Kitten will not use litter box

by Joe Burch
(Kirkwood, NY USA)

We got a kitten at the age of 47 days because the lady wasn't taking care of the kittens, so we took her away from her mother early.

Since then we have had her to the vet's several times for check ups, shots and treatments for ear mites and fleas, which both are well taken care of.

But the main problem still and always has been that she will not use the litter box. It is a small box located in the bathroom, which she does most of her business in within 24" of the box on the carpet.

She has also done her business by our front door. We have changed the type of litter several times upon the vet's orders, but she still doesn't use the box.

We also have a 3 year old male, but he has his own litter box located in one of the clothes closets.

My thoughts:

Thank you for taking care of her. Are you placing the kitten in the box often? This often works to train them to use it when mom cat isn't around.

Most cats have a natural instinct to eliminate on a sandy substrate, so a little encouragement and regular placement in the box after meals, when waking, and after exercise/playtime usually does the trick.

If a kitten is slow to get the hang of it, some people recommend taking one of the cat's front paws and making a digging motion in the litter. Those who are against this feel it isn't necessary and may make for an unpleasant experience for the cat, something we definitely do not want.

In addition to the urge to eliminate on sand or soil, kittens learn to use the litter box by imitating their mothers, but they don't usually start until 3-4 weeks of age. If a kitten is taken from the mother too soon, a surrogate, sometimes in the form of any other cat that already uses a litter box could be helpful.

Since the kitten is going in the bathroom near the box, I'll say that having the litter box too far away isn't a problem here, although that can be a factor as kittens don't have as much control.

With young kittens, some cat parents use shredded newspaper instead of cat litter. In the alternative, you could try a product like Cat Attract and see if that helps, and some cats are even stimulated by a little grass and dirt from outside mixed in.

I'm assuming the box was always a kitten sized box, so she never had trouble getting in and out of it? If the box sides are too high, this can be problematic for small kittens.

I hope that helps get you thinking, and please let us know how things progress.

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Sep 04, 2016
To the Stubborn Kitty That Will Not Use Litter Box
by: Lynda

1) Make sure the added perfume scent in the litter is not strong. Wash the litter box with mild cleaner. Some kittens will be turned off by the strong perfume odors and cleaning odors in litter. 2) this might be inconvenient for you (for awhile) but it might just be well worth it; place a second litter box (approximately same size) over the spot she is marking. Clean the area well with a mixture of white vinegar and water first. Keep the new box in the same spot for 3 or 4 days and slowing start dragging the new box closer to the original box. Move the new box a couple inches closer each day until it is right up against the original box. If she continues to use both, don't remove it but you might consider replacing the two boxes with one slighter larger. Adding cup or two of Kitten Attract Cat to the litter will make their experience a little more enjoyable. Good luck.

Sep 02, 2016
by: Anonymous

Thank you for replying back to my concerns. We will try what you suggested. Thank you again.

Sep 02, 2016
by: Anonymous

My cat Tiger would also not use the litter box no matter what I did. I consulted a Vet and he also said that sometimes cats will do this because they don't like the feel of the litter. I put down plastic garbage bags and on top of the garbage bags, plain black and white newspaper. Tiger uses that and everyday I change it because cats don't like anything dirty. I hope this helps you and good luck with your kitten!

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