule out health issues that might be getting in the way of litter box training and offer training suggestions.
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Maintain A Clean Environment
If the kitten goes outside the box, clean and sanitize the area afterwards to avoid foul smells, soaking or connections. Keep blankets and laundry off the floor if the kitten is using them. Place a litter box in the same position where a kitten usually uses it.
Nobody likes to use a filthy toilet, and cats are no exception! Clean the box throughout the day to encourage them to keep up their good behaviors.
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How To Litter Train A Kitten Using Positive Reinforcement
Positive reinforcement can help your kitten learn the ins and outs of litter box use. Consider offering a tasty cat treat when your kitten successfully uses the litter box. Engaging in a fun interactive play session with a favourite cat toy, such as a feather wand, after successful litter box use can also create positive associations with the box.
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How Do You Actually Train A Kitten To Use The Litter Box
If you are really lucky, once you start feeding the kittens cat food and put out their mini litter boxes filled with a non-clumping litter, the mother cat will teach her kittens how to go potty.In fact, some kittens will learn by watching their mom and may even try to use her litter box. So for that reason, it may be helpful to keep the mother cats litter box in the same room as the kittens. Ensure, however, that the litter in the mothers litter box is non-clumping, in case the kittens try to eat it.
If kittens dont follow their mothers lead, the human will have to step in and help teach them the procedure.
Start by placing the kitten in the litter box whenever you think it might have to go potty. Common times are after waking up and after eating. You can simply place the kitten in the litter box, then make little digging motions with its paw. Some kittens will catch on right away.
If you have a particularly slow learner, you could try holding them over the litter box, then trying to stimulate them to pee or poop by gently wiping their genital areas. This may help them to make the connection between the litter box and elimination.
When they do pee or poop in the litter box, let them smell it, then either let them watch you cover it, or gently help them to cover it with their paw.
Put Your Kitten In The Box
Its as simple as that. Gently place your kitten in the litterbox! If they dont need to pee or poop, they will often jump back out. However, they should take note of the texture. If your kitten does need to use the bathroom, you should see them start to sniff and dig in the litter until they find the right spot.
For a kitten learning to eliminate on their own for the first time, you can also gently take their paw and brush some litter with it. This helps show them that they can digand encourages their instinctual digging to kick in.
You may need to repeat the process until your kitten remembers where and how to use the litterbox.
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The Litter Box Is Hard To Reach
So far, we discussed pretty general reasons that would put many an adult cat off the box. Since this article chiefly answers the question: “When do kittens start using the litter box”, we’re back to covering more kitten-specific reasons for litter box avoidance.
Remember the key to choosing a location for your kitten’s litter box? It’s accessibility.
Make sure your kitten has an accessible litter box. That means one that’s not too far away from where he’s playing. Don’t make him climb up or down stairs to get to the box, or jump through any metaphorical hoops.
It’s too difficult for the kitten to enter the litter box
This goes back to accessibility. Make sure the kitten can actually enter the box without too much maneuvering. With young kittens avoid boxes with high sides or top entry boxes.
If you’re using a covered box, make sure the kitten can push the door easily and knows how to do that. You may need to take that flap down for a few weeks.
Reinforce Good Litter Box Habits
When your kitten uses the litter box appropriately, reward them with their favorite treat to create a positive association with the activity.
For this to work, the treat must be given immediately after they have left the box so they associate the activity with the reward.
If your kitten makes a mistake, do NOT punish them or yell at them. Calmly clean up the mess with an enzymatic cleaner and do not react in any other way.
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Creating A Safe And Clean Environment
The litter box should be placed in a private yet accessible area of your home. Avoid cramped spaces like under cabinets or in small closets. Make sure the box is not next to a loud appliance or something else that makes scary noises.
The litter box should not be placed near your kitten’s food and water dishes, nor should it be too close to your kitten’s favorite sleeping spots. Kittens and cats naturally prefer not to eliminate near their food and beds.
Maintain a clean litter box and keep the surrounding area as clean as possible. Scoop the litter box once or twice a day. Immediately clean up any accidents made outside the box and sweep up stray litter pieces regularly.
The Litter Training Kittens Process
As soon as your kitten arrives, you should continue teaching it how to use the litter box. Try to get the same type of litter as the breeder has used and the same or similar design of the box.
Once you have found a place for the litter box, avoid moving it and allow your kitten to learn where is the spot it can eliminate.
Most kittens will have the natural instinct to use the litter box, but you still need to teach them the basics to avoid accidents from happening.
Start the training by showing your kitten the litter box.
Gently place its paws in the litter and show it how to dig. Allow it to play and explore.
At the beginning, try to place it in the litter box more frequently. First thing in the morning, after a meal, a nap or after playing as this is the usual time the cat will use the bathroom anyway.
Your kitten will explore the space it spends its time in and eventually learn about different locations where to eat, where to sleep and where to eliminate. Therefore, it is very important not to change the place of the litter box. Its also tricky when you have dogs. Read my article about keeping dogs out of the litter box.
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But Why Are They Doing More Than Eliminating In The Litter Box
Its possible that kittens smell their own scent in the litter box, and therefore feel safe in it. Plus, it is a box. And most cats love boxes!
Though it may not be desirable to have your kitten using their litter box as a sandbox, you have to ensure that any attempt to discourage their fun does not cause them to connect the litter box with a negative response and begin inappropriate elimination elsewhere around the house.
You could try getting a covered litter box to reduce some of the litter that flies out of the box. However, if the kitten does not like the covered box, they might stop using it.
Therefore, you should probably just wait until the kitten outgrows the behaviour, and in the meantime, try to remove the waste as often as possible to keep it from ending up on the wrong side of the litter box.
If the litter scatter is caused by the kitten digging to cover his waste, it may mean it is time to get a larger litter box. But dont just take away the original litter box and replace it with the new one. Keep the original litter box until you know for sure the kitten is comfortable using the new one.