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How old are kittens when they start to use the litter box and who "teaches" them?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

The cat we are fostering, decided to move her kittens to under my brother's bed (lucky him).  I stressed at first about it because I was worried, but realized quickly that she must have had a reason.  My only concern is that the kittens are now three weeks old and about to be able to get out of their container I have them in.  This room has all carpet and I am worried about how much kitten pee will end up there underneath his bed. I thought about getting a small litter box and placing the recycled paper in it and then keeping it near the underneath of the bed.  Any idea of when I should expect that they will start to use it and will the mom "teach" them or does she just demonstrate?  The litter box would be too small for her to use. 

post #2 of 7
I would just put a low-sided cardboard box with regular scoopable cat litter in the room. You probably want to put some plastic underneath in case of leaks and just replace the box as needed. The mother will teach the kittens how to use it and how to cover up their waste with the litter.
post #3 of 7

Usually, by the time a kitten is 3 weeks old, its gradually starting to learn to eliminate without the help of its mom.  I would keep a small litter box (or even an aluminum baking pan, like you'd use for a turkey) close by, so the mom can teach her kitten how to use the litter box easily.


Also, don't put the litter box right next to any food you are feeding the mom or the kittens (later on).  Cats naturally eliminate away from where they eat, so if you had a cat box right next to their food, they will find another place to eliminate.  Just a heads up.



post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thank you everyone.....they are four weeks old and not only are they not interested in eating soft kitten food, they also aren't showing interest in using the litter box.  I'm pretty sure mama is still helping with that.  Should I just assume that they will make it more clear they are interested in both?  I offer the food a couple times a day, but nothing.  I am leaving for Charleston in a couple of days and am a little worried about what is going to happen while im gone.  I hope I don't come back to urine everywhere and hungry kittens.  My DH is going to help with them, but he is not as interested in the kittens as I am. 

post #5 of 7

Don't use scoopable, b/c the kittens will taste it and it is bad for their digestive system.  Just stick with regular unscented clay litter until they are older.  The mom will teach them everything they need to learn.  Also, I would start leaving cat food down for mama and the kittens to free feed.  The mama needs the extra calories, and then the kittens will learn to eat on their own time.  Our farm cat had kittens this spring, and by 8 weeks old when they went to their new homes they were FULLY litter trained.  I kept a low wide rubbermaid type container next to their bed with litter in it for them to go in when they wanted to.  It was around 3-4 weeks when they started to use it.  Good luck on your trip, and those babies will get the hang of things soon enough.  ;) 

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

Nikon:  Thank you for the support.  I tend to worry too much, but I also don't want to worry about them peeing everywhere.  I use the pine litter that is more like a pellet.  I put them in it today and they jumped right out.  Don't seem to really get the purpose.  I leave kitten food out for the mom whenever she needs it, but was worried the hard food would be too difficult for them to eat if they don't have all of their teeth in.  I'll keep trying tomorrow and then DH said he would try as well.  They are so darn cute! 


post #7 of 7

You can take a couple pieces of mom's poo and put them in it (if it doesn't have some already) so they can smell it and get the idea of what it is for.  If you are too worried about it, you can always get an xl dog crate and contain them while you are gone.  Less area for them to potty in, less you or DH have to clean up. 

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