Kitten, Use That Litterbox!

CatChannel and CAT FANCY cat behaviorist Marilyn Krieger, CCBC, discusses how to encourage good litterbox habits in a young kitten.

By Marilyn Krieger, CCBC

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Q: I adopted a stray kitten who is between 2 and 4 months old. I am trying my hardest to get her to use the litterbox. She won't go in it at all, just near it. What should I do? Please help because I don't want to get rid of her.

A: Based on the locations of the accidents, your kitten is making an effort to use the litterbox. Because your young cat chooses to go to the bathroom near the box instead of in it, there is probably a challenge with the box itself, its location, the litter and/or cleanliness.

Help your new kitten develop good litterbox habits through litterbox modifications and a couple of environmental changes. Start by confining the kitten in a comfortable room with no other resident animals. In addition to litterboxes, provide her food, water, toys and a comfortable place to sleep. Make sure that you spend lots of time interacting and playing with her.

Instead of commercial litterboxes, use shallow baking pans or boxes. Place three to four of them in different locations in her room and pour about one to two inches of litter in them. Because kittens often eat litter, use cat litter that does not clump. Good locations for litterboxes are areas where the kitten has a good view of the room. Avoid using enclosed litterboxes and putting litterboxes in closets and cabinets where they are both hard to access and she can feel trapped.

It is normal for kittens to have accidents. Loud vocalizations and punishment can result in the kitten becoming afraid of the litterbox. Instead, pick up the feces, place it in the box and clean the area with a good enzyme cleaner.

Excellent litterbox maintenance will also encourage your kitten to use the litterbox consistently. Scoop the cat boxes at least once a day. Dump the litter frequently and refill with fresh, non-clumping, unscented litter.
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Kitten, Use That Litterbox!

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Reader Comments

Galadriel    Lothlorien, ME

1/30/2012 7:38:58 PM

Bad kitty.

Anon    City, CA

1/30/2012 5:33:13 PM


Teresa    Tulsa, OK

1/30/2012 12:09:00 PM

My cat sleeps in her litter box.

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