If You’re Caring For A Mother Cat With Kittens
If the mother cat is there and knows what she’s doing, there’s nothing much for you to do as the owner, at least not in the litter box department.
Basically, make sure that the room is warm and the mother cat has access to quality food and plenty of water. Offer the same clean litter box as always, in the same location. Every now and again, the mother will leave the kittens to use the box or eat and drink. On the very basic level, let nature take its course.
Do keep an eye on things and if anything seems wrong with the mother cat or the kittens, call your veterinarian at once. There are post-birth complications in cats to watch out as well as possible health issues with the kittens, such as the fading kitten syndrome.
What To Do If You Have An Adult Cat And A Kitten
If you get a new kitten and you already have another cat, you must get a new litter box for the kitten. Try to locate each litter box in separate areas in the beginning. The kitten may feel threatened or anxious if the other cat is present while trying to do its business.
Cats are territorial not only with the food but also with the litter box, so separating the cat feeding bowls and the litter boxes from each other its a good start, at least in the beginning.
Clean Their Litter Box Regularly
The first thing that you should do is ensure that your cat has a clean, tidy litter box. Cats dislike odors and prefer litter boxes that are clean. You should not only clean out your litter box when your cat urinates or defecates but also complete a deep cleaning occasionally. Unscented soap is best.
Or, you can always give your cat a litter box for urinating and a litter box for defecating. This might help solve the problem.
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What Cat Personality Suits You
Cats offer a variety of distinctive personality types, ranging from puppy-like cuddliness to feigned disinterest. Some cats are constantly on the go, exploring and poking into this and that, while others are certified nap ninjas. Vocally, they can be chatty catties or more taciturn souls. In short, you have a wide spectrum of personality types to choose from which is what makes cats such fascinating and easy-to-love pets.
Your Cat Disliked The Type Of Litter
Your cat may dislike the type of litter. Revisit our section on types of litter and give each type a try.
Kittens can be particular about the way the litter feels on the feet. This can lead to them missing slightly as they try not to stand on the litter. Or, your kitten may outright avoid the offending litter box altogether.
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Choosing The Best Litter For Kittens
There are many types of cat litter available, so deciding on the best litter for your kitten can be difficult. Staring at the wall of cat litter available in the grocery or pet store aisle can be overwhelming.
Do you want clumping or non-clumping? Scented or unscented? Clay or crystals? Pine, wheat, or grass? Recycled paper or walnut shells? Pellets or granules? Who knew cat litter could be so complicated?
Dont worry. The best litter for kittens is one that they will use regularly and without complaint.
Keep Your Kitten In Close Proximity To The Litter Box
When you bring home your new kitten, place them in their litter box immediately. This gives your kitten the opportunity to become familiar with the appearance, smell, and location of their litter box.
Keep your kitten within close proximity of the litter box, at least for their first few days in your home. Consider confining your new kitten to a small room with their litter box when unattended. Keeping your kitten close to their litter box, instead of giving them free reign of the house, can maximize your chances of success.
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Be Careful With Kittens And Cat Litter
Some kittens will eat small amounts of cat litter at first. While litter box training, you may want to supervise your kitten each time he or she has access to or uses the litter box. If you cannot supervise your kitten, you may want to avoid using clumping litter as it can cause intestinal blockages if eaten.
There are various reasons why kittens eat litter, including curiosity. But if the behavior persists, visit the vet to get it checked out. If you suspect your kitten has eaten litter, its best to head to the vet right away.
Introduce Litter At The Right Time
Newborn kittens need to be stimulated to go to the bathroom, and won’t start using the litter box until around 3 weeks of age. Once the kitten has reached 3 weeks, it’s appropriate to introduce them to the litter box. Every kitten develops at a different pace, so be patient with the kitten and continue stimulating until you’re confident she is using the litter box with regularity.
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How Does Litter Box Training Work
The good news? Cats, kittens included, almost always instinctively know how to use the litter box. Thats because a cats biological drive urges them to bury their waste. This instinct can be attributed to their wildcat ancestors, who avoided detection by predators by masking their scent and tracks.
The smarter cats gravitated toward soft dirt or sand, since this granular consistency made it easier to bury their waste. This is why cats are naturally attracted to the feel of cat litter and know what to do once they feel it beneath their paws.
Instinct reinforced by observation means that kittens are sometimes litter box trained mere weeks after birth. This happens when they observe their mothers burying their wastewhether that occurs indoors in a traditional litter box, or outside in a patch of sand.
