There is quite a number of reasons why someone would look for tips on how to litter train a kitten. Perhaps you are currently transitioning an outdoor cat to a domesticated, indoor life. Or perhaps, you have just moved to a new house or bought a new litter box and your furry companion have yet to warm up to the new environment or that brand new litter box.
While it is impossible for us to list all of the plausible reasons as to what brought you here in the first place, the issue is similar: your cat seems to have a thing for defecating in any other places except their litter box. This issue is surprising and concerning, to say the least. We know that unlike dogs, cats do not need to be trained to use the litter box.
We can chalk it up to their independence and intelligence, but cats do instinctively know that the litter box is where they should go when they need to relieve themselves. It comes naturally for them, when they see sand or dirt, they know that is indeed their toilet. And speaking of personal preference, they would rather prefer that than carpet or hardwood floor.
However, the problem arises when you are trying to transition an outdoor cat. Having been living outside most of their lives, outdoor cats simply see their surrounding as one massive toilet. This is the primary reason why when they are confined in an enclosed environment such as your house, the new reality becomes so disconcerting to them and they relieve themselves whenever they see fit.
How to litter train a kitten: Step One
The first thing you have to do is determine where to put the litter box. Always go for a location that is relatively quiet. Putting it in a high-traffic area will only frighten the cat and as result, they may not want to give the litter box a try. The ideal location may vary depending on the layout of your house. But as long as it offers privacy while at the same time also easily accessible, you are good to go.
Laundry room is often the number one choice of location for many cat owners because it has less traffic compared to the other area in the house. However, you must consider a place where your cat spends most of their time in. It must also be within their sight so they know where to go whenever they feel the urge to relieve themselves. If laundry room fits neither the criteria, you may forego the suggestion.
How to litter train a kitten: Step Two
As soon as you have the litter box set up in the perfect location, take your cat and put them in the box immediately. It does not matter if they do not use it the first time they are there, the purpose is to get them used to the feel and smell of their litter box. Continue to do this after they wake up, eat meals, and other times when you think they need to relieve themselves.
This also applies to those who have just adopted a new kitten or moved to a new home. This obligatory introduction process is as important as it is necessary. While majority of cats instinctively know the purpose of being brought into the litter box on their own, some of them needs further encouragement. So whenever you see your cat squat in other places, immediately place them in the litter box.
How to litter train a kitten : Step Three
After being introduced to the litter box and brought there every single time you sense they are going to relieve themselves, your cat will slowly warm up to their litter box and use it as their toilet on their own. Whenever this takes place, make sure to praise them by making comforting sounds and gently petting them. Remember, like us humans, a little praise always goes along way.
If your cat has yet to grow used to their litter box and you find them squatting ready to relieve themselves in other places in the house, place them in the litter box right away. But remember to do it gently and avoid punishing them. Never yell at them, let alone spank them. The last thing you want is for them to mistake the litter box as a torture chamber since they will most likely associate it with punishments.
This also applies to the moment they accidentally miss and make a huge mess outside of their litter box. If there is one thing that cats do not respond well, it is to have their nose rubbed in their own waste. We all know how cats always bury their waste, and when it happens, do not clean it up right away. Let them smell their own mess and try to deal with it on their own, this will serve as a lesson to them and soon they will know where they should go to relieve themselves.
How to litter train a kitten: Step Four
Step three brings us to the next point. The fact that cats do not like the smell of their own waste is the primary reason why you should never skip cleaning their litter box. Yes, once you have successfully transitioned your outdoor cat or gotten your new adopted cat used to using the litter box, you must scoop the soiled litter along with their waste out of the box right away. Place it in a bag and throw it away.
In the beginning you may leave a small bit of the soiled litter or feces in their litter box. The purpose is to remind your cat what the litter box is for. That way the next time they need to relieve themselves, they will instantly remember about the litter box. After a few weeks, you may start scooping all of the waste as they must have recognized their litter box and the purpose of the box. And remember to clean the box thoroughly and change the litter completely once a week.