Training your kitten to use a litter box
Luckily, being a cat owner means having a pet that naturally likes to be very clean. Once your kitten learns how to use a litter tray, you’re pretty much sorted for life. Many kittens will learn this from their moms and even brothers and sisters in the litter. It’s always best to have that conversation with the person you’re getting your furry friend from, even ask them about getting the litter tray they already use. Your kitten will appreciate the familiar scents and textures in its new surroundings.
To start, purchase (or unpack) your litter tray as part of your kitten's welcome into their new home. Fill the tray with enough litter to cover the bottom and then immediately show your kitten where to go to find it. You’ll want to place it somewhere private and preferably away from their food and bed. Also, deposit your kitten there as a routine after meals or if you ever notice your kitten sniffing around, crouching or behaving like it needs to go. Soon enough your new kitten will get the idea and start heading to the litter tray on its own. They are creatures of habit after all.
Top tips for litter tray dos & don'ts
As mentioned, kittens don’t like things that are dirty and you’ll want to empty and clean their litter trays often. However, there are many disinfectants and household cleaning products that are toxic to them. Always use hot water and some light detergent to clean their trays. Of course, protect yourself with rubber gloves and wash your hands properly to disinfect afterwards too. This is particularly important in avoiding rare instances of toxoplasmosis which can cause serious complications to unborn babies.
If you decide to allow your cat to roam outside, don’t dispense the litter tray altogether in case they don’t go out on colder, rainy days. It’s also very important to note that even the most clever of cats will have the odd accident inside the house from time to time. Be sure not to get upset or punish them, rather offer small rewards the next few times they manage to make it to the litter tray to reinforce the good behaviour.