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House Index | Pets | Litter Training

Litter Training
A kitten that is not old enough to go outside or who is to be an inside only pet should begin learning to use the litter box immediately. For a kitten, the sides of the litter box should not be so high that he cannot climb into the box. A litter box with deep sides is preferable for adult cats so that the litter is not scattered everywhere.

Since cats are private creatures and prefer to not be watched, the litter box should be placed in an out of the way spot to offer privacy. It should not be placed near the cat's feeding bowls since they do not like to dirty or mess their feeding area.

You should show your kitten the litter box just as soon as you bring him/her home. Place the kitten in the litter box when they wake up, after they have eaten and before bed, much like toilet training a child. When the kitten performs in the correct manner he should be generously praised.

When a kitten is looking for a suitable corner to use as a toilet it will start sniffing, scratching and will begin to crouch. It is best to catch him at this stage, if you can, and place him directly in the litter box. Never scold the kitten or rub its nose in an "accident". It is best to try and avoid accidents to begin with.

If your kitten should have an accident on the floor, clean it immediately. It is best NOT to use any cleaner with an ammonia smell as the cat may mistake the smell as a suitable place to go to the bathroom. Cats like their bathroom nice and tidy and they have an excellent sense of smell, so change litter often.


Pregnant women shouldn't change cat litter boxes because cats can be infected with a disease called toxoplasmosis. Cats can carry this disease because they hunt and eat other animals. This disease is rare in house cats but you would be better off avoiding the litter box anyway. A pregnant woman can catch the infection by touching or breathing the particles (such as dust) from cat feces. You can also get toxoplasmosis by eating raw or under cooked red meat or by touching dirt while gardening that has been contaminated by cat feces.

If a woman gets toxoplasmosis during pregnancy it can affect the developing baby and cause birth defects, particularly in eye and brain development. Therefore it is advised that women who are pregnant ask to have someone else change the cat litter box. It is safe to hold and pet your cat however, so feel free to give your pet all the affection it deserves.

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