By providing a suitable litter tray the kitten should not have to be trained in order to use it. A kitten will learn the location and texture of the litter tray by observing its mother.
Where to start?
If you confine the kitten to small areas then you will maximise their opportunity to use the litter tray as it will be the only area available which has loose material and so feels natural for them.
Do – remove any house plants from the area as this may provide a more natural place than the litter tray.
Don’t – Continuously confine the kitten, instead, watch the kitten and return to the litter tray when the kitten is about to go to the toilet.
Kittens will need to go to the toilet after sleeping, eating and playing. If you place the kitten in the tray with praise after these events the kitten will associate going to the toilet, whilst in the litter tray. Repeating this process will condition the kitten to use the litter tray.
What sort of tray should I choose?
The main consideration is how accessible the tray is for the kitten, it may be required that the tray have a reduced height if the kitten is small. As the kitten grows, a larger tray may be more suitable.
Trays with covers are fine as long as the cat is comfortable with using it. Again, accessibility is important ensuring the cat can fit into the opening easily.
How many trays will I need?
In general each cat in your home should have at least one tray. Some behavioural experts believe two in differing locations are necessary as cats can deposit urine in one and stools in the other.
Do – Avoid confrontation between cats by putting trays in various locations
Don’t – Put trays side by side in one room.
Are there different types of litter?
There are many types of litter some of which are of “clumping” variety and others which are plain. There are other litter varieties that are designed to reduce the odour given off by the tray. As a general rule the finer the material the more likely a cat will go to the toilet on it.
Remember – Always use the type of litter from the cat’s previous home as it will be conditioned to that texture.
Just like us, cats appreciate a quiet, private area to go to the toilet. Ensure the litter tray is easily accessible for the cat and yourself, whilst ensuring the location is away from noisy household appliances.
Do – Ensure to check and clean the tray regularly
Don’t – Put near any feeding or water bowls
Due to cats being very clean animals it is advised that soiled litter should be removed as soon as it is noticed. “Clumping” litter needs to be cleared more frequently than other material types when stained with urine and stools should be cleared away on a daily basis.
Do – Read the manufacturers guidelines on litter usage
Do - Clean and rinse the tray on a weekly basis
Don’t – Use ammonia based cleaning products to clean the tray with as this can irritate the cat
Remember – Every cat is individual and so a more frequent clean may be more suitable to ensure stable toilet routine.
If a cat continues not to use the litter tray then you must review the type of litter, tray size, tray quantity and location within your home. By offering differing tray sizes and litter types side by side you will be able to monitor which type your cat prefers.
Remember – Stable toilet routines operate when your cat feels completely comfortable in their home environment.