Basic house training for your new kitten

Cats tend to teach their kittens how to use the litter tray as soon as they have been weaned. Generally by around the eighth to twelfth week, your kitten should know how to use the toilet by themselves. If you have adopted an orphan kitten or adopted one that is very young you'll need to teach them how to use the toilet correctly by following the steps below:

Kitties first toilet visit

  • Very young kittens will need to be stimulated to use the toilet, so as soon as they wake up and after they eat, if you see them sniffing, scratching or crouching on the floor this is a sign that they need to use the toilet.
  • Try gently placing them into the litter tray and if they try to escape, repeat the process until they relieve themselves.
  • They’ll get used to this association and once they have urinated they'll be able to smell where their toilet is.
  • Training your kitten can take time especially if they're used to urinating elsewhere – bad associations like weeing on the carpet need to be broken and new associations need to be enforced.

What cat litter tray do I use?

  • To start with use a shallow tray so your kitten is able to easily access the toilet. As they grow increase the size of the tray accordingly.
  • If you would like to give your kitten some privacy when using the toilet you can use a covered tray – this can help reduce odours and spillages. But be aware that not all kittens like this so do what’s best for your furry friend.

Which cat litter do I use?

  • Different cats prefer different cat litter; cats with arthritis and indoor cats tend to prefer a softer finer grain as their paw pads tend to be softer.
  • Outdoor cats tend to prefer clumpy cat litters as it has a similar texture to the soil and dirt outside.
  • If you need to change your cat litter for whatever reason do it slowly so they’re not put off by something new.
  • Avoid scented litters or tray liners as this can also put your kitten off or disguise the natural smell of a litter tray – although this may be wonderful for you, it may force you kitten to use the toilet elsewhere.
  • When filling the litter tray always read the litter instructions so you know exactly how much litter to put in – there should be enough litter for your kitten to dig in.
  • It’s always a good idea to put newspaper under the litter tray to catch any litter debris or spillages.

Where should I keep the litter tray?

  • Each kitten should have its own litter tray and this should be placed in a quiet place in the house.
  • Make sure the litter tray is easy to access especially if you have an indoor kitten.
  • Make sure it's not near food or water.

Make sure the litter tray is cleaned regularly

  • Cats tend to be very clean animals so if they have used the litter tray a few times they may hold off until it has been refreshed.
  • Pooper scoopers are a great way to remove clumps and waste, this should be done daily.
  • The tray should be completely emptied and cleaned at least once a week for owners who are removing waste daily. For owner who leave it a little longer, the tray should be cleaned out more often.
  • Always use hot water and detergent to clean the litter tray.
  • Try to avoid disinfectants as these can be toxic to your furry friend.
  • Never handle used litter if you're pregnant as a toxic infection called Tomoplasmosis can be transferred to your unborn baby.
  • If your kitten is toilet trained but still urinates outside of the litter tray it may be a sign they have Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD), this can be painful and potentially dangerous to your kittens health so seek advice from your vet.
  • Make sure the tray is cleaned regularly, if there is nowhere for them to go they will hold it in for too long – this can be very uncomfortable and can cause health problems.

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