Whilst cats are very fussy about going to the toilet the good news is they generally learn quickly how to use a litter tray as long as it is clean and placed in the correct location. For new kitten owners, your pet may have already observed his/ her mother using a litter tray. If this is the case, the kitten is likely to be well on their way to copying her behaviour. All you need to do is show your new kitten where the tray is kept and encourage your kitten to go to the tray at the right time.
The best time to encourage your kitten to visit the tray is immediately after waking, within 30 minutes of eating a meal and when they are sniffing around or crouching like they are about to go. If he/ she is reluctant to go at these times, you can encourage your kitten by placing him/ her gently into the litter tray. Once finished, make sure you praise or reward your kitten.
If your kitten is reluctant to use a litter tray, here's a few pointers to try:-
- Place the tray in a quiet corner, away from doorways and noise
- Never place the tray next to your cat's food and water
- The tray must be cleaned daily, most cats are fastidious about cleanliness and will not take kindly to a dirty litter tray
- Make sure the tray is the right size for your cat, if it is too big your kitten won't be able to get in. Similarly for adult cats, the tray should be big enough that they can turn around whilst in the tray.
- Use cat litter - don't use sand from the garden as it could be seen by your cat as dirty
- Try different types of kitty litters eg. crystals/ recycled/ clay based. You can even use multiple trays with a different litter type in each to determine which litter your kitten prefers.
- If you have more than one kitten you will require a tray for each cat plus an extra tray (e.g 2 cats - provide 3 trays).
- Schedule feeding times at the same time each day so you can predict your cat's toilet time
Encouraging your cat to go outdoors
If you want your kitten to go outdoors, gradually move the litter tray closer to the cat door making sure it is a quiet place. You can also sprinkle some of the cat litter in a toilet spot in the garden, choosing a spot you feel comfortable for your cat to use.
Can cats be trained to use a human toilet?
There are training products available to help your feline friend learn how to use a normal flushing toilet. The most popular product on the market is Litter Kwitter. This is a three step training system which fits on any toilet system and will encourage your pet to gradually transition from a litter tray to a normal toilet seat. For more information go to litterkwitter.com