Many kittens are actually litter-trained by the time you take them home, but if they are very young, or have not been litter trained then it’s pretty easy to show them the ropes. Look out for the signs that they may ‘need to go’ and gently place them in the tray at these times, or after they eat, as soon as they wake up from a nap, if you see them scratching or sniffing. Cats instinctively know how to go toilet, and hide their waste in the wild, so what you are doing is trying to replicate that environment – if you do it successfully they will pick the rest up!
So with that in mind, you will need to consider the type of tray you purchase. When your kitten is very small you may opt for using a low-sided one (giving them easy access in and out, you wouldn’t want it to be so high that they can’t get into it!) but as they grow then you’ll need to get a much larger tray so they can stand up and turn around in it with ease. My guy is a big 5+kg cat and he likes a lot of space when doing his thing! You may also want to consider mess so a deeper tray may work for you or a covered one (not all cats like being enclosed though so start with a cheap one before making a more expensive purchase). The rule of thumb is to have one tray per cat, plus one extra in your house. Don’t think you have space for two trays? Check out some great litter tray location hacks on the Ikea Hacks website. Cats don’t like to do their business in the middle of a busy household, and with stress being an important player in cats who eliminate outside the litter box, I would suggest placing your litter tray somewhere quiet, where the cat can pee and poo without being disturbed.
5 Easy Steps to Litter Tray Training
- Buy the right size tray
- Experiment with litter
- Position the tray in a quiet location
- Scoop frequently
- Be patient
If your cat bulks at using the tray don’t give up. Some cats are just plain fussy and might not fancy the type of litter you bought! Some cats like fine, soft litter while others like a clumpier sort (I swear by Cats Best Oko Plus, available in pet stores or online). You may just need to play around with the type of litter your cat prefers best. Also remember, cats are naturally really clean creatures so they are unlikely to use the litter tray if it is full of pee or poo. So if you use a clumping litter you will be able to scoop frequently, thus keeping the tray nice and clean – perfect for your kitty.
Finally, don’t feel fed up if they make mistakes in the early days, my guy made quite a few mistakes in the early days (or did we?) but he got it in the end. Best of luck.