How to Litter Train a Kitten Without Mother

Litter training a kitten

How to litter train a kitten without mother… In most cases the mother cat will litter train her kitten, but there are situations where the kitten is removed from their mother before litter training takes place, so that leaves the new owner the job of litter training.

Most kittens do understand the idea of using a litter box, all you need to do is provide the litter box and some encouragement with your training, and you’ll need to direct them similar as their mother would.

In this article I’m going to look at “what you’ll need”, “3 steps for litter box training success”, “how long will it take to litter train your kitten” and some “litter training problems you may have and how to solve them”.

Supplies You Need to Litter Train a Kitten

Number 1] A Litter Box… Makes sense that having one or even two litter boxes will be needed. Locate them in areas that your kitten will find easily and also gives them some privacy. Of course there are many different types and styles to choose from and you may need to experiment if your kitten refuses to use the litter box provided.

Number 2] The Kitty Litter… Just like litter boxes there are lots of options when it comes to cat litter type. It’s best to use a regular unscented type of cat litter and you can use the clumping type if you want. Once you have completely littered trained your kitten you can try some different cat litters to see if your cat likes it better.

Number 3] Treats and Rewards… Have some treats handy or other reward and give it to your kitten when you see them using the litter box. Be sure to praise them for the good behavior, once you have litter trained you can lessen the treats.

3 Steps to Litter Train a Kitten Without Mother

Step 1] Introduce the Litter Box… As soon as your new kitten is home place your kitten in the litter box and let her sniff and check it out, if you have more than one let her check them out. Once the kitten knows where they are, don’t move them this will only cause confusion.

Step 2] Place in Litter Box… After every meal put your kitten in the litter box. If your kitten is waking up from a rest place the kitten in the litter box. Keep an eye on your kitten and watch for signs that they need to use the litter box. They typical begin to sniff around and will make motions that they’re going to pee or poop, place in the litter box right away.

Step 3] Rewards… Whenever your kitten uses the litter box give them a treat and praise them.

If your kitten has an accident don’t get mad or punish them, this will only make matters worse and the training will take longer. Just keep putting them in the litter box they will catch on soon, it’s natural for cats to want to dig and bury the deed.

How Long Will it Take to Litter Train Your Kitten

Kittens just born will need to be encouraged to pee and poop since the mother would have been grooming the anal area that will motivate the kitten to pee and poop. A newborn kitten will need help until there around 2 to 3 weeks old.

The best way is to stimulate the anal area with a warm small towel and massage their anal area; this action is similar to what the mother cat would do to encourage movements. After 3 weeks you can begin to litter train the kitten, it will be easier for them to use the litter box if it has a low entrance area.

It’s also important to keep the litter box clean which will encourage them to use the litter box. Get into a habit of removing deposits every day and replacing the litter when it no longer is controlling the odor.

Give the litter box a good cleaning during litter changes with some soap and water, or to help get rid of odors use some vinegar and water. Avoid washing the litter box with bleach or any other strong cleaners that may be bad for your kitten.

If you need to remove cat pee from carpet make sure to clean the area very well with an cleaner that contains enzymes, this will remove the pee smell so your cat doesn’t keep peeing in the same spot instead of the litter box.

Litter Training Problems

Don’t be surprised if sometime you have to deal with a litter box issue, the secret to getting over the issue as soon as possible is finding out what the problem is. Let’s take a look at the most common litter box issues:

Problem 1] Fussy Cat… You know the type; the litter box needs to be perfect! You need to make sure your kitten feels safe and secure while using the litter box. Go over your litter box situation and look for these problems:

Access… Can the kitten get into and out of the litter box easily?

Size… If the litter box is too small it may be restrictive and hard to use, or maybe the litter box is too large which is scaring your kitten.

Cover… Some litter boxes have covers to contain litter messes which may be making your cat feel claustrophobic.

Odor… If you’re using scented litter you may want to try unscented.

Volume… Try to change the amount of litter you’re using in the litter box.

Texture… Perhaps the actual texture of the litter is not suitable for your cat, try using different types.

Problem Number 2] Litter Box Location… This may be the cause, especially if you have moved the litter box to another location. You may need to show the new location a few times. If the litter box is too far away you may want to add a second litter box so the kitten can get to it sooner.

Problem Number 3] Their Scared of Litter Box… Cats will associate events that have dramatized them. The most common is if your cat has an accident and you or someone else picks them up and forces them into the litter box may be the cause of your cat not using it.

Problem Number 4] A Medical Issue… If your cat is avoiding the litter box altogether there may be a medical issue. Cats get infections too…Take you cat to your vet for an exam to be sure they don’t have a medical condition causing the bad behavior.

Problem Number 5] Litter Mess Around Box… Cat’s natural behavior is to dig and bury their pee and poop, and if the litter box sides are to short you’re going to have a mess of litter. Here are a few things you can do to lessen this problem:

Bigger Litter… Some kitty litter is very small and will be easy to kick up and also can get lodged in their paws and be deposited on the floor instead of staying in the litter box. Try using a larger size of litter, but try to be sneaky by adding a bit at a time.

A Mat… Put a piece of mat under the litter box that extends a foot or so past the sides so the litter remains on it.

Hair Cut… This applies especially to cats that have long hair which means the hair on their paws can be trimmed to cut down on the amount of litter they will carry out of the litter box.

When your litter training a kitten without its mother you can run into other problems dealing with inappropriate peeing and pooping, if you can’t seem to find out why your kitten keeps using certain spots rather than their litter box, here’s a few tips to solve this problem:

Isolate the Location… If it’s possible to close off access to the area by shutting a door or erecting a barrier so your cat can’t get to that spot.

Use Their Food… Another tip is to put their food and water dish in the spots they are soiling, cats won’t normally pee and poop where there food is.

Try a Bell… Attach a bell to your cats collar and nab them while doing the deed, it works best  if you can startle them…However DON’T scare them this will make matters worse.

Cover the Spot… Put some paper or other material over the areas, this will make the area less appealing to use.

While it can be hard to break bad habits, doing your part and early detection and having your vet check them out for any medical issues can be helpful. Be patience and kind and over time your kitten will be using the litter box.


The preferred method is to take your kitten home after the mother has litter trained it. However there are situations where you’ll need to know how to litter train a kitten without mother involved. I hope you have found this article helpful, and give it a share if you have.


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