Kittens are very fussy about their toilet behavior and will usually have learnt to use a litter tray by copying their mother. You may just need to illustrate your new kitten where the litter tray is and place it on the tray on waking up from a sleep and after meals, or when the kitten is sniffing, scratching or start to crouch and looks as if it is about to go.
You will need a plastic litter tray that can be filled with sand, peat or cat litter available from pet shops. Earth from the garden should never be used for unvaccinated baby cats as it may trigger diseases from other cats which have used it as a toilet. The tray should be placed on paper to catch any litter pushed over the side during digging – a large tray will prevent such problems. If you intend to let your kitten out to use the garden in the future then a effortless open tray will suffice for the few weeks involved. If you intend the cat to continue to use the tray then you may want to purchase one of the covered types with a lid which gives the cat more privacy, stops smells from escaping and prevents mess with the litter.
Position the tray in a quiet accessible area where your kittens will not be bothered. Make sure that the litter tray is not next to food and water bowls. The kitten may be hesitant to use the litter tray if it is too close to its food.
The litter tray must be kept clean and emptied regularly. Some disinfectants which go cloudy in water are toxic to kittens, so use only hot water and detergent when cleaning out the tray or ensure you use a cat-friendly sanitizer such as bleach which has been diluted as the manufacturer recommends and the tray rinsed thoroughly before use.
If your kitten is inclined to clutter elsewhere in the house, confine it to one space with a litter tray until the kitten gain knowledge to use it regularly. Place the kitten on the litter tray a short time after it has eaten or when it is sniffing, scratching, beginning to crouch and generally showing signs of looking for a right corner to use as a toilet.
If the kitten is reluctant to use the tray it could be because:
- It is not clean enough – check it one more time and clean it out with a chemical that doesn’t have a strong smell
- It is not big enough – it should be big enough for an adult cat to turn around in and to use more than once without getting dirty
- The kitten does not like the texture of the litter you have chosen – revert to the style it has used before.
When your kitten leaves to go outside more often, gradually push the litter tray towards the door. A few handfuls of cat litter from the tray expand onto well dug soil in the garden will encourage the kitten to dig there. Do not remove the litter tray from inside until your cats has started using the garden.