If you’ve recently welcomed a new kitten into your family, chances are you’re probably thinking about litter box training. For indoor cats, litter box training is an important part of laying the foundation for a good cat/human relationship for years to come.
Fortunately, training a kitten to use a litter box is often much easier than training puppies to use the bathroom outside. Cats tend to bury their waste so they often take to litter boxes quite well.
Here are some guidelines to help you litter train your kitten.
1. Introduce your kitten to the litter box as soon as possible. After every meal or play session, and whenever they wake up from a nap, put them into their box. They may not go to the toilet every time but if they do, praise them and even offer a tasty treat.
2. Provide enough litter boxes. Ideally, you should have one more box than the number of cats in the household to give them some choice.
3. Always supervise your kitten so you can see any sniffing or scratching behavior that may indicate that they need to go to the toilet. This means you need to watch them all the time, and if you can’t do that, put them in a room with their litter box. You won’t have any little accidents around your home and they’re more likely to use their box.
4. If your kitten does eliminate outside the box, don’t reprimand them or get angry. It’s not deliberate; they just can’t yet control their toileting behavior. Instead, react to accidents by simply picking up the kitten and placing her in the box. This avoids negative associations with toileting and over time, your cat will learn that the litter box is the correct place to take care of their business.
5. Leave a small amount of urine or feces in the box. The smell will encourage the cat to use that as their toilet area.
6. Offer plenty of praise. Any behavior that is rewarded is repeated. This means that the more you reward your kitten for using the box (with praise or a treat), the more likely they are to do it again.
It may seem challenging, but teaching your kitten to use the litter box is quite a straight forward process. Combine these tips with a generous dose of patience and your feline family member will soon be well on their way to being litter-box-trained.