How to potty train a cat – quickly and easily
Kittens normally are already used to using a litter box by the time you bring them home. Sometimes though, if you have adopted a stray kitten or rescued an abused furbaby, then they might not know how to use a litter box.
Below are a few pointers to help you with how to potty train a cat quickly and easily.
Make sure the litter box is large enough
Your kitten will grow fast so it will be better and cheaper if you buy a large litter box right from the start.
If your kitten is still too small to get into it, then just use a piece of wood and make a small ramp. Attach it to the side using duct tape. You can then remove it once your kitten is big enough to get in on her own.
Remove any large pot plants so that your cat or kitten is not tempted to use them instead of the litter box.
Enclosed litter box
Some cats are natural diggers and they love to kick the sand out of there litter box.
Using an enclosed litter box can not only solve this problem but it can also cut down on smells coming from the litter.
Again, the box needs to be large enough for your cat to get in and turn around. If it is too small then they might hesitate to use it.
If your cat does not want to use the enclosed litter box then remove the swing door. This will help them to acclimatize to it much quicker.
Different types of kitty litter
Surprisingly, there are so many different types of litter that it can become confusing on which one is the best for your kitty.
Below are a few guidelines to help you choose.
- Clumping litter is not good for kittens. If they eat it then it can cause an impaction in there gut which can be life threatening.
- Unscented litter is the best. Some cats do not like the perfumed scent coming off the litter and will then refuse to use the litter box.
- Scoopable litter is an excellent choice as it allows you to quickly and easily remove the waste.
- Buy litter that is easily obtainable because once your cat has become used to one specific kind then they might not be too eager to change.
Place the litter box in a quiet room
Cats prefer to use the litter box in private otherwise they could end up finding a quiet spot that suits them better.
A lot of people suggest the laundry room but this is not a good idea as the sudden noise of a dryer or washer could give your kitten a fright and cause them to be too scared to use the box.
The best position for the litter box would be wherever the kitten will be spending most of it's time.
Try and find a quiet area where there is not much traffic.
My bathroom is linked to my bedroom so it was a good choice for me. I confined the kittens to my bedroom and bathroom for the first few weeks. This gave them a chance to bond with me and at the same time they got used to there litter box.
Training your kitten to use the litter box
As soon as you get home with your new kitten, place it in the litter box. This is to get them used to the feel and smell of the litter.
It does not matter at this stage if it actually uses the box.
Just like with a puppy, place your kitten in the box as soon as it has finished eating or when it has woken up after a sleep. If you see them wanting to squat anywhere else then gently pick her up and place her in the box.
Some kittens use the box immediately and training can then stop but others might need a little more time.
Do not take the kittens paws and try and help her to dig and show her what to do. This will only result in you frightening them and will not be helpful.
Praise and never punish
Kittens respond very well to praise!
- Praise your kitten every time it uses the litter box
- Never ever punish your kitten when it is using the litter box or else it will think that using the box will result in punishment
- If your kitten has had an accident, never rub her nose in it. Rather let her smell the mess and then gently put her in the litter box.
- Never spank your kitten. This will just make them scared of you.
Make sure there are enough boxes to go around
You need to provide one litter box for every cat and then also one additional one.
So, if you have 2 cats then you need to have 3 litter boxes available at all times.
Keep the litter boxes clean
Cats do not like dirty litter boxes so it is very important that you keep them clean.
If you don't then they will find other places to relieve themselves.
Try and clean the boxes twice a day and remember to leave a little bit of waste in the box to lure them back to it. Scoop out the waste into a bag and throw it away.
Do a complete clean once a week. Throw out all the litter. Then clean the box with either warm soapy water or a non-hazardous cleaning solution.
Rinse and dry the box and then fill with fresh, clean litter.
So there you have it! Now you know how to potty train a cat. Always remember to praise your cat every time it uses the litter box. A pat on the head, or a little rub always does the trick!