Cats. They're meticulously clean animals with low-maintenance bathroom habits, compared with other pets, thanks only partly to the advent of the litter box. Wee kittens can start becoming acquainted with using litter pans at young ages -- merely a few weeks after birth. Some felines take to them instantly.
During the first weeks of newborn kittens' lives, they do not yet possess command over their elimination functions, whether urination or the passing of stools. Their mother cats instead manage these processes by provoking their little bodies to "go" using their tongues -- always immediately following feeding time. Kittens do not gain the ability to control their bathroom urges until they're between 2 and 3 weeks old.
Kittens begin to need litter boxes when they're approximately 4 weeks in age, advises the ASPCA. Once the little cuties reach this age milestone, you can encourage use by picking them up and putting their bodies inside of the pans right after they're through eating -- the times when they're most apt to go. Some kittens may even make this process easier on you -- simply by trailing their mama cats to the box, checking it out and perhaps even "going."
It is crucial to ensure that the edges of litter boxes are sufficiently low to make getting inside easy on their tiny, sometimes clumsy bodies. When the kittens successfully eliminate in litter boxes, it may be a smart idea to teach them about covering their waste by sprinkling a little bit of litter over any pieces or clumps. However, many kittens may do this without needing any prompting.
Many kittens adapt to litter box use almost seamlessly. Covering of the waste is instinctual behavior for many felines -- a means of staying low-key in the midst of dangerous predator threats in the wild. Despite that, some may need a little training and help. It doesn't come naturally to all kittens, especially if they've spent any time outside at all. In litter training kittens, the important thing to do is to focus on how you can make the litter box a pleasant and comfortable place for the cuties, whether through keeping it immaculately clean, using a soft-textured litter, placing the box in a quiet and secluded part of your home and so forth. It is also vital to remember that cats generally object to sharing their bathroom quarters. Make sure that all of your kittens and cats have their own personal litter boxes. Also always keep an extra litter box around, just in case.
- Humane Society of Harrisburg Area: Tips for the Care of Orphaned, Unweaned Kittens
- ASPCA: Newborn Kitten Care
- ASPCA: Ten Things You Can Do to Help a Stray Kitten
- Humane Society Otter Tail County: Foster Care Handbook
- CatChannel.com: Kitten Litter Training
- CatChannel.com: Litterbox Training Orphan Kittens