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Kitten trouble covering waste + Food questions

Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by koop, Jun 26, 2020.


  1. koop

    koop PetForums Newbie

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    Hey everyone,

    I have a new kitten who is 9 weeks old today (first time owner, I've had him for 7 days)

    I have seen alot of topics on this issue but nothing describing my exact situation;

    I noticed that when he tries to go for a poop, he will dig around with his front 2 paws in the litter tray, poop in a different place to where he dug, then he tries to use his front 2 paws to move the litter back onto the poop, but he completely misses (doesn't move the litter back enough) leaving the poop exposed.

    I didn't see this as a huge problem, until he accidently grazed said poop and got it on his back foot on 2 different occasions.

    I've read advice to grab him after he finishes and cover the poop for him so he sees me doing it. I've tried this 3-4 times so far but he is really uninterested after pooing that he just wants to get out the tray.

    The other advice I've read is to gently grab his paw and push the litter over the poop. I find this slightly awkward as he just wants to get out once hes finished and doesn't really let me do this technique.

    Maybe I am just worrying abit too much? He's very young so he may still grow into covering his own poop?

    some details; litter is "Catsan Hygiene Cat Litter, with White Hygiene Granules to Prevent Odours" (its kind of like a gravel/stoney litter. Would something else be better?)

    Size of litter tray - 37cmx33cm

    I currently free feed him dry food but have started since yesterday to feed him 3 times a day with Wet Felix Kitten food "Felix Kitten Mixed Selection in Jelly Pouches" which he seems to enjoy.

    Is this cat food good enough or would something else be more optimum?

    Thank you for reading and your time, I'm a new owner so just want whats best for the little guy.
    Thanks for any advice/tips.
     
  2. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Hello @koop and welcome :)

    It is not unusual for kittens to be a bit clumsy and unco-ordinated in the litter tray, and sometimes tread in their poo. If the poo is firm, not soft or loose it is easy enough to clean if off their paws with an unscented wet wipe (the type sold in supermarkets for human babies).

    As for burying his waste products it is perfectly normal for cats not to bury their pees and their poos. It is not about hygiene, because unlike us human beings, cats are not disgusted by their own bodily fluids and deposits. Cats as a species are strongly driven by scent. Sometimes they use their poo or their urine for scent marking purposes, instinctively as follows:

    1/ When a cat buries their poo or their urine it is because they want to hide the scent of it from any passing predator.

    2/ When a cat doesn't bury their poo or their urine it is because they want to display it to any passing cats to tell them "this territory is taken by a cat" i.e. any passing cat will smell the scent of another cat and know the territory is taken.

    3/ Some cats bury their deposits sometimes, but not always. Some cats always bury their deposits and some cats never bury them. One of my girls never buries her poo or her urine and she is the most territorial of all my 4 cats.

    4/ Kittens often do what they saw their mums do, when it comes to the litter box. It is imprinted upon them. So if your kitten's mum did not bury her deposits the kitten may not either.

    The vitally important thing is your kitten is using his litter box and nothing else should matter. You should never intervene in any way when he is in the litter box. Give him privacy when he is at his toilet.

    You should certainly not try and make him bury his deposits if he chooses not to. Please ignore anything you have read which says it is OK to intrude while he is in the litter tray, because such advice is completely wrong. If you do try and interfere you run the risk he will stop using his litter box and will start looking for hidden places behind furniture for his toilet. If that happens it may be hard to get him using a litter box again.

    If you want his pee covered then wait until he has finished and left the litter box and cover it up yourself. Poos should be scooped as soon as possible after being deposited anyway so it matters not if they are not covered.

    A litter box of 33 x 37 cms is rather small. Also he needs a minimum of two litter boxes so he can pee in one and poo in the other when he chooses, as most cats do. I would give him 2 medium size litter boxes, open ones, not covered. And place them separately, not next to each other.

    Is your cat litter non-clumping? Non-clumping clay or silica is safest for a kitten in case they swallow any of it while grooming their feet. Clumping clay litter can swell inside the cat and cause an intestinal blockage needing urgent surgery.

    I prefer the fine granular plant based litters, and the clumping kind is safe for kittens. Litters should always be unscented.

    Catsan makes a clumping litter that is plant based:

    https://www.zooplus.co.uk/shop/cats/cat_litter/catsan/717963

    Or there is a shredded wood clumping litter called Cats Best Oko Plus

    https://www.zooplus.co.uk/shop/cats/cat_litter/cats_best/14001

    It is easier to keep the trays smelling fresh with clumping litters. And it is less wasteful to use clumping litter as you can just remove the soiled clumps without having to throw the whole tray of litter away. Remove the clumps, top up with fresh litter and replace all the litter with fresh once a month.

    Wet food is far healthier for him than dry food. 'Felix As Good As it Looks' is an OK economy food - we raise the kittens on it at the Shelter. There are better wet foods around if you are willing to buy online. I would feed him as little dry food as possible.

    There is an excellent pinned thread on the Health and Nutrition boards giving the good quality wet foods from Zooplus where many of our members choose to buy their foods. Go for foods that are lower in carbs than 10%.

    https://www.zooplus.co.uk/shop/cats/cat_litter/cats_best/14001

    Please post again if you would like more advice about foods. :)
     
    #2 chillminx, Jun 26, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2020
    koop likes this.
  3. koop

    koop PetForums Newbie

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    @chillminx
    Thank you so much for your very detailed post.
    I will be referring back to it a number of times!

    I do scoop the poo literally straight away soon as he has come out the tray.

    The litter is non clumping, as in it resembles gravel/stones, the website says its 'natural quartz sand and chalk' So when the kitty goes for a wee you can see where hes been because its damp but not clumped. When he goes for a poop the stones etc will cover it/stick to it. I think a clumping one may be better for reasons you stated, because at the moment its harder to scoop the damp litter as it doesn't clump, making it less fresh etc. So I will definately look into your recommendations!

    Regarding the dry food, should I still leave it out all day for him to snack as he pleases? Or remove food completely and give him wet food 3-4 times a day? At the moment I give him wet 3 times a day (morning 9-10am, afternoon 2-3pm and evening 7-8pm?) and leave dry out all day for him. I heard dry was good for their teeth.
    I will definately look to get better wet food online and even a couple of bigger litter trays.

    Yet again thank you very much for your time and advice, much appreciated :)
     
  4. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    @koop

    It isn't a good idea to leave dry food out all day for the kitten to snack on. Cats are not grazing animals like cows or sheep. Being carnivores they are better with proper meals and then a rest between meals while they digest their food. It is better for their digestion.

    Unfortunately dry food is not good for teeth. There is no scientific or anecdotal evidence it is any better than wet food. When a cat eats dry food it is mostly swallowed whole or crunched once and then swallowed. It goes nowhere near the gum line where the plaque collects. It would be like saying that eating savoury biscuits is good for human teeth, when we know it is not.

    Dental health in cats is largely a matter of genetics, but you can help nature by cleaning your kitten's teeth every few days with a pet's toothbrush. If you start young he will accept it. There are some good videos on Youtube showing how to clean a cat's teeth correctly.

    At his age I would feed him 4 or 5 meals a day of wet food, e.g. breakfast, lunch, tea, supper, and maybe a 5th meal left for him overnight in a timed auto-feeder set to open around 5 am. I don't let kittens go longer than 8 or 9 hours without a meal, as they can get dehydrated. Cats are not great drinkers of water. And kittens with their tiny tummies are even less good at drinking enough water.
     
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