How to Litter Box Train a Stray Kitten

Updated on April 13, 2017
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Adrienne is a certified dog trainer and behavior consultant, former veterinarian assistant and author of "Brain Training for Dogs."

The great thing about kittens is that they are very easy to train, regardless of whether they are feral or domesticated. This is especially true with small kittens that have just been weaned. These little fellows are like sponges: they quickly absorb what they are taught. Litter box training a stray kitten may, therefore, be a walk in the park, if you arm yourself with the right tools and use a little bit of ''feline psychology."

Things You Will Need to Litter Train Your Cat

  • Dirt
  • Unscented cat litter (small grain is preferable)
  • A small shoe box
  • A litter scooper

How to Litter Train a Stray Cat

The main difference between litter box training a stray cat and litter training a domesticated one is that with a stray cat, you will use dirt. Stray kittens are accustomed to using dirt as their potty, so for this reason, the smell of dirt will attract your kitty to the litter box. Don't worry, this is only a temporary method.

  1. Pour the dirt into a small shoe box. If the kitten is very small (5 to 6-weeks-old) and has trouble climbing into the shoe box, you may use the shoe box lid to start.
  2. Once the box or the box lid is filled with dirt, place it in a very small room. A bathroom will work great, especially if it has tiles, which makes it very easy to clean up messes.
  3. The kitten must be kept in this small room for the first few days. The reason behind this is because kittens are very small creatures that can easily get lost in a normal-sized home. Unable to find their way back to the bathroom, most kittens will urinate or defecate wherever they find themselves.
  4. The bathroom should contain the cat's litter box in one corner, and in another corner, there should be a water bowl and food bowl. The reason we place litter boxes in corners is because kittens tend to look for corners when they urinate and defecate. Kittens also don't tend to defecate where their food and water is. This method, therefore, prevents your cat from urinating in two corners of the room. The other corners should be blocked by something like furniture or anything that will hide a visible corner.
  5. Kittens tend to defecate within half an hour of eating, so you should watch them carefully after their meals. Look for signs of needing to go, such as meowing, scratching the floor, or looking around. If this happens, place the kitten in the litter box immediately. If the kittens goes, praise and pet the kitten.
  6. If your kitten has an accident, do not scold her. This will only scare her. Instead, if possible, pick up the poop and place it in the litter box. This way your kitty will understand where it should go.
  7. Continue to monitor your kitten after every meal and repeat the sequence of picking up the kitten and placing him/her in the litter box.
  8. After a few days, your kitten should start to understand the process. Make sure to keep the litter box immaculately clean.
  9. Begin gradually adding some unscented litter to the dirt. After one week, litter should completely replace the dirt. At this point, your kitty should have a grip on litter box training.

These smart little fellows quickly learn their way to the litter box and the way to your heart!

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Questions & Answers

© 2009 Adrienne Janet Farricelli


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