Kitten Training 101: How to Litter Box Train a Kitten
Do you have a new kitten, or are you thinking of adopting a kitten? Are you concerned about how difficult it might be to litter train your new feline family member? Litter box training a kitten isn’t as challenging as potty training a puppy, but it still has its own hurdles to overcome, too. Knowing some tips on how to litter box train a kitten will help make this an easier experience for both you and your pet.
6 Tips to Know for How to Litter Box Train a Kitten
Below, you’ll find more information about the best methods for litter box training your cat and what to do if things aren’t working out. Read on to learn more and help your kitten become a potty-trained adult cat in no time!
When thinking about how to litter box train a kitten, here are 6 tips to keep in mind that can help:
Enlist the Help of the Mother Cat
If your kitten is still with their mother all the time or has regular access to the mother cat, you can get her to show them how to use the litter box. Many mother cats will teach their kittens how to go to the bathroom in litter as soon as the kittens are able to do so.
Often, if you adopt a cat from a rescue or a breeder where the mother cat has been present throughout the kitten’s first few weeks, the kitten will already know how to use litter.
Offer Enough Litter Boxes (and Litter)
If you have multiple cats in your home, make sure there are enough litter boxes for all of them. Cats are very territorial and do not like having to share their potty space with other cats, even if they get along well otherwise.
Additionally, make sure there is enough litter in the box for your kitten’s comfort, but not so much that he gets overwhelmed by it. Take your time with a little trial and error to figure out the right amount of litter to keep your kitten happy.
Reward with Treats
If you notice your kitten going to the litter box successfully, be sure to give them a few treats and a lot of praise. This will quickly reinforce the idea that he or she is doing what they should be doing, and they will be more than happy to go potty in the litter box if they think there is a chance of getting a treat for it.
Over time, you can cut back on the treats you give until you are no longer giving them at all. Your cat will have developed the proper litter box habits by this point.
Allow the Cat to Examine the Box
Another helpful tip to know on how to litter box train a kitten is to allow him or her to examine the litter box. Have the box set up and ready for use before you ever bring your new kitten home. As soon as you let him or her out of their carrier, take them to the litter box and let them examine it, sniff it, and get familiar with the idea of it.
If your kitten has seen litter boxes already with their mother or at the rescue where they came from, for example, then they may go right into the box and start trying to use it. Otherwise, however, consider this a “meet and greet” of sorts and wait to see what happens.
Place the Kitten in the Box Often
Every time your kitten wakes up from a nap or finishes a meal, take them directly to the litter box and place them in it. Most of the time, a kitten’s instincts will kick in, and they will start scraping the litter in preparation for going potty.
Other times, you may need to give your kitten a little push to help them understand what they’re supposed to be doing in the litter box. Very gently grasp his front paws and scratch them in the litter a couple of times. This is usually enough to encourage a young kitten to continue scratching on their own, which will lead to successful potty habits shortly.
Do Not Move the Litter Box
Finally, make sure you always keep the litter box in the same place in your home until your kitten has established very good litter box habits. Even adult cats can sometimes have potty accidents when their litter box is moved without preparing them for the change, and kittens can be even more easily confused by something like this.
Keep the box in the same place for the first several months to the first year of your kitten’s life with you. After that, you can move the box, but you may need to work on reintroducing your cat to its new location.
Consult with a Vet for More Advice on How to Litter Box Train a Kitten
By following these tips and suggestions, you can prepare your cat for life in your household. Your kitten will quickly learn how to go potty in the right place, and you’ll be able to enjoy a cleaner home in a short amount of time, too.
If your kitten seems to be having difficulty getting the hang of litter box training, or if you think there may be an underlying health problem causing them to potty outside the litter box, talk to your vet for more information.
For more information on how to litter box train a kitten, or if you have any questions regarding the best way to train your kitten in other aspects, talk with our Heart + Paw team at any of our locations. In addition to providing training advice, we’ll also make sure your pet is on the best wellness plan to ensure that they remain as healthy as possible. Book an appointment online for your kitten or give us a call now.
Dr. Aty Puentes joined the Heart + Paw team in fall 2022. Throughout her 20 years of…
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Heart + Paw was founded in 2018 by Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. George Melillo, who currently serves the Mid-Atlantic area. Heart + Paw offers a combination of veterinary care, pet grooming, and dog daycare to help be a resource in your pet parenthood journey.
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