If you're introducing a new kitten or cat to your household, one of the first things you'll want to teach them is where to find the litter tray.
In this article, we’ve got tips for training your kitten to use the litter tray, what type of litter to use and how to keep your home free from unpleasant odours.
Types Of Litterboxes
As a rule of thumb, make one litterbox available for each cat.
Litterboxes come in a variety of shapes and sizes, some being open and others enclosed. It’s often a matter of personal preference however the more easily accessible your litterbox is, the more likely your cat is to use it.
When choosing a litterbox for your cat, ensure that you have the correct size. Your cat needs to fit comfortably within the box or tray with room to move, and they should be able to turn around and dig without having to step outside the tray.
High sides on the litterbox will help to contain the contents if your cat is a ‘kicker’, however the sides will need to be lower if you have kittens or cats with arthritis. Some litterboxes have high sides with a lower entry at the front.
Place the litterbox or tray in a quiet position out of the way of foot traffic, noise and dogs. You want your cat to feel safe and secure so that they see the litter tray as their first port of call.
Remember to make sure that the litterbox is accessible for you too, so that you can easily retrieve it for cleaning.
Kitty Litter Choices
There are many varieties of cat litter available in your average supermarket. Choosing the right one for your cat can be mind-boggling.
Here are some important things to consider:
- Clumping vs. Non-Clumping
Clumping litter absorbs moisture more quickly. (The tray will still need regular cleaning.)
Clumping varieties include clay which is fast-absorbing and economical.
Silica Crystals are long-lasting, light-weight, non-toxic and highly absorbent.
- Disposal And Environmental impact
Pine litter uses sustainable sources such as wood shavings, is biodegradable and is good for odour control.
Paper is made from recycled paper, is chemical-free and suitable for composting.
It may seem like a small concern, however if you have a bad back you don’t want to be lifting heavy bags of cat litter in and out of the car.
Buying bigger bags is more economical, but choosing a lighter material such as wood or paper can make shopping a breeze.
You may need to show the litterbox to your cat several times. If they are indicating they want to go outside to the toilet (vocalising or scratching at the door), pick them up and take them back to the tray.
Kittens should be placed in the tray straight after eating or napping, or if you see them crouching or digging in the wrong place.
Reward your cat with a treat or a pat whenever you see them using the box or tray. Never punish them or tell them off for toileting in the wrong place. This will only cause anxiety and make training more difficult.
When changing to a new litter type, it is important that you transition your cat slowly. A great way to get started is to mix the new litter with the old litter, gradually adding more of the new litter each time you clean the tray. Do this until your cat is more comfortable using the new type.
Keeping Your House Odour-free
How often you change the litter depends on how often it is being used. This will be more frequently for indoor cats and less often for outdoor cats. As a general rule, scoop out waste 1-2 times per day. Completely empty the tray and scrub it clean 1-2 times per week. Litter tray liners can make this task easier and prevent lingering odours.
There are various air fresheners and purifiers available on the market which are natural and non-toxic for your cat. They are also fragrance-free and won’t irritate your cat or overpower them with the smell.
Lastly, place a few sheets of newspaper underneath the litterbox to catch spills, open a window to let the fresh air in, and you’ll find that your house stays fresh and odour-free all day long!