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Sometimes life drops an unexpected new member into our households in the form of an unweaned, orphaned or abandoned kitten.  This can happen if the mother cat should suddenly die from birthing complications or perhaps when the mother is a young feral that recognizes your house is cat-friendly.   Regardless of why you’ve become a new kitten parent, you must now become the surrogate mother cat in the housebreaking process. While this is not an easy task, it is necessary and you will be pleasantly surprised at how quickly your adopted kitten learns.

Here are a few tips to help you:

  • Very young kittens – up to about 3 weeks – need to be stimulated to potty right after every feeding time. Congrats, you’ve become the kitten’s surrogate mom which means you get the job!

  • Using a wet, warm washcloth gently rub the genital/anal area until the kitten urinates and/or defecates. While this may seem odd at first, understand that a very young kitten needs mom’s help to learn to potty on his or her own. At about 4 weeks of age nature will take over and kitty will happily potty without your help.

  • At that stage, the kitten will be exploring the place with eyes wide open. Now you can slowly introduce him to semi-solid moist food―along with his milk―as well as to the litter box.

  • Get a low edge litter box so kitty can readily scramble over the top when nature calls. You may need to put kitty in the litter a few times at first till he or she gets the hang of it. Do this right after feeding time. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how quickly kitty’s natural instinct to bury waste scent will kick in. Kitty will soon use the litter box every time without your help.

That said, some kittens won’t readily take to a litter box.  In that case, you will probably need to place the kitten in a temporary cage or confine him to a small room. Kitty will quickly learn there is a designated place for sleeping, for eating, and for drinking―and, with your help, kitty will quickly learn the litter box is for pottying. There may be a few mishaps at first but no worries―all cats have strong nesting instincts and learn quickly.

With lots of patience, care and a little time, you can train your newly orphaned or abandoned kitten to learn how to use a litter box. You’ll be greatly rewarded with a beloved cat and a loving feline family member.

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