Mastering the litter tray
Most kittens are very easy to litter train and may already have learned by watching their mother by the time you get them home. However, there are a few simple tips which will ensure your new kitten is using their litter tray in no time.
- Show the kitten where the tray is by placing them in it and letting them have a sniff and a scratch around.
- Put your kitten in the tray regularly, particularly after meals or when they wake up.
- Make sure the tray is kept clean at all times. Cats are very clean animals and may refuse to use their tray if it is dirty.
- Put the tray in a quiet spot in the house. Much like humans, cats don't like being watched or disturbed when they're doing their 'business'.
- Never punish your kitten if they have an accident outside the tray. Supervise them closely at all times and praise them while they're in the tray. The kitten will soon associate their litter tray with praise and will want to go in there.
- Choose a tray that is easy for your kitten to use. If necessary, improvise for the first few weeks with a shallow, disposable container.
- Supply at least one tray for every cat in your household. Place each one in a quiet, low-traffic corner with easy access.
- Keep the litter tray away from your cat's food, no one likes eating near the toilet!
- Choose a tray that is deep enough to keep cats from scattering litter when they dig, and large enough so they can make a complete turn.
- You can use an open tray, but for cats who want more privacy you could choose a hooded tray.
- If your cat has come to you from another home, find out what litter they used there. Some cats refuse to use a litter type they don't like.
- Never leave your cat indoors without a litter tray. If your cat holds their urine in for long periods of time bladder problems can occur.
- House soiling in a normally house-trained cat can be due to physical or behavioural problems, so it is important to find out the cause in order to treat the problem effectively.