That said, some kittens still need a little encouragement when it comes to litter box training.
Normal Waste Elimination Behavior
After birth, its all up to the mother cat to stimulate each kitten in the litter to use the potty. She will clean their private parts, which sends signals to the body, helping them to eliminate.
As they age, the process starts to change a little. By 3 weeks, its time for the kittens to use the potty on their own. Anyone raising the kittens will begin to introduce them to a box at this time where natural instincts should do most of the hard work.
When you place a kitten in the litter box after bringing them home, they may already be quite familiar with the process. Most kittens start learning to use a litter box around 3 weeks when theyre kept indoors.
Even kitties kept outside have experienced covering their waste in the yard. So, when they feel the texture of the litter, its easy for them to make the distinction.
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Problems And Proofing Behavior
Most kittens will learn to use the litter box fairly quickly. It may take longer for some kittens, so try to be patient. If your kitten has one or two specific areas in the house where it likes to eliminate, move the litter boxes to these areas. If this does not work, try changing the litter box or the cat litter brand or type.
When considering litter boxes, try to put yourself in your cat’s position. Is there something in the area that is frightening or distracting? Perhaps there is a sight or sound that makes your cat want to avoid the area. Maybe the litter box has a strong plastic smell to it. Perhaps the litter does not feel good on the paws or has an odor kitty dislikes. You may need to make several small changes before your kitten will accept the litter box.
Remember, never punish your cat for accidents. Be consistent about moving the kitten to the litter box if you catch it in the middle of an accident. Try not to get angry or frustrated. Stress in the environment is the main cause of behavioral litter box issues. This means you may need to assess your kitten’s environment. Are there other pets in the home causing stress? Is your kitten acting anxious or restless? Perhaps it needs more exercise or vertical space.
If you continue to have trouble, talk to your veterinarian, who can rule out health issues that might be getting in the way of litter box training and offer training suggestions.
Where Is The Best Location To Place The Litter Boxes
Litter boxes should be placed in locations where the kitten is likely to be when it needs to use them.
With adult cats, the rule is to never place their litter box near their food dishes.
However, since kittens often need to use the litter box right after eating, this is the one time the above rule can be broken. The closer they are to a litter box, the less chance of an accident.
You also should have litter boxes near where the kittens sleep, as they often have to go upon waking from a nap.
And if the kittens have full run of the house, you will have to have several small litter boxes scattered about in all the rooms, because you dont want the kitten having to run too far to find a litter box.
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Choose The Right Placement
Equally important is the placement. Kittens tend to be drawn to corners or other areas away from their main home base, so start by placing the litter box in a corner that is clean from clutter. A puppy pad placed under the box will make clean-up easier, as they can be messy learners.
When litter training kittens, you want to make it extremely easy for them to find a litter box at all times. Kittens have a natural drive to cover their waste, and will look for the most convenient space to do so. This means you’ll want to keep them near a box throughout the duration of their transition, and avoid providing any messy areas such as piles of laundry where the kitten might develop bad habits. Ideally, a 3-8 week old kitten learning to use a box should be confined to one room so that they can easily find the litter box at all times. For older kittens acclimating to a larger space, it’s best to offer multiple options so that the kitten is always within 10 feet of a litter box.
Leave Waste In The Litter Box With Each Cleaning
After every scooping, make sure to leave a little waste in the litter box. The kitten can smell their pee or poop, helping them associate their bathroom needs with this area.
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How Do Cats Automatically Know How To Use A Litter Box
When you put a kitten into a litter box for the first time, its like something magical happens. Most of the time, the kitty will revel in this environment, picking up on what theyre supposed to do and how theyre supposed to cover it up immediately.
But where does the instinct come from? Is it built into every cat? What about bad bathroom habits, and how do you stop them? Lets learn a little more about your cats natural behaviors and how to channel unwanted ones.
Try New Litter New Boxes Or New Locations
If the current litter box isnât working, you might have to make some changes. The first thing you could do is move the litter box to a different location that will give them privacy but is not accessible. It should be in a place that is not near loud, noisy appliances or too much foot traffic.
Your cat might also dislike the litter texture , so you can try something different. There are many different types of options, including clumping litter, clay litter, and more. Cats tend to dig and bury their elimination, so the litter type is critical.
Sometimes, the box itself is why your cat is having a problem. If your cat is not defecating in the box, it could be because they feel the box is claustrophobic. Some cats have preferences for covered litter boxes, while others prefer the uncovered variety.
