Whether you intend to have a house cat, or allow your cat into the garden, in the first few months, you will need to have somewhere in the house for your kitten to do her business. Instinctively, cats are clean animals so training a kitten to go in a designated place is relatively simple; you just need patience and understanding.
You will need a cat litter box or litter tray that is easily accessible for your kitten. There are lots of litter trays on the market, including automatic ones. However, in the initial stages it’s easier and cheaper to have a simple litter tray that is easy to get in and out of. There is also a wide range of cat litter available and what may suit you may not suit your kitten, so in these early stages if your kitten refuses to go near the litter tray try changing the litter, especially if you initially chose a scented variety, cats have a heightened sense of smell and it may be too over powering for your kitten.
So you have a simple tray and basic litter for your kitten, now you need to decide where to put it. Imagine you wake up desperately needing to ‘go’ but the nearest toilet is a 10 minute walk away – being a human you will do the right thing and wait until to you get there – hopefully. But if you are a kitten, you will get halfway there, not be able to wait and go in the nearest available corner. This is not bad behaviour on the part of your kitten; it is poor planning on your part. Put the litter tray far enough away from family areas but close enough that the kitten can get to it in time. You need to have three areas for your kitten, feeding, sleeping and pooping. Keep a good space between the feeding and pooping areas, but the sleeping area near to the pooping area.
Making the Connection
You need to help your kitten make the connection between ‘going’ and the litter tray. The easiest way to do this is to catch her just before she goes and put her in the litter tray until she has done something. This is easier than it would seem as kittens tend to ‘go’ shortly after being fed, so use this time to put your kitten in her litter tray. Lots and lots of praise is needed when she finally uses the tray. Kittens sleep for quite long periods, so every time your kitten wakes from a nap put her in the litter tray.
After a few days you will begin to recognise the signs that your kitten is looking for somewhere to go, when this happens go to her litter tray and call her over, she may not pay attention immediately because she is concentrating on finding somewhere to ‘go’, if you cannot get her attention at all, pick her up before she ‘goes’ and put her in the litter tray.
Accidents Will Happen
It is highly likely that you will have a few accidents and when these happen, do not scold your kitten, just put her in the litter tray and make sure you clean the area where the accident occurred to remove any scent that may confuse your kitten.
Remember cats are clean animals so you need to make sure the litter tray is kept clean otherwise your kitten will look for somewhere else to go.
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