Litter-training kittens … the key to success?

9 July, 2008

I think everyone who’s read my posts of previous years on litter training will have realised that coaxing kittens to use their litter trays has not been my strong point.

(consider this is the equivalent of a whisper because I don’t want to tempt fate, but …)

I think that I may have finally got the hang of it with this litter of kittens.

The difference this year is that I confined them to a kitten enclosure from the time they had to start litter-training for about two weeks, only letting them out under supervision, or until they learnt to scale the pen).

The enclosure was quite large, about 4 feet square, with space for a bed, a cat scratching post and two litter trays. 

The litter trays were small to medium-sized and filled with a double-layered sandwich of Yesterday’s News pellet litter and kitchen towels.  I find that the YN pellets don’t absorb pee quickly enough and sometimes kittens’ paws get sopping wet.  So the kitchen towels provide a surface to stand on that is a little drier.

Another trick I used was to wipe the litter trays with a bit of kitten pee so that they still retained the smell of urine.

Imagine my great pleasure when I found a kitten squatting in a tray, having its first pee. [BTW, kittens always scream when they first start peeing and pooing – it is quite alarming].  Imagine my even greater pleasure when most of the kittens started using the tray.

Sure, we’ve had accidents, but compared to previous years, they’ve been fewer.

But, to be honest, I think I got lucky with this litter of kittens.  They’re little bundles of cleverness, they’ve actually litter-trained themselves.



  1. We’ve just got ten week old kittens that came to us “almost” litter trained. Bonnie preferred to pee beside the tray, not in it. We seem to have got round the problem by offering them two litter trays (one of them is huge) and adding large bits of torn newspaper to the litter as it’s what she’s used to using.

    I’m not sure if I’ve trained them or if they’ve trained me! And the next step, once they’ve had their second lot of injections and are allowed out, is to get them to use the garden instead. I never did quite manage that with my last cat.

  2. Hi,

    Once your kittens are litter trained, one of the tricks you could use to transition your cats to use the garden is to add a little bit of garden earth to the litter tray. That way they smell the soil and associate it will doing a poo/pee. So when you let them out it will feel more natural to poo/pee in the garden. Be warned though – one of the reasons cats don’t do it in their garden is for territorial reasons – cats do not poo/pee in their own territory generally. They prefer to mark the surrounding territory. So they may use your neighbour’s garden instead – that is a habit that is impossible to break.

  3. The kitten enclosure sounds pretty similar crate training a dog. Until you have a dog like Roop the Poop who has no sense of innate sense hygiene and will pee/poop where he sleeps. Good job on litter training them so fast!

  4. Hi Rona
    I’ve been reading your messages on cat litter and pooping and crying with laughter! It’s hilarious, I don’t know how you cope, I’ve been running round trying to clean Cobey’s stinky little butt today and feeling a bit ragged, but you have whole litters to worry about! At least you’ve made me feel normal again.
    We’re trialling two litter trays at the moment, one that is in the bedroom (as that’s were he stayed at first) and one in the bathroom (which is where we’d ultimately like to keep it). I think we may always end up having two trays though.
    We are currently using Natures Best Gold which he doesn’t seem to mind, but I understand your reservations about the poop coverage.
    Thank you for making me feel normal!

  5. You got lucky this time gal pal(any one who loves kittens is a friend of mine). If those little loves can do it themselves then more power to them and youm.

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