From Clawful to Purrfect: How to Potty Train a Kitten
The cat vs. dog debate will rage on for as long as the earth spins on its axis. Who makes the better companion? Cats do, of course! They require very little “maintenance” while providing truckloads of loving purrs and snuggles.
Best of all, on those cold and rainy mornings, you don’t have to slip into your Wellingtons and traipse out the door to walk them. Their litter box is their own personal sanctuary. So, as you start to wonder how to potty train a kitten, fear not! It’s one of the easiest tasks in the world.
WHY LITTER BOXES?
Where did it all begin? Why do dogs (typically) need to be walked outside while our feline friends can just help themselves to a litter box before resuming their household activities?
It all comes down to science. Cats in the wild will naturally bury their waste to cover its scent from their predators. So, even in the great indoors, kittens will instinctively look for a granular place to hide their droppings.
This makes litter box training easy as pie. In a home filled with carpeting or hardwood floors, it won’t be difficult for your new fur baby to sniff out the cat litter and make its way to the box.
STEP ONE: CHOOSE THE RIGHT LITTER BOX
Newbies tend to select litter boxes that are just too small for their kitties. You want to think long-term. They’re only going to fit in the palm of your hand for a little while.
The rule of thumb is to select a box that’s about one and a half times its length. This leaves them plenty of room to step in and out without “stepping in it” before choosing the right spot.
As for the enclosure, that’s up to you. A lot of folks like to have a fully enclosed litter box to prevent any unwanted odors. Some cats prefer a private space; others don’t.
If you have the finances, you might lay out two litter boxes – one with an enclosure and one without. See which litter box your new baby gravitates toward.
STEP TWO: LOAD UP THE LITTER
It seems like cat litter options increase by the week. And that’s okay! New and wonderful products keep coming out and our kitties keep benefiting from it. But, here’s the truth of the matter: the kind of litter doesn’t matter as much as the cleanliness of the litter.
Cats are easier than dogs because they don’t have to be walked every day. However, that doesn’t mean we don’t have to pick up after them every day. Cat owners need to scoop out their litter box at least once a day.
After that, the choice is yours. Cats tend to enjoy a fine-grain litter because it’s softer on their cute little paws. But, sort of like the enclosure vs. non-enclosure debate, you might give your kitty a couple of options.
There are scented brands and unscented brands. There are clumping formulas and non-clumping formulas. Personally, we love a little scent (to keep things feeling clean) and litter that clumps because it makes scooping out a breeze.
STEP THREE: CHOOSE THE RIGHT SPOT
You’re going to be amazed the first time you see your baby kitten walk right over to the littler box and take care of business. But, again, it’s instinctual and something they won’t scratch their head over for too long.
If you have a two-story home, try to place a litter box on each level. When they’re downstairs, they’ll know where to go. If they follow you upstairs to the office or the bedroom, then they’ll also have a soft place to land.
Choose a discreet, private place for both of your levels. The only thing that matters with placement is that you provide your little guy with a little bit of light. If you can’t place their box in a well-lit spot, try to plug in a bright nightlight for their convenience.
STEP FOUR: LET THE MAGIC HAPPEN
Once you’ve set yourself up properly for litter box training, Mother Nature will take care of the rest. If your kitty was properly weaned off his or her mother, then he or she will already be mimicking their mother’s bathroom habits. They’ll be on the prowl for that littler box, so make it nice and easy for them to find.
If you rescued a scared baby from the wild, it may take a tiny bit more coaxing but, again, those natural instincts have taught them to take care of business in a granular place where they can bury things.
You might place a tiny slab of rubber or carpeting on the outside of the litter box to save yourself a bit of cleanup. As they step in and out, it’s possible they’ll track a little litter behind them and you’ll want to sweep that up without any trouble.
It wouldn’t hurt a thing to walk your new addition to the litter box and show them where it is (although it may not even be necessary). The same can be said for their food and water bowls. Give them the two-penny tour of the house when they arrive and you’ll be amazed at how they take things from there.
HOW TO POTTY TRAIN A KITTEN IN FOUR EASY STEPS
And that’s how to potty train a kitten! It’s one of the easiest chores you’ll ever have to do as a pet parent. Just remember to keep it clean. Whether you scoop out the litter box in the morning or the evening (or both), make it an immediate part of your routine.
They’ll thank you for it and you’ll be thankful your house never took on the odor of cat pee. When you sit down to watch your favorite Netflix show in the evening or curl up with a good book, you’ll love having a new cuddle buddy by your side.
As everyone acclimates to a comfortable life at home, we hope you’ll keep coming over to visit us here at My Cat Training. Cats are so capable of learning things beyond sleeping, eating, and eliminating. Together, we can help you teach them new tricks while they leave a memorable mark on your heart.
And who knows. They may provide a whole lot more inspiration than you bargained for. Did you know our cat inspired us to write a children’s book? Who knows what your feline friend will contribute to your life, too!