Luckily for their owners, cats love to use the litter box. Although they don't automatically know what it's for, the tiniest bit of guidance is usually enough to get them using it regularly. If your kitten is going on the floor, just show her a better place to do it.
Monitor your kitten's behavior. Her tiny body can't hold a lot of waste, so she might be going at least once every few hours. Pay special attention to her after she eats. If she starts sniffing around like she's on a mission, it's probably time for her to do her business.
Pick up your kitten and set her down in the litter box. Do this after naps and meals, or anytime she starts sniffing around the carpet. Once she's in the box, gently dig into the litter with her front paws or your fingers to show her what to do.
Clean up after your kitten when she has an accident on the floor, but don't waste the teachable moment. Without reprimanding your kitten, place her waste in the litter box, then put her down in the litter box with it. Making sure she sees what you're doing. Bury the waste for her, then let her be on her way. While you're training her to use the litter box, leave waste in the litter for longer than usual -- a day or two is fine -- so that when it's time to go, the smell reminds her.
- If your kitten still isn't getting the picture, confine her to a large cage with a litter box and everything she needs, including food and water. When she has no alternative, she'll learn that the litter box is the best place for doing her business.
- Make sure that the litter box is low enough that your kitten can easily climb in and out.
- Once your kitten is using the box consistently and without your help, scoop out waste on a daily basis.
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.