Bringing home a new kitten brings a bundle of new responsibilities – and that’s just scratching the surface, because there’s one in particular you’ll probably want to get to, from the moment he steps paw into your home: Litterbox training.
Litterbox training can take some time to learn, but if you follow our great-smelling tips, your ‘accident’-prone pal will be using that box like it’s second nature, in no time.
Before we begin our toileting tutorial, there are some kitty-steps you’ll want to keep in mind as your pint-size pal is learning the litterbox:
- Don’t allow your kitten full run of the house – it just gives him more places to ‘go’, so scratch that.
- Try to contain your kitten in the room you spend the most time in. This way, you can keep a cat’s eye on him while he’s still mewsing about where to do his ‘business’.
- And just to make sure you’re pawsitively safe from poo-poo, it’s best to close all bedroom doors, and barricade other areas without doors.
Now that your home is good to go, let’s leap straight into the outhouse.
Begin by gently placing your kitten into the litterbox, a couple of minutes after he’s finished eating, and a couple of minutes after he’s woken from a sleep. While he’s in there, give him some time to sniff around and figure out what he wants to do. Cats, by instinct, actually prefer to bury their wee and poo – so you may be pleasantly surprised to see yours digging and scratching at the litter, by himself. Pot-tay! But if he doesn’t, no biggie – gently take hold of his front paw and do a little digging and scratching demo. Your little latriner should get the idea.
When your wee one uses the litterbox, give him lots of praise – serenades, haikus and sonnets are also perfectly cat-ceptable. If he isn’t living up to the name ‘John’ just yet, no need to hissy-fit or force the little guy, if he’s not ready. This could make him think the litterbox is haunted, and you’re the crypt-keeper, and he’ll never want to return again. Just sayin’.
The best way to get your pick-of-the-litter ‘sandbox’ savvy by placing him in his litterbox at hourly intervals, throughout the day. Your purring prince may not want to go every hour, but this will reinforce the idea of where his throne is.
With little kitties learning a lot of big things at once, it’s only natural for ‘accidents’ to happen – and they may be frequent, at first. So, just be prepared to watch young Johnny carefully, at all times. If you sense a squat coming on, gently pick him up without a fuss, and place him in his litterbox.
The good mews: Once he’s used his litter tray, the smell of urine he’s left behind will encourage him to come back, next time. (Sure, cat urine probably wouldn’t do the same for us, but whatever works for our bitty kitties!)
Your little furball is officially Lord of the Lavatory – so what’s the best litter for him to use, ongoing? Not all cat litter is the same, so it’s hard to know which one’s right for you and your compact compawdre. No worries – we’ve got the whole scoop, here.
The first step in choosing the right litter is deciding where the litterbox will be kept:
- If your Persian’s potty is going to be near living areas, remember that litter odour may be old mews to us, but it’s absolutely breaking for guests. In this case, we recommend Crystallised Sand or Lavender Clumping litters. Both have cat-tastic odour control.
- If Oreo’s outhouse is going to be outside on the deck, or in the garage, odour control may not be as impawtant. You could then save some cash with an economical litter like Clay or Recycled Paper.
But if the smell of Wally’s waste will always be a worry, your top-cat option is an enclosed cat toilet. No need to remind Simba to put the seat down or anything like that – it’s simply a litter tray with walls and a roof. The roof may contain a carbon cartridge, which filters odours as air passes through it. And if you really want the best in show for odour control, combine your choice of litters with an enclosed cat toilet. Me-WOW.
(By the way, enclosed cat toilets will work for new kittens, but we recommend starting with a tray instead. It’s probably your easiest option for your whiskered wonder as he’s learning the ropes.)
Want to learn more about litter? Paw through these handy tables before you buy, and you won’t be ill-litter-ate any longer.
|ECO PAPER CAT LITTER|
|Material:||Recycled cardboard boxes, manufactured into brown pellets in various lengths and sizes.|
|Other Information:||Biodegradable; easy to recycle; can dispose in the bin or the garden. Light and easy to carry. Suitable for kittens.|
|CLAY CAT LITTER|
|Material:||Attapulgite, small clay particle; numerous shapes and sizes; whitish-blue in colour.|
|Other Information:||Renowned for all-round effectiveness, and value for money. Biodegradable. Naturally-mined product, so variations in appearance can occur. Suitable for kittens.|
|ANGEL CRYSTAL CAT LITTER|
|Type:||Crystal cat litter with infused scented lavender crystals; pink colour.|
|Other Information:||Biodegradable; longest-lasting litter available; great absorbency and odour control. Suitable for kittens.|
|LAVENDER CLUMPING CAT LITTER|
|Type:||Horizontal clumping litter, scented with lavender.|
|Material:||Sodium Bentonite; small particles; highlights of browns and creams in colour.|
|Other Information:||Biodegradable. Naturally-mined product, so variations in appearance can occur. Suitable for kittens with supervision only.|