Four kittens being house trained
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3 tips to house train your kitten

By Emilie Heyl Content Writer

Updated on the

If kittens are house trained by their mother in the first weeks of life, when they get to their new family, usually, the little ball of fluff is allowed to roam around the house, rather than being tied to their litter tray. But if this is so, then how do you teach your cat to use a litter tray in the first place?

Teaching your cat how to use a litter tray is therefore often one of the first things we need to do. But rest assured, you just need a little patience to housetrain your cat and get them used to the litter tray.

How to house train a kitten? 

Training your kitten to use his litter box is a very important step in his education. Here are a few tips on  how to litter train your kitten:  

Tip #1: Choose the right tray and litter

To start, it is important to choose the right tray and type of litter. 

Some cats refuse to go when the tray is not deep enough, because they don’t feel safe.
A cat litter “house” is a good solution to this as it is more comfortable and a private place for your cat. It is also more hygienic and prevents litter from being spread around the room.

Mineral, clumping or plant? For the litter itself, it’s not always an obvious choice. You may have to test several before finding the one that suits your cat. Sometimes tomcats refuse to go at all if they don’t like the chosen litter. They will always have the last word!

Tip #2: Where to put the litter box in your house or apartment?

Cats need peace and they are very clean animals. Their litter tray should don’t be put somewhere where there is a lot of coming-and-going, not close to where they sleep and eat. 
If you have more than one cat, you will need several litter trays, all placed in different spots around the house.

Tip #3: Be patient

One the type of litter tray is chosen and in place, it is time to for the learning to begin!
Once being put down in the tray your kitten may know instantly what it’s for. If not, take their front paws to mimic a scratching movement.
Remember to put your cat in their tray on a regular basis, especially after meals.

My cat doesn’t go to the toilet in the litter tray, should I punish them?

If you weren’t there to witness it and your cat is off elsewhere in the house, there is no point finding them to punish as they will not understand what is going on.

If you catch them in the act, take the cat and drop them in the litter tray. Otherwise simply move the droppings into the litter box so that they understand that this is where they have to go.

A kitten who sniffs the floor and is looking around to be private, they are probably about to go to the toilet. This would be time to take them to their litter box.

Pheromones to help your cat

If after several days your cat still continues to ignore the litter tray, know that there are products out there that spread artificial pheromones to dissuade cats from marking their territory in the house.

When cleaning up your cat's accidents, never use bleach or ammonia, as the smell encourages cats to urinate. Vinegar of alcohol is preferable.

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