Most cats learn to use the litter box from their mothers at a reasonably young age. However, feral cats or recently-adopted strays may be unaware of how to go about using the litter box.
Often, veterinarians get queries such as “my cat peed on my bed right in front of me”, what should I do?” and the reasons for this vary vastly. For one, the cat could be sick or maybe simply trying to tell you the litter box is unusable.
Here are some quick tips for new cat owners to train their kittens to use the litter box.
- Finding the right box
If you plan to start with a small box because it seems snug for your kitten, it could backfire on you. That’s because kittens grow pretty quickly and will soon find the box too small for comfort. This will lead them to start relieving themselves elsewhere. Therefore, it is advisable to pick a larger box even if your pet is still a kitten. As it gets older, the cat will become used to the box and will less likely go anywhere else.
Also, studies suggest that cats prefer litter with added attractants rather than plant-based clump litter. So, you should consider investing in litter on similar lines.
- Making the litter box accessible
It is not appropriate to place the litter box near your cat’s food and water bowls as cats view their feeding area as homely. Naturally, their instincts are to relieve themselves away from this zone. Typically, you should set the box in a place that your cat can easily access. Also, ensure it is in a well-lit but quiet corner as cats prefer a certain amount of privacy.
- Keep the box clean
A dirty litter box is among the comments causes for cats defecating outside the box. Also, it is hazardous to health. So, make sure to scoop out the littered clumps at least twice a day to maintain a clean box. Furthermore, you should wash the container with mild soap and warm water once a week.
When training kittens, you can leave a small amount of waste in the box as a reminder to know where to eliminate their waste.
- Troubleshooting with older cats
The response to “my cat peed on my bed right in front of me” is not always a simple one. If it is a kitten, the feline is probably just trying to get the hang of being litter box trained. But when this happens with older cats, especially those already litter trained, there may be an underlying issue. Look for signs such as blood in their urine, vomiting, retching. These indicate bladder infections, kidney stones, UTIs, and other severe ailments which must be treated immediately.
However, sometimes the reason cats pee on the bed or anywhere other than the box may be a simple one. For example, your pet may be trying to tell you that the litter box is too dirty to be used.
- Do not punish the cat
Patience is vital as not all kittens will grasp the concept of the litter box right away. But they will learn to use it eventually. So, remember not to punish your cat in case it relieves itself outside the box. It will aggravate the animal and cause it to become anxious and hostile.
Instead, use positive reinforcement and reward the felines with treats every time they get it right.