So, you just brought home a new kitten, or maybe a cat with a few years behind her? How can you litter train them? Today we want to answer just that. No one wants to give their new, feline friend the uncomfortable and uneasy feeling of not having a place to go.
Let’s start with the new kitties entering your home. For kittens, just starting off, their mom generally sets the tone for litter training. By two to three weeks of age, kittens start copying momma cat’s litter box behavior habits. But you may not have the mom around, so what do you do? Since it is recommended that cats have a litter box that is about a length and a half longer than them, kittens can start off with a more compact litter box; graduating up to a larger size with growth. For adult cats that may need that litter training, we recommend using the same guidelines, as mentioned above, for sizing: a length and a half longer than your furry feline. And if your adult cat is aging, keep in mind that with age comes some mobility issues per individual. With that in mind, make sure to keep those litter box walls short, maybe two to three inches in height, to allow for easy stepping.
For each cat, no matter the age, comes the question of – cover or no cover? Many owners may think that finding a litter box with a cover will provide the privacy their kitty desires. Being both a predator and prey, a cat’s natural instinct is to find a place where they can make a quick getaway if needed. Not preferring to be cornered or trapped, some cats will prefer to have a litter box that is fully open. A covered litter box may also lead to the possibility of forgetting to clean the litter, therefore, building up fecal matter and odors. For older cats, entrance and exit may be difficult as well. Try to figure out what works best for your cat, but if they are urinating outside the box, it could be due to the desire to have that open box concept.
What kind of litter should you be using? Each cat will have their own preference with scented or unscented, as well as clumping or non-clumping, but, according to the Humane Society, research has found that most cats prefer the fine-grained litters, possibly due to the soft feel. Keep in mind, some cats will not prefer the corn or wheat-based litters because it smells like food, and they don’t want to eliminate on food. But, once you find the litter that your feline loves, stick to it. Switching litters on cats can cause them to reject the litter box all together. If your cat ends up rejecting all commercial-based litters, try using sand. They may prefer the more natural approach. Do you have issues with your cat using your planting soil for a litter? If your cat is having trouble staying out of your plants, try putting rocks on top of the soil to prevent the mix up of plant soil and litter for your cat.
How many litter boxes should you have? And where should you put them? The typical rule-of-thumb, is to have one litter box per cat, plus one. Especially if you live in a two-story home, we recommend keeping one box on each story for easy access. And, like us, cats don’t want to have to travel throughout the whole house, searching for a place to eliminate; try an easy to access place where your feline frequents and don’t make them have to travel up or down stairs or through three doors, for example, to find their relief. Keep their litter boxes far from their food and water bowls and away from noisy appliances. If you are keeping the litter box in a closet or bathroom, the Human Society recommends keeping the door wedged open to prevent your feline friend from being trapped inside or locked out.
If your feline begins to urinate or defecate outside of the litter box, or urinates more frequently than normal, and changing litter or litter box does not help, please consult your veterinarian for further guidance and testing.
Litter training can be a difficult start, but once you find what your cat loves, you will be set! We love our furry friends, and we want to help make their business an easy one.