Kittens – Litter Training 9 – a few new tricks16 July, 2007
(a continuation of the Litter Training saga with the new 2007 Litter!)
Up until last week the kittens still weren’t getting the hang of what the litter trays were for.
I had trays scattered about the living room, but I must admit I think my mother cat isn’t very good at training them on how to use them. She’d use the trays in front of them, but the kittens still persisted in leaving puddles. Plus, mum cat and Teddy were overzealous in doing botty duty and the kittens were still having their bums suctioned clean at the age of 5 weeks.
It’s my fault. From advice given by other breeders, what I should have done is pen them with a litter tray until they learnt to use it, because at the end of the day, cats are clean creatures and don’t like being dirty.
Instead I let them run round the living room.
Despite my errors, I have some good news to report – the kittens are getting the hang of the trays, thanks to a few tricks.
(1) Don’t clean the litter trays too often – this leaves the scent of urine in them and attracts the kittens to them.
(2) The first few times kittens pee, they crouch and cry out with a loud mew, almost as though they’re in pain. When you hear that cry, pick them up and put them in the nearest litter tray. It may not pee then, but there will be that occasion when you get lucky and the kitten will give you a look of gratitude. Of course this means that you will have to watch the kittens like a hawk to catch it at that moment.
(3) When the kitten is in the litter tray, encourage it to pee by wiping its bottom with wet cotton wool to simulate a mum’s cat tongue, or even massaging its tummy.
(4) Put the kitten in the litter tray after or shortly after a meal.
(5) Kittens like finding corners in the room to pee in. Put litter trays there.
(6) There are kitten and puppy training aids like Swiftie (by Bearphar) that you sprinkle onto the litter tray that attracts kittens.
(8) Place the litter tray onto a MDF/fibreboard. This makes cleaning easier. If the board is white, you can spot the puddles quicker. I bought some of these MDF boards and they’re under the living room table and under litter trays. I also have these boards on the carpet in the hallway where the previous litter of kittens had peed – I suspect there is a residual smell there, and I want to prevent this litter of kittens from emulating them.
(9) And finally, last, but not least. Pen the kittens up when you first start litter training. You will need a large-enough pen to contain their bed, litter tray and space for food and water. You will also need to be thick-skinned to ignore the squeaks of the kittens as they press their noses to the front of the pen and plea to be let out.