House Training - Kittens

Kittens and young cats can sometimes have trouble learning to use a litter tray, but it is important to persevere with house training. A properly house trained cat means they can roam freely around your home without fear of accidents, instead of being confined to one room. Once your kitten has become confident in using a litter tray, you can then encourage them to go outside to do their business. Below are some simple steps to help you house train your kitten.

Important: Remember your kitten values their privacy when going to the toilet so the worst thing to do is watch over them; this creates stress and they simply will not go. Also, just like young children, kittens don't have full control of their bladder or bowels so even after house training they may still have an accident. Never punish your cat or kitten for accidents.

Litter Tray

Litter trays can be picked up cheaply in all pet shops. We recommend a wipe-clean plastic tray, with a detachable cover for privacy. Fill 1 1/2 inches high with a silica based litter, as it is highly absorbent and doesn't smell. Wood based litter also works well. As cats bury their excretions, you may want to place some newspaper around the tray to catch any stray litter.

  1. Place the litter tray in an easily accessible, quiet, safe place where your kitten won't be disturbed. Avoid placing the litter tray near where your kitten sleeps or eats, unless they are very young and still nesting.
  2. Try gently placing your kitten into the litter tray every hour or so. Scratch around the litter with your fingers to encourage them. If they choose to get out of the tray, let them.
  3. Feed your kitten at regular intervals - this will allow you to better estimate when they will need to use the tray. Kittens usually eliminate after waking.
  4. After mealtimes and play, keep an eye out for behaviors that indicate they need to go, such as pacing, sniffing and scratching in corners and crouching. If you see this, gently pick them up and place them in the tray.
  5. Once your kitten has used the tray successfully, give them lots of praise and a treat. After a while, they will associate using the litter tray with something positive, resulting in them repeating the desired behaviour.

Cleaning - Cats are incredibly clean animals and will not use a litter tray if it is dirty. To ensure they do use the tray every time, you must clean it out daily. If you are using a clumping cat litter, you can scoop out the clumps and leave the remaining clean litter for another day. Wash and disinfect the litter tray every few days.

Important: Do not use ammonia based products to clean the litter tray - ammonia smells very similar to cat urine and can make your kitten assume a clean litter tray is unclean.


If your kitten has learned to use the litter tray, the next step is to teach them to toilet outside. You may still want to keep a litter tray in the event your cat is stuck indoors

  1. Place the litter tray nearer to an outside door, ensuring your kitten still knows where to find it.
  2. Once they're used to using the tray in the new location, move it further towards the outside door. Repeat this process until your kitten is comfortable using the litter tray right next to the outside door.
  3. Put the litter tray outside of the door. Once your kitten is happy using the tray outside, move it further away from the house.
  4. Tip the contents of their used litter tray into the final outdoor destination (somewhere with soil is best).  Your kitten will recognise the smell and will return to use the toilet there.

Reasons for soiling after house training

There are several reasons as to why cats repeatedly have accidents even after house training. These include:

  • Territory: Un-neutered cats will often mark their territory by urinating.
  • Urinary Tract Infections (UTI): Unfortunately, cats are susceptible to UTI's, which can result in frequent, painful and accidental urination. If you suspect your cat has a UTI you must take them to the vet immediately, as this can be deadly if left untreated.
  • Age: Older cats can sometimes appear to get 'lazy' about going outside or using a tray. This is not their fault, instead the most likely cause is arthritis or other debilitating diseases. Visit the vet to rule out anything serious.

You can contact us for further advice by calling: (01228) 560082.

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House Training - Kittens

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