When caring for a kitten, or any baby for that matter, you'll quickly get used to one thing for sure - and that's poop.
We always have a bunch of kittens running around and it can feel like their only mission is to find new and creative places to track their poopy paws. When we first started fostering, we spent most of our days cleaning up poop. Over the years, this has become less of an issue for us though.
One reason is because I feed a raw food diet, which has been the biggest game-changer when it comes to quality of poop (not a sentence I ever thought I would type).
The other reason is because we’ve spent a lot of time trying out different litter box setups. We’re lucky to have plenty of eager volunteers who will test out any fresh litter box within moments of it opening for business.
In my pursuit to find the perfect solution, here are the litter boxes I keep coming back to:
“Little help please?” (0 – 3 weeks)
At this age, kittens can’t poop or pee on their own. Mom is in charge of keeping them clean – she does this by licking them to stimulate their bladders and bowels.
Since I play the role of Mom for most of our fosters, I mimic this process by gently rubbing their bellies with wet wipes or toilet paper. This stimulates them to poop and pee.
I use unscented baby wipes like Water Wipes or Pampers Sensitive. I like them because they’re soothing, economical and gentle enough for their tiny bottoms. I also use toilet paper but I try to stay away from the rough stuff.
Potty trainers (3 – 4 weeks)
At three weeks, kittens are more mobile and are usually able to go on their own. The biggest challenge at this age is “hitting the target” so I start them with a simple, disposable setup – a small box or tray on top of single-use wee-wee pads. We switch to reusable pads once we’re confident in their accuracy.
If you feed canned wet food, you can use the cardboard tray they come on. Since I feed a raw food diet (you can read more about why here), I mostly use disposable medical dishes or small litter boxes like this one.
I’m sure there are plenty of other creative ideas. You just need something with a low lip so it’s easy for them to climb into, yet still contains the litter.
**UPDATE** I recently bought this low-lip litter box and I love it! Even though it’s marketed towards senior cats, it works just as well for the little guys. It’s a little pricey but it’s durable, easy to clean and comes in several colors and sizes. It’s now my go-to litter box for this age. We have the largest size in Beach Sand and are going to pick up another one soon.
Eat, sleep, play and poop (5 – 7 weeks)
By this age, the kittens are well-versed in pooping in a box and are becoming skilled at running, jumping and climbing. They’re also eating a ton which is why we focus our litter box strategy on handling bulk deliveries.
Our go-to for this age is a cement mixing pan. Yes, a cement mixing pan. If you can look past the color options (just one: black), you’ll see that it’s super easy to clean, extremely affordable and pretty much indestructible.
There are a couple different sizes – we use the medium ones which measures 28″ long, 20″ wide and 6″ high. And if you ever need to mix some cement, it will save you a trip to the home improvement store. My current one is from Home Depot and it can be found here.
Some privacy please (8 weeks and up)
A couple of years ago, I went to a friends house and saw her top-entry Modkat litter box. I had never seen a top-entry litter box before and was immediately jealous! I reached out to Modkat and several other top-entry litter box brands but, unfortunately, they all said the same thing – their products would be too big for a two-pound kitten.
I was super excited when I found out that Iris came out with this Medium Top Entry Litter Box, which is perfect for kittens starting around 7 to 8 weeks. At this age, the kittens can easily jump in and out of it.
I love it because it reduces litter tracking, keeps odor down and provides them more privacy (which I’m sure they welcome, after having to poop in the cement pan for the past few weeks!).
I recommend the Medium Top Entry Litter Box to all my adopters as the litter box they should start with. For older or larger cats, I’d suggest upgrading to the bigger size – I mean, who wants to use a cramped bathroom? It comes in a few slick colors: white/beige, black/gray, dark gray/white and orange/brown.