After they are at least 4 weeks of age, kittens can begin to be house trained by their owners. Until then, they are usually dependent on their mothers to stimulate their urine and excrement. Always provide your cat with a bowl of water and a warm place to sleep, apart from a clean litter box that’s placed away from her eating and resting place. Until your cat stops soiling the house, provide her with a regular feeding schedule, which will automatically develop a corresponding elimination schedule.
If you have recently bought or adopted a kitten and wish to begin house training it, the following instructions, right from choosing the right litter box to training your cat to go outside, will help you for sure.
There are many varieties of litter boxes available. There are ones that are open and ones that are covered.
These further come in many shapes and sizes, depending on how big your cat is. However, in general, choose a box that is big enough for the cat to fit in even when it is fully-grown. Kittens grow up very fast, and if you get a small box, in the beginning, you might have to purchase a large one soon enough. Also, select one that can be cleaned easily.
The edges of the box should be a little high so that the litter does not fall onto the floor when the cat covers it up, but short enough so that it can get in and out of it easily.
You can even prepare a makeshift box at home by using a cardboard box or plastic container and lining it with plastic.
Selecting the right litter is very important because if the cat does not like the litter, it will find another place to do its business.
There are many kinds of litter. Some of them are blue crystals, clay litter, recycled pine litter, corn litter, clumping litter, and recycled paper litter. The brands differ according to the type.
Among these varieties, the safety of clumping litter is debated by many people. Although not medically proven yet, many believe that if the cat swallows this litter, it may lead to intestinal blockage and dehydration.
In case you have to make the litter box at home, you can put sandy soil, leaves, pieces of newspaper, etc., in the box. Litter also comes in the scented and non-scented varieties, the latter being more preferred by cats.
One method to counter the smell is to place a small bag of lava rocks next to the litter to absorb the smell. Washing the box regularly is also important.
Do not place the box too close to the cat’s eating space or near dry food.
Cats are very particular about being clean and will not use the box in the same area that they eat.
Also, choose a place that you and your family members do not frequent much, where the cat will have some quiet and privacy. Otherwise, it might find another spot to do its business.
Make sure that your cat can easily access the box. Provide multiple boxes in case of multistoried homes.
The first step is to introduce the cat to the litter box. Closely observe your cat’s body language so that you will be able to know when it needs to go. Pick it up gently, and place it in the box. Its inherent feline instinct will tempt it to start digging the litter. If not, then you can gently take hold of its front paw and make a scratching motion with it on the litter, or you can do the same with your finger.
Take your cat to the box a few minutes after every meal and every time it wakes up from a nap. Taking it after every two hours may also be effective. This will get it accustomed to the box. Usually, once the box is used, it smells in a particular way, which attracts cats to it, thus, making them use it.
Another effective method is to keep the cat in a small cage or space with the litter box, its food, and bedding for a while. As cats do not like to soil their eating or sleeping areas, it will make your pet use the box. You can continue this until the kitten is trained.
This process takes time and patience. Thus, in case your cat does not use the box immediately, do not force it. If it soils anywhere else in the house, never yell or hit it. Also, never shout at the cat while it is in the box, as it will associate the scolding with the box and not use it. It may take a few days, weeks, or even a month or more to train your cat, but you will succeed.
House training your cat to go outside is not difficult. Once the cat gets used to the litter box, start moving the box closer and closer to the door that you want it to use. Move it every three or four days as it will take the cat some time to get used to this new location. Keep it next to the door, inside the house for a few days, and then move it outside. Keep up this method till you reach the place that you want your cat to use.
Remove the box in a few days once your cat starts going outside on its own. You can even put the litter in the box in the designated place to make it easier for your cat to know that it is supposed to go there.
✓ Cats are very particular about cleanliness. Hence, it may not use the box if it is dirty.
✓ The area where the box is placed does not allow the cat its privacy.
✓ The box is placed too close to the cat’s eating area, water bowl, or sleeping area.
✓ The cat is having difficulty getting in and out of the box.
Potty training a cat is not impossible, nor is it really that difficult. It simply takes some time. Following the above steps will help you achieve this task successfully.