Please help me litter train these kittens before I strangle them all..


Crazy for Cochins
10 Years
Apr 24, 2009
Tab, Indiana
Well, not really, but I'm at my wit's end with them, they're driving me nuts!!!! I have 6 kittens right now, and another one that will be growing up and following in their footsteps in another couple of weeks (she's 3 weeks old right now), and despite having pans down everywhere, these brats won't use them!!! 4 of the 9 week old kittens were born here in the house. The other 2 were found outside almost 2 weeks ago. Well, every other kitten we've ever had, whether it was born in the house or we found it outside, or it was given to us, they immediately potty trained with little to no problems, but these little brats, it's like their mission is to drive me nuts!!! We tried them with litter. They refused. We tried newspaper. They refused. So we tried pine shavings and we have one kitten that will use the pan. No, we're not planning to keep them all, but the ones we would like to keep, they still need to be trained! The last batch of kittens we rescued were stubborn, but I managed to get some of them to toilet train. If someone could give me some advice, something I haven't already tried (I did put their poop in the pan. Didn't work). The 2 we found, the little girl was near death, she had apparently not gotten much to eat before we found her (by means of mother's milk), and we suspect they had been dumped in our town before they were even fully weaned. The little girl is skin and bones, but my younger DD has been diligently working with her to put weight on her. The little boy was feral for all of about, oh, an hour before he decided he loved human contact. He's the only one making any effort to use the litter pan. I absolutely LOVE my little 3 week old (a surprise since we hadn't realized her mama had snuck out of the house. Mama was awaiting a new home where she was going to be spayed, and the new owners backed out at the last moment. Mama, her name is Moo Moo Kitty, will continue on to a new home as planned (she's not the most social cat, still somewhat feral since we rescued her), but her baby is staying. The baby was born a preemie, but is super smart and developing fast. Another couple weeks and she'll need to start litter training, and I refuse to let her copy after the older kittens. The kittens mainly targeted under my desk, along the wall, and we cleaned up the messes, but they keep going there. So we cleaned again and put the litter pans there. They now go everywhere in the living room EXCEPT the litter pans.
Is there another way to clean up where they've gone so they can't smell it? I'm using bleach, Lysol, and now vinegar. I want them to learn properly. Should I isolate them into a small room until they potty train? I'm at my wits end. If my mother wasn't an Aspie, I'd take them ALL to a shelter, but 3 out of the 4 of us are, and just taking the cats away will destroy my mom and my older DD, not to mention that my younger DD has worked so hard with her little Mollie Bear to get weight on her. Mollie has come to idolize my DD and depends on her for food, and, well, animals tend to not like my younger DD much, but little Mollie has fallen in love with her, and to take the cat away would devastate her. Whatever advice anyone can offer would be so appreciated. Thank you!!!

Mollie Bear, as my younger DD calls her:

Davey, one of the ones born here. He also has an orange tabby stripe brother, a calico sister, and a little white sister with brown tabby striped spots and markings:
too cute!!

Yup, isolate them in a room with food, water and the litter box. Preferably easy to clean, with not much else for them to potty on/get into, like a bathroom maybe? Its what I have always done with new kittens, or everytime we moved (too many times to count!) and it helps them not only know to USE the litter box, but WHERE it is..

good luck!!!
I am a foster for and I put all my kittens into one room. When they "go" somewhere, that's where I'll put the litter pan. Sometimes in the beginning I'll have 5 or 6 pans spread around the room until they get the idea of it. It seems to help also if you take each one and set it in the litter box and gently take its paw and make it "scratch" in the sand... sometimes I'll do this for a few minutes alternating between paws... they usually get the hang of it.

Also, please don't take them to the pound. Take them to local rescue instead.
Could they be too small to fit in the l itterbox? I tried putting newspaper spread out on the floor, then putting kitty litter on top of it and that seemed to work
Good luck!
Limit them to a small room with the litter pans. I have never had a kitten that was not "immediately" litter trained. You're right this is a very unusual situation. Are they able to gain easy access to the litter pans?
Low litter pans, small room (bathroom is ideal)

Rub their tummies and wash their backside with a soft cloth to try to stimulate them to "go" then immediately put them in a litter pan and rub their little paws in it. Probably won't work on kittens that old but it's worth a try!

Get enzyme cleaner to clean up the mistakes so they don't keep smelling them.

If this doesn't work, try putting them in a big dog kennel if you have one or can borrow one. This way they are even closer to their litter pan...
You've gotten some good advice. Put in limited area with low sided litter box. What I would add is the litter. Don't use the scoopable as some kittens will eat it and end up with a bowel blockage. When I have kittens (or cats for that matter) who won't use the litter box, I use peat moss in the box. It will naturally attract them, they love the feel on their paws. Even most feral cats will use that box then. Give it a try. Not the potting soil, though it might work, real peat moss from the garden store.
Thank you all for your advice. I'll see about getting some non scoopable cat litter, and if that doesn't work, then I'll try the peat moss. I'm trying to figure out what room to put them in. Most rooms that have doors are high traffic areas and these kittens are FAST, lol.

I don't want to take them to a shelter, but where I live I have two options: put them outside to fend for themselves, or take them to the shelter in the next county because my country doesn't have any shelters. Seeing as how they are tiny and winter is coming, I'm going with the lesser of the two evils. I'm hoping they'll find homes while they are still small. I've tried to find them homes myself, but being that I live in the cornfields, no one wants to come pick up a kitten when they can step out their own door and find one. Cats are expendable where we live, and I hate that. If I can get these guys potty trained, it ups their chances of finding good, loving homes, and that's all I want for them.
I have rescued many feral kittens, kept some, found homes for some, and took others to an ASPCA shelter. I have NEVER found a rescue group that will help at all. I have NEVER found a no-kill shelter that will take any. (I have lived in two different states; my guess is that this is an across-the-board situation.) I would rather take them to a shelter that will humanely euthanize them rather than see them become starving feral cats who eventually get smeared across a road by someone's tires. Just my humble opinion; don't mean to start an argument.
I guess what I'm saying is, don't feel guilty if you end up having to take them to a shelter, and bless you for trying to get them litter trained. That will increase their chances of adoption.

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