New kitten using litterbox (3 replies)
Hello! I just got a new kitten about a week ago. I got her off of Craigslist and I'm SO glad I did because she was covered in fleas and didn't seem like she came from a great home. Anyways, she is about 9 or 10 weeks old and she is having some trouble with the litter box. She will go to the bathroom directly next to it or around it but not in it. When I am home I try to catch her and put her in it when I see her scratching the floor, but when I'm at work sometimes it's too late. I looked online and they suggested maybe a covered box? Ive also cleaned the carpeting to try to get rid of her scent so she tries to use the litter box. I'm going on vacation in 2 weeks and I have someone coming to watch her and I don't want her going to the bathroom all over the house so if anyone has any tips or suggestions I would appreciate it!! Thank you much.
Hi! That's a little unusual from my experience -- 50 years and counting I've never had to train a cat or kitten to use a litter box. It's seems to be part of their DNA. Cat colonies, for example, usually have a "latrine" area, and that practice seems to translate to a litter box for cats brought inside (whether rescues, or purchases). My sister however, did have such a problem with one of her cats years ago, and I have had a cat who "demanded" a constantly clean litter box,or he simply wouldn't use it, just stand next to it and yell until I hopped to attention, cleaned it so he could mess it up again.
Based one those experience, my guess is she doesn't like the smell. Keep the box as clean as possible and (1) try a natural litter such as the pine nuggets. They're messy, (lots of tracking because they quickly break down) but work beautifully; absolutely no smell. (2) Try newspaper, rather than litter (which is what my sister did and used for her cat) and toss it immediately after the cat uses the box, and put in fresh. Difficult to do when you work, or when you're sleeping, but give it your best shot. It's also risky in my opinion because I would be concerned how does the cat know it's okay to use that newspaper, but not the Sunday newspaper you have sitting on your table or couch.
As far as covered litter boxes? No. I have used them; they are certainly much more esthetic looking than uncovered ones. However they hold the smell inside them -- it has a cover after all. I don't care if they have charcoal filters (which they do) one or five of them. The smell inside that box is quickly overwhelming to you when you take the cover off to clean, so imagine what it smells like to the poor little cat inside just trying to do their business.
Sorry. I just thought of something. Put the kitten food and water next to the litter box. She should/will quickly figure out which one is which. I did this for the 3 baby kittens I rescued from our yard five years ago (it's how I discovered community cats have an actual latrine area), Not because I was concerned the kittens would make a mess, but because they were so small I did want them to have to "travel" to find their food or box.
I also applied this same practice 2 years ago when I rescued 2 surviving baby kittens from our yard 2 years ago, one of who was seriously injured. I set out our dog's crate, put in food, water, and a litter box. As soon as the mother came around with the 2 kittens, and ventured inside I shut the door. The kittens, including the mother -- who is the local community mother cat for the past 7 years, ate, drank, and used the box.
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