The Irish Blue Cross,
© The Irish Blue
LOOKING AFTER YOUR KITTEN
Cats are very fussy about their toilet habits and will usually have learnt to use a litter tray by copying their mothers. Your kitten will need a leak-proof tray or box (plastic or enamel is best) which can be filled with sand, peat, dry earth or cat litter available from pet shops. The tray should be placed on newspaper, which will catch any litter that has been pushed over the side during digging. Place the tray in a quiet accessible corner where your kitten will not be disturbed. Make sure that you keep the litter tray well away from the place where the food and water bowls are. Apart from the obvious hygiene reasons, it may be that the kitten is reluctant to use the tray if it is too close to its food or bed.
The litter tray must be kept clean and emptied regularly, otherwise your kitten will not use it. Bleach and disinfectants containing coal tar and carbolic acid derivatives (e.g. dettol) can be dangerous to cats, so only use hot water and household detergent when cleaning out the tray. If your kitten in inclined to mess elsewhere in the house, confine him to one room with his litter tray until he learns to use it regularly. Take him to the litter tray a short time after he has eaten and place him in it. Also place him in the tray when he is showing signs of looking for a suitable corner to use as a toilet (i.e. sniffing, scratching and beginning to crouch).
If he is still reluctant to use the tray, it could be because
(a) It is not clean enough (empty it more).
(b) It is not big enough (it should be big enough for an adult cat to turn around in) he should be able to use it more than once without getting dirty.
(c) You have cleaned it out with a chemical that is too strong smelling.
(d) It is too near to his bed or food bowls.
If you are using earth from the garden, make sure that it is dry. Your kitten may be reluctant to dig in the wet earth and may like to use your warm dry carpet instead.