If you just got a new kitten, then congratulations are in order! You now have an adorable, cuddly, purring little ball of fur all to yourself, and we hope it fills your heart with joy. But unless you can get your new furry friend litter trained ASAP, it will also fill your house with an unwanted mess. But don't worry, if you follow these simple steps for how to teach a kitten to use the litter, you'll have your new kitten trained in no time.
Step 1: Choose the right litter box
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Cats often prefer to eliminate in the litter box because they like the texture of the litter. The best way to litter train a kitten is to set her up for success.
Kittens are tiny, and they need to be able to get into their litter box. Make sure you pick a box with low enough sides that your kitten can climb in without a problem. Also, make sure the box is made of a non-absorbent material.
Step 2: Select a litter box location
When considering how to teach a kitten where the litter box is, it is important not to expect your kitten to travel across your whole house to access their litter box. Instead, confine your new furball to a small section of your house where the litter box is, so it's always within reach. It's best to place the litter box in a corner so that your kitty feels confident that it can see everything while it's going to the bathroom. No one likes to get startled while peeing.
Step 3: Litter training your cat
At first, your kitten might not understand exactly what you want it to do in its new litter box, so you'll have to help them understand. Try to place your kitten in the litter box during times when it might want to go to the bathroom, like right after it wakes up from a nap or after eating.
Also, you want your kitten to dig around in the litter. Many kittens will do this on their own, but if your cat doesn't seem interested, try moving its paws in a digging motion in the litter to encourage it. Using a litter box is pretty instinctive for a cat.
Step 4: Clean the litter box regularly
Cats are naturally very tidy animals, so you don't want to turn them off from their litter box by making it an untidy place. Scoop waste from the litter box at least once per day and change the litter about once per week. Cleaning the litter box regularly should be done throughout your cat's life, not just when litter training your cat.
Step 5: Praise, don't punish
If you punish your kitten, it will probably start to fear you, and that's not how you want to start out your relationship. Remember, using the litter box should be relatively instinctual for your kitty, so if it's not working, then there may be some changes you need to make.
Step 6: Change it up
If you've been following these steps to the letter, and your cat still won't go in the litter box, then you may need to change things up. Perhaps your kitten doesn't like the litter you picked or the litter box isn't easy to get into. Maybe your feline would prefer the litter box to be in a different spot, or they might not like the potentially strong scent of litter with fragrance added.
Be sure to consult your veterinarian as well. While eliminating outside the litter box may be a training or behavioral concern, it can also be a sign of a medical condition that needs treatment.
Step 7: Stay patient during the training
Your kitten is new to your house and pretty new to the world in general, so be patient. If you stay consistent with your kitty, you'll likely be rewarded with a litter-trained cat. But big changes don't happen overnight. Don't assume because they got it right the first time, they'll get things right every time. But if you both work hard, we bet they'll be proudly trained sooner than you realize.
And once you and your kitty are on the same page, you can get down to the super important business of loving the fuzz off that little feline.