Anyone over 30 will get other obscure reference in the title of my new series. Anyone under 30…ask your Mum. Kidding of course – doesn’t everyone love Salt and Peppa? They would actually be really good pet names, perhaps for a pair of Caveys (I can never remember how to spell guinea pig – thank you spell check).
So, it’s pretty clear that the world is full of pet lovers. Some cat people, some dog people, some fish people, but there is a good reason that pet care is a hugely growing industry. We love our pets – and why wouldn’t we, they are so cute! In this series, I will be covering a few different topics that I find interesting, intriguing, or just plain mind boggling. I hope that they will be of some use to my lovely readers. If not, who doesn’t like pictures of cats?
First, let me introduce my puddys:
This is Shannon aka Shan, Shaz, Shanny Pants, and many deviations on the theme.
This is Moonlight, aka Moo, Moo Moo, Moo Moo Pants, Moo-ma-licious, and deviations on the theme. Shhh….she doesn’t know she’s a cat!
These two are my current main players in my life. Over the years I have had many different pets, some conventional, some not so conventional, so I’m sure we’ll chat about those in the weeks to come. For now I thought I’d start small, with an issue I believe alot of people face.
Focus on kitty litter
If you have an indoor cat, you will most certainly have a litter tray (or a very nasty carpet). Out cats are pretty much 50/50 indoor and outdoor. When we shut the window they come and go through, they of course make their wees etc in the litter box. Also sometimes when it is wet outside and they are feeling lazy. We’ve had our cats from Kittens (they are nearly 2 years old now), so the whole litter issue has been a factor from day one.
Taking kitten home
When you take your kitten home, the litter box should be your main focus if you want to crack ‘puddy potty training’. Some come to you fairly used to the litter box. When they are first born their Mama takes care of toilet detail for them, but as they grow the idea is that they emulate their Mum and use the litter box. This can be hit and miss, especially if they’ve not been actively encouraged to use the litter box, or perhaps even had access to one at the home you buy them from.
[Sidenote: it is really important to make sure you buy kittens from a good home where they are well treated and well cared for. Worming and nutrition should be checked on before you take your kitten home. I will do a more comprehensive post on this later in the series, plus one on rehoming older pets]
When you are home, it is important you have a litter tray the kittens can access. Sometimes the sides of a ‘big cats’ litter box can be to high. I bought one specifically for kittens. When it comes to litter, it is a good idea to try and use the same type they have been used to up to now, so make sure you ask. The brand isn’t usually important, but the type is. You can get wood based, clay based, paper based and more. You can also get clumping or non-clumping, and ones with or without thinks like odour control. These are more of a matter of personal preference and not something that your cat will worry about. I think the easiest way to keep a litter tray fresh is simply to change the litter on a regular basis, and scoop and poops as soon as you know they’re there.
My two kitty’s were used to wood chippings, which is a viable alternative to cat litter. The lady I bought them from was a real animal person, and explained to me that the kittens were trying to eat the litter she put down (this is very common, and to be discouraged), so she was using wood chips. I used wood chips when I bought them home, and then progressed to wood based litter. Over time your cats will get more used to where their kitty loo is, and it is possible to change the litter to a type you prefer. I have tried clay, but went back to wood as I prefer it. Recently the supermarket replaced my order for wood pellets with paper litter, which looks rather like shredded tissue paper (something which you will recognise if you’ve had cats for a while – they love to shred the loo roll). It’s been down for 3 days, and the cats have opted to pee in the rain rather than use it, so the jury’s still out on this one.
Grown up kitty
Once your kitten is using the litter box regularly, it’s best just to leave them to it. Cats like privacy when they’re doing their business, so it’s best not do disturb them if you can help it, especially in the early days. As long as your kitten knows where its litter tray, food and water are, they usually get on with it themselves. It’s a good idea to keep them in a smallish area to begin with, but you can gradually move them further afield when their habits are more regular. As they grow, they will be far more self-sufficient, but keeping a few constants in their lives till you are sure they will be ok with the change is a good idea. That being said, once they are more confident, I recommend changing things like litter and food (will do another post about food later in the series) on a semi-regular basis so they don’t get fussy, and will only use the most expensive food/litter that you can only get three towns over.
And that’s it from me. I know it may sound odd to deal with poop first, but it’s like when you have a baby, there will be poop no matter what, and it’s a good idea to get the basics sorted before you move onto the more fun bits that come with being a Mum or Dad to a human or fur baby. Puddles and poops on the floor are not fun, so it’s good to make it a non issue, so you can just get one with loving and spoiling your moggie.
If you’ve any questions, stories or comments, please do share below, as I do enjoy reading them so.