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Kittens playing in litter tray.

Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by londonkittens, Sep 28, 2013.


  1. londonkittens

    londonkittens PetForums Junior

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    Our kittens are nearly 8 weeks old. They were birthed in a cleaned out igloo style litter box and spent their first few weeks there. When they got to 4 or so weeks, the guy who owned the mother half filled the litter tray with litter, so they would learn to go. They were still sleeping in there at the time. (Yes I know)

    We've had them a week now. They are absolutely excellent at using the tray and we have had no accidents at all. However, they seem to think it's a playpen. They playfight in there, roll about, and I've even caught them playing with clumps of litter (World's Best so kitten safe clumping). The tray is in a quiet part of our home (in the bathroom) so completely away from their bed, food and toys, yet they still enjoy a play in there, I assume because they got used to it in their first home. It means that, unless I am extremely quick on the uptake, I'm having to clean kittie poo out of fur and paws as, while one goes to the toilet, the other prepares to pounce!

    I'm loathe to remove them from the tray unless they are obviously just playing, because they are still so young and at that stage where any use of the tray is accompanied by lots of digging and fuss, and I would hate to accidentally remove them if they were preparing to go. Obviously I cannot restrict access to the tray, so my question is - is this normal? I've only had fully grown rescue cats before, and they've all been in and out the tray as quick as possible. Is there anything I should do, or is it just a phase they will outgrow? I'm not bothered about it really - I'm not phased by kitten poo, but just concerned it's not good for them. They are fully wormed etc.
     
  2. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Young kittens often do play in their litter tray, so there may be an element of that with yours, but I think the fact the breeder put cat litter in their bed he'd adapted from a litter tray, has also encouraged them to think of the tray as a play pen. :( (I've never heard of such inappropriate & warped behaviour before by a breeder -- one wonders why on earth he could not have provided a separate litter tray :mad2::mad2:)

    I have 2 x 4.5 month old kittens at present. They do sometimes pounce on each other in the litter tray, or one will rush in to use it straight after the other one before the first one has had a chance to bury the poo! Even though the other tray is there and clean waiting to be used! :)

    I am providing 2 large covered trays for my 2 kittens, and this is really the minimum. But as your 2 are playing in the tray I would provide 3 to be on the safe side, and ensure they are all deep enough to put in a good depth of litter so the poo can be well buried. This will mean less likelihood of them getting poo on their paws or fur. But if they do, some unscented baby wipes should be used to clean it off. Or a No-rinse cat shampoo.

    I agree you certainly should never take them out of the litter tray. It could lead to all kinds of problems with them refusing to toilet in the tray. The best thing is if they are playing in the tray is to distract them either with a toy like Da Bird, or else call them from the kitchen and then give them a few treats. This means you'll be combining training in "coming when called" as well as distracting them from playtime in the tray. :)

    I do think, in time as they grow, they will lose interest in the tray as a playpen. Their natural instincts will take over and tell them a toilet is not the place to play.
     
  3. londonkittens

    londonkittens PetForums Junior

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    Thank you Chillminx :)

    They have 2 trays, one in the bathroom and then one in their 'den' in the spare room (which is the safe place for them to be unsupervised). They just play in/lie in the second tray unless they really need to go overnight (there's a rush for the bathroom tray when we let them out first thing). The only place for a third tray would be the kitchen, which is then by their food, or the living room which is their main playing area, so I think that would encourage them to play in it more.

    I'm hoping they grow out of it. I hesitate to call their first owner a 'breeder'. He's just a guy who let his (too young IMO) female cat get pregnant. :( if we hadn't taken the little fellows they'd be at a rescue right now. But at the same time I'm kinda glad it happened because we now have two amazing additions to our family :)

    And thanks for the tip on Da Bird. I already have a 3 fish rod thing which they go mental for (they get 2 periods of play on it a day), but I just ordered Da Bird from Amazon, as I know they will go crazy for it.
     
  4. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    As they are using their tray in their safe room at night to lie in/sleep in, I would put another tray in there too, so if they want to regard one tray as a bed for now, they do have the other tray in which to toilet. It would not be good for them to *hold on* too long, as it results in very concentrated urine and could cause bladder irritation or cystitis.

    Well done for rescuing the kits and saving them from going to a Shelter! :)
    Let's hope and pray the "breeder" (I use the term loosely:)) has had the sense to get his female cat spayed by now.:(
     
  5. londonkittens

    londonkittens PetForums Junior

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    Thanks Chillminx. I'll give that a try and see if they take to it, or just think "look, another playpen to dig about in!" :biggrin5:
     
  6. gentoo1980

    gentoo1980 PetForums Member

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    I'm having same problem. It's got much worst since I changed to a different litter and now I've given them a high sided litter pan they just see it as another play area.

    I empied a 8 litre litter bag into it last night and the famle kitten went nutts. I removed her three times but now realise after reading chilminx's reply that I shouldn't do this.

    I did feel stupid. Spent three weeks constantly placing them in the litter and now the last removing them.

    I was hoping it would stop when worlds best Oko gets delivered but I see you use it too. I'm also waiting for a flying frenzy toy so hopfully that will entise them out of the tray.
     
  7. londonkittens

    londonkittens PetForums Junior

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    Firstly, thanks for the Da Bird rec. They adore it!

    Gentoo, I feel your pain! We had a rather gross rolling in poo incident on Wednesday night that necessitated a bath yesterday. So far the third tray is also being used as a playpen, I've tried removing the lid in case it's the enclosed environment that is prompting it (they both love hideyholes), but they're secured in their quiet area as we speak as I've just washed the floors and I can hear them rolling about in the tray right now. :nonod:
     
  8. gentoo1980

    gentoo1980 PetForums Member

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    I read your bath post the other day. Luckily I've managed so far to remove poo with sent free baby wipes. They've actauly seemed to have stopped now. I'm not sure if it's because one of my other cats have started using their tray. Figure maybe they don't mind rolling around in their own filth but maybe they've drawn a line at other cats. Does that sound right?

    Hopfull they've just grown out of it.

    The oko has been delivered but I'm not going to use it yet as got a feeling it might get them playing in it again.
     
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