INTRODUCING THE LITTER BOX
As we said earlier, the most basic piece of equipment for a new cat owner is the litter box. Kittens are usually taught by their mothers a a very young age to use a litter box. It follows their natural instinct toward cleanliness and is basic in a kitten’s makeup.
Be sure that your kitten’s litter box is low enough on the sides to allow easy access. Keep the litter clean, removing the feces and soiled litter promptly. Replace the litter every three to four days. Clean and wash the box thoroughly once or twice a week. DO NOT CLEAN WITH A STRONG DISINFECTANT; the odor may cause your pet to avoid the box.
If you have a larger house, or more than one cat, have more than one litter box as well. Place the litter box or boxes in private, out-of-the-way locations. Don’t allow children or other pets to frighten your kitten when he is using the litter box.
Some kittens do not learn the basics of the litter box, so you may have to help. Place your pet in the litter box a short time after he finishes eating (usually about 15 minutes). Watch him so you can gently put him in the box when he shows signs of being ready to use it. Afterwards, hold his paws and teach him how to cover the waste. Praise his efforts lavishly and reward him with a food treat. Don’t worry if your pet is a slow learner.
EVEN THE BEST TRAINED CATS “GOOF UP”! If you catch your pet in the act or immediately afterward, say “No” or “Bad” in a firm voice, then carry him to the litter box. Never punish him while he is in the box. If he routinely uses another location in addition to his box, make the off-limits spot undesirable by covering it with foil or plastic wrap.
If your kitten persists, place another box in a new area. The original location may have been too drafty or not private enough, or perhaps something happened to frighten your pet into avoiding that spot.
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