… you receive a photo of a kitten in a litter tray and his owner tells you it’s the first time he’s used it properly, and instead of going “ack!” you and his owner both glow with pride and make happy noises.
This adorable little fella is Mittens who was last seen in a previous post (his mother had been waking his owner up at 4am in the morning).
Naomi, his owner, had been informed that the mother cat would teach the kitten to use the tray. So when accidents started happening, she asked me for tips on litter training.
I told her that contrary to what she’d been told, some mother cats don’t consciously teach the kittens how to use the tray. Instead, they teach by example, by using the litter tray when the kitten is around. I, myself have observed my mother cat squat in a kitten tray that’s way too small for her and do a wee, just to show her kittens what to do.
Anyway, here’s the standard advice I sent Naomi:
no bedding in the box
don’t use bleach to clean up mistakes (because bleach contains ammonia which smells like pee)
confine kitten to a small space
don’t let kitten wander far away from a litter tray
encourage kitten to use tray after meals
praise kitten if he’s used the tray successfully.
For a few days, it looked as though nothing was working. And I didn’t dare tell Naomi that I’d had kittens who took weeks to master the art of using a litter tray.
And then … oh, the relief of it all! As you can see from the photo above – one clever kitten and from Naomi and myself, sighs of relief!
(fyi – this is one very smart, very clever kitten – and he was about 5 weeks’ old when this photo was taken. It took him less than a week to figure out what the scratchy stuff was and why mom made such a fuss when he peed outside the tray.)