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How to Toilet Train a Kitten for Inside or Out
Cats and kittens keep themselves clean and with a bit of gentle guidance and direction it is not difficult to train them to keep your home clean.
Cats also love to dig and cover their mess, so if you don’t want to dig it up while gardening, you need to plan ahead.
You may want your kitten to grow into an inside/outside cat, so you may need to prepare for both. There is the advantage that your cat will learn to use a patch outside, but have a litter tray for when that is not possible.
Your best chance of quick, solid results are if you can stay home during the first few days that Kitty comes to live with you. Then you will not have to undo bad habits, which is much harder than to foster good ones.
Kittens and cats are by nature very fastidious. They keep themselves clean, they like to relieve themselves well away from where they sleep and eat, and to cover what they leave behind.
All one needs to do is to provide the kitten with a suitable place, whether this is inside in a litter tray or outside, in the garden.
Sometimes it could be a bit of both.
The Litter Tray for a Kitten
So, for inside, you will need a litter tray and some litter set in a place that is away from where smells could be a problem, but is easy for the kitten to find any time.
I have seen smallish trays that are no more than 4cms deep and many buy them so that the kitten can manage to get in. I prefer to buy a larger one that is also deeper and provide a box – adhered with duct tape or blobs of blutack -for kitten to step on, to get inside the litter box. I find it leaves less scattered litter around that I have to clean.
Place Kitty in the tray often during the day. It will soon figure it out.
If you live in a small flat and do not have a far-off enough place to keep the litter box in, you can either buy or make a kennel-type structure, that will house the litter box discreetly, The top will come off for cleaning the litter tray and it has a swinging flap for a door; very discreet and stylish.
There are some creative ways to keep a litter tray in or around your own living areas without it becoming an eyesore. Apart from the hooded trays, ready bought or home made, you can convert an old cupboard unit that would keep all the ugly bits inside!
Keep it Clean.
If you keep a pair of slatted poop-pickers you can pick up any solids which you discard of in a plastic bag, and that keeps the litter going longer.
Providing sanitary litter for the kitten.
There are of course, many types of litter one can buy. Some have special factors that make it easier to pick up wet patches. Be aware that there are strong indicators about the dangers of clumping litter, especially when used for small kittens.
Some litter types are deodorized which is not to say that the kitten or cat is going to like it any better but we might. There are those that are made from shredded paper and in the old days we used to buy huge bags of sawdust from the sawmill.
Some people may have a supply of sand and grit, but fine, dusty stuff could get into the baby feline lungs which is not a good idea. Like us they need clear lungs to breathe well.
Keep the box clean by changing the litter when it gets either too wet or too smelly. Kittens and cats won't use an overly dirty litter box, but while training you should always leave a little smell there for the kitten to recognize it as its own “place to go!”. After you dump the used up litter, wash the box, rinse and dry, refill it with clean litter and a small scoop-full of the old one on the top to replace the smell.
First few days you have a young kitten, you take it there several times a day, but especially after feeding and after a longish nap. Just place it there and show appreciation when it does the right thing.
When it does not, you will not cure it by rubbing its nose in it. You had best be on the lookout to see that as soon as there is a sign that it is looking for a place, you will pick it up and take it to the tray pronto.
It will only be a matter of a few days and the kitten will be looking for the tray by itself. If you cannot be with it during those crucial 2-3 days then restrict the zones that the kitten has access to and ensure that a clean tray is available where it cannot miss it.
© 2014 MarieLB