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With more than 60 hours of research and personal interviews with cat lovers, we are bringing you insights on why your kitten won’t use litter box and what steps you can take to avoid the same.
If you have puppies, you need to get more worried about their behavior when it comes to pooping or peeing. Kittens have natural instinct to understand how to use the litter box and if the right environment is provided with the right conditions, just encouragement is needed for your kitten to use the litter box in the right way. Your job becomes easier with kittens rather than puppies. However, if your kitten is newborn and less than 3 weeks old, you might need to manually stimulate your kitten with soft tissues for it to eliminate. After 3 weeks old, you can introduce your kitty to its litter box.
If your kitten is not using your litter box, there could be 7 major reasons which you need to check and be aware of to sort the issue. They are:
Wrong Litter box
Check if your litter box is of the right size for your kitten. It shouldn’t too small and too high. Your kitten must easily walk through it. Using a closed litter box is also not recommended usually.
Your kitten might have grown a preference towards a specific brand and texture. So, you might have to use the one which your kitten likes.
Unclean litter or litter box
Kitten doesn’t like using a litter box which is unclean and has a foul odor. If clumps of litter, urine, or poop are not cleaned, the kitten won’t use them till it is cleaned.
Wrong Location of Litter Box
The location of the litter box is very important and decides its usage. It shouldn’t be far off and at the same time shouldn’t be in crowded or noisy places. If there are multiple cats, multiple litter boxes are required.
You might want to check if your kitten is stressed. Litter box location in an unfavorable environment will make your kitty recollect bad experiences relating to the environment which might increase its stress. If kitty is stressed, it might not eliminate
Conflict with other cats
Look out for senior cats in your home. Your senior cat might be bullying your kitten and it must be prevented at any cost.
You might not know but your vet can tell you if your kitten is suffering from any form of a medical issue. Problems such as urinary tract infection, thyroid disease, diabetes might make your kitten unable to urinate or defecate. Bloodwork and urinalysis might help you to understand the real underlying medical issue.
Steps To Follow To Prevent Above Problems
To avoid above issues, the following steps need to be followed on regular basis:
Clean Litter Box Regularly
Cleaning of litter box can’t be stressed enough. Scoop and clean it multiple times whenever you find your kitty using it to eliminate. Also, deep clean occasionally. Check this article on how to clean a cat litter box to know more about details on litter box cleaning.
Check If Litter Box Or Litter Needs To Be Replaced
Ideally, when your kitten is 3 weeks old, use a cardboard tray as a litter box that is shorter in height so that the kitten can easily enter and exit. When your kitten reaches 6 or 7 weeks of age, use the plastic litter box. Ensure your litter box is open and big enough for your kitten to stay.
You need to be very careful while introducing litter to your young kitten. Since kitten wants to taste all items, it is better to avoid clumping litter. Use paper-based litter or corn or wheat-based litter till it is a few months old. Use clumping litter only when a kitten is more than 4 months old. Ideally, in this period, the kitten would have minimized eating bits of litter and its digestive system will be able to manage ingestion of foreign particles. Use fine-grained, soft, and unscented litter for your kitten. If you have feral kittens, you can add a couple of leaves to the litter so that the kittens love to use the litter box.
Identify Right Location for Litter Box
Place the litter box in the room where your kitten stays. Keep it in a corner and avoid the middle of the room. Ensure your kitten’s food or water is away from the litter box. Kitten doesn’t like to associate food with litter box similar to humans.
Use The Right Number of Litter Boxes
Always have one litter box extra than the number of cats you have. For example, if you have 4 cats, have five litter boxes. This ensures that every cat has its own litter box and it doesn’t need to end messy for the other cat.
Train Them To Use Litter Box
When kittens are brought home, introduce them gently to the litter box. Place them gently into the litter box after a nap or meal. Lure them with toys to the litter box. Use a scoop or hand to dig the litter and instill the habit of digging. Once, kitten starts to feel the need to dig in the litter box, then its instinct to use the box follows automatically.
Avoid Stressful Sources
If you have multiple cats, ensure the kitten feels safe and protected. Also, avoid placing the litter box in locations that might increase stress in kittens.
Use Positive Associations
Punishments don’t work on kittens. They might react in a bad manner. Always use positive associations. If your kitten uses the litter box, give them a treat as an incentive. If your kitten uses a spot often, place the litter box in the same spot. Use multiple litter boxes if your area is huge so that kitten’s negative habits reduce and they might feel more to use the litter box because of its proximity.
While the above steps can eliminate most of the issues, it definitely helps if your kitten pays a visit to the vet. It is always better to confirm that your pet doesn’t have any medical issues. Your vet can also suggest more practices to help your kitten use the litter box.
If you want to know more about cat’s behaviour towards litter box, check this article on why cat won’t use litter box.