Unless you’ve rescued an orphaned kitten who is still in the bottle-feeding stage, chances are you won’t have to teach the furry little one how to eliminate but you will have to create a litter box set-up that’s conveniently located and easy to get in and out of. You will also have to provide guidance and help your kitten with timing. Some kittens get the hang of the litter box right away and others need more hand (paw) holding. Just don’t assume kittens come pre-programmed to know where all the pee and poop belong. They need your help!
A Box Fit for a Kitten
As the kitten grows, she’ll appreciate having a big box with lots of room, but for now, the litter box set-up needs to be kitten-friendly. The box should be easy for a young kitten to get in and out of. A high-sided box will be too difficult for a youngster to crawl over, especially with a full bladder. Keep in mind a kitten won’t have the bladder control of an adult cat so when she has to “go” it’s usually urgent.
Choose a low-sided box. This will not only help in terms of being able to get into it, but also, if the kitten can see the litter, it may serve as an added reminder. Seeing the soft substrate may remind her that this is the place to dig, eliminate and cover her waste.
As the kitten gets older you can then place a larger box next to the smaller one to start a gradual transition. You can even place the smaller litter box inside the larger box to get her used to the new set-up.
The Litter Choice
There are many types of litter on the market but in general, the best choice for a kitten is one of the soft, scoopable types. A texture that resembles sand on the kitten’s paw pads will be much more comfortable and will make it easier for her to dig and cover. It’s also more comfortable for her when she’s perched in elimination position. Standing on traditional clay litter that has some sharper edges or hard crystal-type litter may not be as comfortable for a kitten who is just learning the ropes when it comes to bathroom etiquette.
To Clean or not to Clean
With an adult cat you would hear me telling you over and over again to keep the litter box conditions absolutely pristine. With a kitten though, it’s a good idea to leave a little (notice, I said “a little”) of her liquid or solid waste in there. This will help serve as an added reminder of where the pee and poop go.