If you have recently adopted a street cat, you’re probably wondering how to get a feral kitten to use a litter box. A feral or outdoor kitten is probably a good candidate for a litter box training. Cats easily pick up habits if you train them well, and they will learn best if you start them young. Getting them to use a litter box will never be easy, however, but if you still teach a kitten to use a litter box, that particular habit will stick to her for as long as she lives.
Feral kittens are outdoor animals that were abandoned by their owners and have been fending for themselves, or their own mother gave birth to them and ever since their birth they have been alone, in the streets. But what is good about adopting a feral kitten into your own home, despite the fact they have living in the streets forever?
- Fostering a feral kitten is a good idea especially if you’ve bonded with one already. Maybe there’s a kitten that’s been lingering or staying in your garden for awhile, and you’ve petted her and talked with her. Or, a kitten has been spotted hanging out around your apartment and you want to take the next step.
- Adopting a feral kitten is a better option than buying one from a pet shop. We still don’t know the depths and gravity of abuse animals receive just to be made available in pet stores. Some of them were bred only to have their litter be sold in the stores. These same animals will end up abandoned in the wild or the streets with no care at all. Therefore, having a kitten from the streets instead of purchasing one from a pet shop is a better option because you’re refusing to support these horrific practices which have monetary gains.
- Homeless animals need love and attention more than anything. Enough said.
When you adopt a feral kitten into your home, one of the most important things you will be buying for her is a litter box. A litter box acts like a bathroom for your kitten because it is where she will poop and pee. If you don’t train her to use the litter box, she will continue pooping and peeing anywhere she’d like, including your garden. That would be a hassle as you have to clean it up each and every time, especially if your potted plants are covered with poop.
As a would-be cat parent, there’s nothing to worry about when it comes to litter box training a kitten. She has to eliminate elsewhere, without having to leave behind some stressful mess in and outside your house, even in your neighbor’s yard. A litter box will solve this problem and goes well with their natural instincts. Cats are hygienic animals and like to clean themselves, but that’s not enough if they were to transition to a home life.
A litter box, on the other hand, will serve as their dumping ground where they’re free to shuffle, dig and cover their poop with litter. As mentioned, it perfectly goes well with their natural instincts. As a cat parent, a litter box is just a must-have if you want a cleaner home, and of course, a cleaner cat.
How To Get A Feral Kitten To Use A Litter Box
- Decide for yourself if you ‘re really ready to adopt this feral kitten. Sure, there’\s a stray kitten that frequents your home and you feel like adopting her. But, are you really prepared to bring her over to your home? Having an animal around not only means feeding her everyday, it also means vet visits, medications, cat toys, treats and making sure your home is cat-friendly, too. And most importantly, it also means lots and lost of love and expenses. In other words, having a cat means responsibility. Would you be ready to shoulder that huge obligation in the long run, or would you dump her as well (just like her previous owner) if you don’t want to take care of her anymore?
That’s why this first step is important because you don’t want to be an irresponsible person who will neglect their pet when they no longer feel like taking care of her.
- Choose the best type of litter box. Training your feral kitten to use the litter box depends on the kind of litter box you will buy. There is a wide range of litter boxes in the market today, but you can’t think they’re all the same. They’re all different. Some are too small, some are too big, some have covers, some don’t, and there are a whole lot of differences that make a huge difference for your cat’s quality of life.
First of all, you have to remember that what you like as a human might be offensive to your cat because, well, they are different. Some cats don’t mind a hooded litter box while others feel trapped in a litter box that has a cover.
Buy a litter box that is spacious, not only for her current size, but as she grows as well. automatic litter boxes that make sounds might terrify your kitten, so you should not buy those.
Ideally, the perfect litter box for your kitten is one that offers a lot of room while offering her enough comfort and privacy. As for the litter, the best type would be one that has no odor, no dusts, and is scoopable, and leaves no mess behind. Feral kittens feel comfortable on natural surfaces that remind them of outdoors, so soil or sand is a good choice. But to introduce your kitten to the new litter, fill the litter box with the new litter of about 2 inches, and cover it with plain soil of about half an inch. As she shuffles around, she will gradually get used to the smell of the new litter.
Scented litter is not good for feral kittens because the scent is too strong for them. AS for whether you should choose clumping and non-clumping litter, it would be a matter of testing what your kitten prefers.
- Feed your feral kitten everyday and put the litter box in strategic places. Whenever your feral friend drops by, be sure there are food, water, and the litter box ready. Feed your kitten and praise her. The litter box must be placed quite far away from the food and water bowl, but in strategic places such as the garden, behind potted plants, or by your door where she likely frequents. Anywhere near your home is ideal.
If you will put the litter box behind a potted plant, cover the soil with tinfoil or paper to discourage her from pooping. Put some of her old feces in the litter box. After she eats, bring your feral kitten to the litter box and wait for her reaction. Because cats are led by their smell, they would get the hint that that’s where they will poop. She will likely move around with the litter, which is a good sign she’s interested. If she poops or pees in the litter box, praise her or give her some treats after she’s done, but now in a smothering way which will startle her.
Every couple of days, bring the food and water bowl further inside your home and bring your feral kitten over there. This will get her used to your home life without all the sudden changes. Of course, you must give her treats or praise her whenever she uses the litter box, for her to associate the litter box as something pleasurable.
- Bring her over to your home, her new home. I’m pretty sure your feral kitten will have a shock somewhat having to live in a new environment far from the streets. This is why it’s important for you to be attentive to her and make sure your home is cat-friendly so she would have a somewhat easy transition as she adapts to her home life.
Be ready to have a litter box for every floor if you live in a multi-story home. This way, your kitten has option in case she feels like urinating no matter where she is. Make sure to feed her on schedule. Bring her to her litter box 15 minutes after eating so she could pee and poop. Don’t forget to praise her or give her treats once she’s done. If she urinates or defecates somewhere other than the litter box, clean it up but don’t forget to spray a urine odor eliminator such as Rocco & Roxie to completely get rid of the odor so she won’t smell it next time. This prevents her from pooping and peeing there all over again.
- Remember, it will take lots of patience and love. Cats and humans have a different language and level of understanding so yelling or scolding your cat just because she made a mistake will never solve any frustrations you have. More importantly, expect some mistakes will be made along the way, which is perfectly normal, until a habit is formed. What’s important is you show your new feline friend a lot of love as you begin your life together.
Getting a feral kitten to use a litter box will take weeks of training until your pet is used to it. So, as mentioned, be patient and never scold or yell at her.