Litter box woes..

This topic contains 1 reply, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Kittyzee 9 months, 1 week ago.

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    So, my kitten’s totally the best kitten ever and everything, obviously.. however.. he seems to have not fully grasped the whole litter box thing yet.

    My partner and I adopted Cosmos from our local humane society about a week ago (at 8 weeks old) but he had previously lived with his three siblings with a foster family. We met his foster dad at the humane society and he warned us Cosmos and his brother were -almost- litter box trained.

    I was a little concerned by this (it was my understanding that kittens usually begin to take to the box around 3-5 weeks) but not particularly discouraged as he’s still quite young. That being said, I’m still kind of trial-and-error-ing it here so I thought I’d reach out for some advice from all you experienced kitten growers 🙂

    First of all, “almost litter trained” is accurate. He goes to the box for all his business about 80% of the time, but for some reason he also views the bed (rumpled up blankets, extra squishy pillows) as a reasonable alternative when he has to pee.

    The other issue is that while he seems to have a grand ol’ time kicking up litter and scampering around his box, he does a very poor job actually covering things up in there. And kitty poo is the smelliest poo. Also this is a very messy hobby.

    So that’s what he’s been doing. What I’ve been doing is:
    (1) periodically plopping him into the box to remind him where it is (especially after eating, sleeping, and running around a lot). Half the time he just hops out again, because he doesn’t have to go, but sometimes he’s just like “ohhh yeah”.

    (2) keeping an eye on him while on the bed and seeing if he shows signs of trying to find a spot (like pawing at the bedding). Then I plop him in the box and he usually pees.

    (3) the litter box is under a desk in the bedroom not prohibitively far from the bed. There’s another one in the bathroom and these are really the only two rooms he has regular access to at the moment (we have a bulldog who lives in the downstairs living room/kitchen area, but we’re introducing them gradually so he hasn’t spent really extensive time down there).

    (4) we’re extremely diligent about cleaning the litter boxes and do so several times a day pretty much as soon as one of us notices he’s used it.

    (5) use clay non clumping kitty litter, about 2-3 in deep.

    My hypothesis is that I somehow need to make the litter box more appealing to pee in than the bed apparently is. So today I bought a larger litter box with higher walls that I hoped would also help with him kicking litter everywhere, but so far he hasn’t taken to it as much as his smaller kitten sized litter pan he will soon grow out of. I’m thinking about purchasing another larger sized one but with shorter walls and see if that serves as a sort of happy medium? Ideally, I’d like him to be comfortable using the covered ones, since we will probably place a box in the living room eventually once he and the dog are more accustomed to one another (I want him to have privacy but also want to not give the dog access to tasty tasty kitty poop). But for now I’m just focusing on getting him to go in the box every time and not the bed!

    Should I just keep trying different boxes? Different litter? How can I make him understand that the bed is not an option?



    It sounds like you are doing all the right things–trying different boxes, watching him and putting him in the box when he’s not gone for a while and it reminds him to go, and trying different litters. It’s very important as far as scented litters since cats do not like highly scented ones. Some cats are very particular about the texture also. These are things that I would recommend and also the covered box or high sided box since some cats like to ‘dig to china’ before they go and toss litter everywhere.

    Breaking the peeing on the bed habit might be harder, but you are doing all you can there. My hunch is that before you got them and while they were at the foster’s home, they were allowed to sleep on the bed and there wasn’t a litter box close enough and since the kittens were so little, they went on the bed. Just be patient and firm on removing him from the bed, and providing a litter box right there where all he has to do is jump down and use it and get back up on the bed. Things should work out fine, as kittens/cats do not like to lay in their pee/poop.

    Don’t be so keen to clean the litterboxes out every time he goes. He may need a poop or a pee in there so he knows that ‘oh, THIS is where I need to go’! If he forgets to cover it up, you can throw some litter over it. Once a day cleaning should be good enough.

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