How to Litter Train a Kitten: Litter Training a Cat

Hi. I’m Caitlin Lewis, community outreach
manager for the Humane Society of Greater Dayton. Today, we’re going to learn how to
train, or retrain, your cat to use the litter box. Contrary to popular belief, mother cats
do not teach their kittens to use the litter box. Kittens begin to dig in and use dirt and
dry loose material at just a few weeks old without ever having observed
their mothers doing so. This natural instinct is used
in training kittens to use the litter box. Until your cat is reliably house
trained, she should not have free run of your home. When you leave the house for any length
of time, your cat should be confined to a single room, preferably
one with non-porous floors, such as the kitchen, bathroom, utility
room, basement, or garage. Provide your cat with a bowl of water
and a warm place to sleep at one end of the room and a freshly clean
litter box at the other end. Until the house soiling has been cured,
your cat should have a regular feeding schedule so she will develop a
corresponding litter box schedule. In order to reward your cat for using
her litter box, you must be there at the time she uses it. Most cats, especially kittens, will need
to go shortly after waking, after eating, and after exercise. To help predict when your cat will
go, feed her at regular times. If the input is on a regular schedule,
the output will follow likewise. Call her to the litter box from a
variety of places around your house, especially areas where she has soiled. When your cat gets to the box, scratch
the litter to get her interested. Similarly, throughout the day, whenever
your cat has been asleep for over two hours, wake her up and
call her to the litter box. Encourage your cat to hop into
the litter box and praise her when she does so. Even if she does not go, she’s learning
that the litter box is a great, clean place to be. If your cat does use it, then praise
her in a gentle voice. Once she is finished, gently stroke
her, give her a treat, and let her know how pleased you are
with her behavior. If mistakes occur, pick up the cat
and set her down in the box. Do not discipline just before
placing the cat in the box. The cat will associate any reprimand
with being placed in the litter box and will assume the litter box
is the wrong place to go. Punishing a cat after the fact teaches
her to be afraid of you. Never rub your cat’s nose in a mess or
bring her over to it for a reprimand. She will have no idea why she’s being
reprimand, but she may be inclined to eliminate in hidden spots, such
as behind the sofa, to avoid another reprimand. Basically, punishment doesn’t
work with cats. Prevention and praise for getting it
right are the keys to training. Clean any accidents immediately with
half and half solution of white vinegar and water. This will help to eliminate the odor
and hopefully prevent kitty from returning to that spot. Consider covering the area
with a plastic sheet. This will make it unpleasant for your
kitty and discourage her from going there again. When your cat is still learning to use
the box, leave a tiny bit of urine or feces behind in the box. The scent will remind her
what the box is for. As soon as she is using the box
reliably, and this could be as quickly as a day or two, remove all liquid
and solid waste regularly. Scoop out solid material once or twice
a day and stir the litter to keep the surface dry. If your cat is having trouble using or
finding the litter box, move it to an area where she can start
seeing it all the time. When she stops playing and starts
sniffing or scratching at the floor, gently place her in the litter box. If your cat or kitten suddenly stops
using the litter box for no obvious reasons, then take your cat to the
veterinarian as soon as possible. Once your cat gets into the hang of
finding the litter box and using it, they should have this skill for life. Now let’s recap. Provide your cat with a clean litter
box that’s easy to access. Get her interested in the litter
box by scratching the litter. Reward your cat for using her litter
box immediately after she uses it. And remember, prevention and praise
are the keys to training. Punishment does not work with cats. On behalf of Iams, I’m Caitlin
Lewis for Howdini. For more information and offers,
check out the website. If you liked this video, please
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for teaching your cat to use the litter box? Be sure and let us know in the
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