Cats have a natural proclivity for using a litter box. Most were trained by their mother as kittens to use a litter box and the ones that weren’t caught on really fast. Kittens begin using the litter box by the third week of life. They will follow their mother to the litter box and begin to imitate her bathroom etiquette.
The first step in successful housetraining is to make sure you have the right equipment. Try to find out what litter material was used by the mother and start with that form if possible. If you’re unsure, start with a super premium, quality brand such as Cats Incredible™ Unscented litter. If you already have cats at home, provide an additional box for each new cat. The litter box should be made of a washable material such as plastic, and the side must be low enough for a kitten to enter but high enough to contain the litter. The litter box should be placed in a relatively quiet area of the house with minimal traffic. Be sure the box is easily accessible and not too difficult for your kitten to find. When your kitten stops playing and begins sniffing around, gently carry it to the litter box. Simply place your kitten in the litter first thing in the morning, after meals, after periods of energetic play, after long naps, and last thing at night.
This basic training is usually adequate. Most adult cats only need to learn where the new litter box is located. Again, I recommend one litter pan per cat. Confining your cat to a small room initially is the best way to foster good litter box habits. Remember to provide a quiet, secluded spot for your cat’s litter box. Do not let your kitten or cat roam freely in the house until you’re certain your pet is using its litter pan regularly.
Make sure the litter box contains enough litter for digging and burying—about two to three inches of Cats Incredible™ is sufficient. Also, most kittens will automatically use kitty litter in preference to other surfaces, except for the soil of a potted plant. Be sure to keep plants out of the kitten’s reach or cover the soil with pinecones or decorative rock.
Keep in mind that the number-one reason a cat stops using its litter box is because the box is dirty and smells of ammonia. Fortunately, Cats Incredible™ with Smell Squasher actually prevents ammonia from forming, so your kitten will have a more pleasant experience while learning how to use a litter box. If your cat continues to make mistakes, the behavior can actually become a habit, so don’t wait on litter box issues.
To keep your cat happy with its litter box and avoid mishaps:
- Scoop the litter box daily
- Keep 2”-3” of litter in the box at all times, replenish as needed.
- Wash out the litter box monthly
- Never frighten your kitten around the box
- Try to prevent anything unpleasant from happening near its litter box
If accidents occur, be sure that your kitten is checked for any underlying medical problem that may exist, such as a bladder infection.