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Can Cats Be Toilet Trained
There are several cat toilet training kits on the market that gradually help cats learn to use a toilet instead of a litter box. Cat toilet training is possible, but pet parents should exercise caution and talk to their veterinarians before making this decision.
Toilet training a cat may be difficult for older, adult cats who are used to using a litter box, and cat parents should never force their cats to use the toilet if it causes stress or anxiety. Additionally, senior cats may have a difficult time jumping up to use the toilet.
Liff adds that toilet training a cat can be detrimental to monitoring your cats overall health, and she doesnt usually recommend it. It is important to be able to confirm that your pet is using the bathroom regularly and that the urine and fecal matter appear normal, she says.
Its hard for pet parents to monitor urination and defecation behaviors when their cats use the toilet.
Was Your Pet Food Recalled
Watch these adorable kitties quickly learn how to properly use a litter box for the first time:
3. Less Is More
except when it comes to litter boxes.
Once the kittens leave their enclosure, be sure to have more than 1 litter box around. If your house has more than 1 floor, have at least 1 litter box per floor. Place the boxes in quiet, private places.
And dont fill the boxes to the top a couple of inches of litter should more than do the trick.
4. Going Through the Motions
If you are the mom cat by default, this means placing the kitten in the litter box upon waking or after his meals.
You then gently take his paw in your hand and show him how to properly hide the evidence.
The kitten should get the idea from doing this, according to Cats of Australia. If this doesnt work, scratch at the litter with your fingers. Try to make it look like a fun game so you attract his interest.
5. A Little Help From the Doctor
or from Dr. Elseys Precious Cat Ultra Litter Attractant, to be exact. A little goes a long way, and it draws the kittens to the litter box like a magnet.
In a few weeks, my kitten friends will go to their forever homes. They are healthy, well socialized and utter charmers.
And theyve got that litter-box thing down pat.
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Litter Training Older Cats
Typically, older cats will already be old hats at using a litter box by the time they come to live with you, but you may run into a litter box training challenge if the cat in question was formerly an outdoor cat. Even then, cats have all the instincts to help them learn quickly what a litter box is for. Getting them used to the litter may be the biggest challenge. In such cases, Vetstreet suggests filling the box with outdoor soil, to begin with. As your cat gets used to going in the box, gradually replace more and more of the soil with cat litter to give them a chance to become familiar with the new surface.
Be Patient With Your Kitten
Learning to use the litter box is an adjustment. Although kittens do start to dig in litter naturally, there may still be accidents. Dont punish or yell at the kitten for these accidents are only natural. Yelling could frighten your kitten, making litter training take even longer.
Keep in mind: Cats dont associate punishment with the incident that theyre being punished for, so it wont help them learn and will in fact only make them more nervous and stressed.
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Feline Leukemia And Feline Immunodeficiency
FeLV and FIV are retroviruses cats get from other cats . In the early stages, infected cats appear healthy but over months to years, they develop severe, ultimately fatal disease. The blood test for FeLV can be performed at any time and will be helpful for deciding which kittens should be fostered or if kittens need to be isolated. On the other hand, testing for FIV is more difficult until a kitten is four months old, although tests run at 6-8 weeks provide useful preliminary information.
S To Help Your Cat Transition To Litter
Adult cats may need a little retraining when it comes to acclimating to the Litter-Robot. Most cats make the transition from traditional litter box to self-cleaning litter box just fine! However, youll want to follow the tips below to make this transition as smooth as possible:
- Place the Litter-Robot in the same location as the current litter box, set it up , and make sure it is turned off. Give your cats a day or two to explore the Litter-Robot.
- Add a scoop of litter from the old litter box to the Litter-Robot to provide a familiar scent for your cat.
- Place treats on the step or around the Litter-Robot so your cat associates rewards with the unit.
- Once you notice that your cats have used the Litter-Robot, power the unit on to cycle the unit. Encourage your cats to be present, so they can observe the motion and become familiar with the sound of the Litter-Robot while you are there to reassure them. Turn the unit off again once the cycle is complete.
- We recommend that you no longer clean the old litter box once your cats have used the Litter-Robot.
- If your cats are not using the Litter-Robot within a few days, continue using the old brand of litter in the old litter box, and let it go as long as possible without cleaning it. Cats prefer a clean litter box and a dirty litter box might persuade them to use the clean Litter-Robot.
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