Litterbox Etiquettetress in Cats

Litter Box Etiquette

Kittens aged 0-4 weeks need some help going to the bathroom – check out our Caring for Neonatal Kittens guide.

When your kitten reaches 3-4 weeks of age, you may start to introduce the litter box. A shallow tray should be provided to give them easy access, and a kitten-safe litter sand should be used, for example, a pellet based natural litter. Scented and clumping litter should be avoided, as kittens can ingest it which is harmful.

Placing a soiled tissue in the box will teach kittens that this is where to pee and poo, and positive encouragement will instill this idea!

Cats and kittens are naturally drawn to cover their pee and poo, so “training” is usually not required.

If a kitten goes outside of the litter box, do not punish them. Instead, clean the area thoroughly to avoid smell association. If your kitten continues to go in the same place outside of the tray, place a litter tray in the same spot.

Litter boxes should be always nearby and easily accessible. With any cat or kitten, box placement is important! Cats are drawn to quiet areas, tucked away in a corner and away from their main resources (you wouldn’t want to eat or sleep next to the toilet, and neither do your cats!). Avoid placing the litter box in cluttered areas where cats may learn bad habits… for example, next to piles of laundry.

Cats are clean animals and do not like to use dirty trays. Make sure to clean their tray AT LEAST once a day, but preferably more. Trays should be thoroughly emptied and disinfected 1-2 times a week, depending on the number of cats using the tray.

With multi-cat households, multiple litter boxes should be provided – check out our guide to Managing Multi-cat Households.

If you notice your cat peeing and pooing outside of the tray, it could be caused by a medical issue, for example, a UTI. You should contact your vet who will be able to advise.


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