How to teach your kitten to use the litter box
When a kitten arrives in his new home, there are some tricks to put into practice so that life together is quiet and pleasant. Find a corner where the kitten can stay on his own and feel safe in order to get used lightly to people, noises and smells. This will enable him to understand what are the areas dedicated to him. Usually each kitten requires 4 areas and each one is associated to a physiological need: a place to eat (away from the area for his physical needs), a place to sleep (near heat sources), a place to play (away from hazards or objects that could break) and finally the specific area for his physical needs. In this place you should put the litter box, always accessible and easy to use. Therefore the litter box you choose must have the right height so that the kitten can get in and out easily and must be large enough. As mentioned before, the litter box should be placed in a secluded place of the house, away from the feeding area. It is better to avoid especially crowded or noisy areas (such as the front door). The kitten might be scared and if he does not feel at ease, he may decide to do his physical needs elsewhere, in wrong places, such as on the carpet. Instinctively most of the kittens use already the litter box, heaving learned this behavior from their mother. This behavior is acquired between the fourth and the fifth week of life, after the onset of the neurological control of micturition and defecation reflex.
At 30 days the kitten approaches the litter, digging in the sand, removing and burying his faeces. In case the kitten had been abandoned or he left his mother too early and he did not learn this behavior , or he is simply not diligent, you have to be patient and train him to behave properly. In order to teach your kitten to use the litter box is enough to make 2 or 3 attempts putting him inside it and gently use his paw to dig a hole. If the kitten persists in wrong behaviors concerning his physical needs and you continue to find them scattered everywhere in the house, it is important to know that punishment only worsen the situation, bearing in mind that stress increases the compulsive urination. Therefore you can try to calm the kitten, by moving the litter in different places, paying even more attention to avoid noises and movements. It becomes useful to put the kitten in the litter box, stroking him to reassure him and encourage him to use it. Also playing near the litter helps him get confident. You should pay attention to the type of litter you use. Especially if it is scented, kittens may be afraid to get into it, because the smell is unfamiliar. As an alternative you can try products free of chemical fragrances with reduced dustiness. Persisting in doing faces in inadequate places indicates a behavioral disorder and you should contact your trusted veterinarian.
The cat is a clean animal and for this reason, it is very important to keep the litter box clean. The normal maintenance of the litter box requires that the physiological needs are removed daily. The litter box should be emptied and cleaned with non-aggresive substances (hot water with mild soap) weekly. However the changing frequency of the litter is related to the type you use. Bentonite and sepiolite-based products, are aggregating and form the typical ball around the urine, which may be removed from time to time by using the scoop litter. The traditional not aggregating litter, instead, must be changed daily. Finally, if the kitten does his faces out of the litter box, you have to clean with specific products to eliminate urine of faces out of the litter box, should not be thrown in the rubbish, but placed in the litter box instead: they are useful to become familiar with the toilet sand.