Cat Hygiene – Training Your Cat To Be Clean

Cat Hygiene

Training your cat to be clean is no that difficult as cats are clean animals by nature and most of them can be successfully house-trained by the time they are eight weeks old. Kittens are usually taught by their mothers to be clean from the age of about three weeks, but there are a number of things that you can do to offer a helping hand. Be firm, consistent and, above all, don’t punish a cat that has an ‘accident’. It won’t do any good and it may cause your cat to question its trust in you.

Cats are usually fastidiously clean. Kittens learn how to keep themselves clean from watching their mothers, but owners can introduce kittens to a litter tray once they are a few weeks old.

Cat HygieneIf kittens spent all their time outside on soft earth, they wouldn’t need toilet training. Their urge to use a customary place and to dig and bury their faeces is an inborn one. They cannot, however, do this if they have nothing in which to dig, and cats that live on hard floors, will relieve themselves anywhere.


Provide a litter tray in a secluded spot from the age of two and a half weeks or they will soon establish their own location – a habit which may then be hard to break. The mother cat may pick up the kittens and place them in the tray hut, failing that, you should do it. The best time is after meals.


If your kitten has an accident, clean the area thoroughly with hot water and disinfectant. Apply white vinegar or a special-purpose chemical from a pet shop to remove the smell, or the kitten may be attracted by its own scent and use the area again.

If the kitten is allowed outside, choose a period of dry weather and move the litter tray progressively nearer the outside. Provide and teach it how to use a cat flap so it may go in and out.

Q. My cat knows how to be clean, but since the recent arrival of a new cat she often pees on the carpet. Why?

She’s reacting to the new arrival by marking her territory. Clean the soiled area thoroughly and remove all trace of her scent. You can also try feeding her close to the soiled area as a cat will rarely soil close to where she eats.

Q. My cat consistently refuses to use her litter tray. Why?

Maybe the litter is not being changed often enough, or perhaps the tray’s location is wrong. Try moving it to a quiet spot, as cats are very keen on their privacy.

Q. Should I rub a kitten’s nose in its urine or droppings after an accident?

No. It may associate that area with the scent and come to regard it as its permanent ‘toilet’.

  • An orphaned kitten is more difficult to house train.
  • Cat litter was invented by an American, Edward Lowe, in 1947. His discovery made a huge difference for the growing number of urban cat owners.
  • Cats bury their faeces in the wild in order to conceal their presence from predators.