Porky & Buddy explain ‘litter training’

Dear Porky & Buddy,

I am planning to adopt an eight-week-old kitten soon.

She will be my first pet ever and I am wondering how I go about litter training her? I helped with the toilet training of my kids when they were toddlers and I know how stressful it can be. I don’t want to make any mistakes.



Dear John,

First of all thanks for adopting your new pet. We love to hear that, especially at this time of year when every pet wants a home for the holidays! (Dear readers, Get the hint???)

Now to answer your question — all fanatical cat lovers know the secret process for litter training a kitten and we are going to share it, but only with you, just because we appreciate your decision to adopt.

Here it is … First put on your favorite slippers and nice comfy robe. Find a good book to read, get a plate of cookies and pour yourself a cup of tea or a glass of wine, or whatever, and then sit back in your favorite chair and … DON’T DO ANYTHING!

Seriously, we have to laugh when we hear people talking about “litter training” a cat. Using litter, or any other available substance, like dirt or sand, to scratch in and then cover up their waste is instinctive for cats.

Tiny kittens that can barely walk yet will do it, (although sometimes a really tiny kitten will need some prompting).

By the time it is eight weeks old all any cat needs is the litter itself. (There are sometimes other health related problems that affect litter use, but not because the cat doesn’t know how, and that’s a different question.)

The more important issue with bringing a kitten home for the first time is to make sure that she has an opportunity to adjust to her new home without becoming too stressed or frightened.

The best way to do that is to set up a “safe room” where she can go when she first comes home, an enclosed area, like a spare bedroom or bathroom, where she can easily find her food, her bed, her toys (lots of them), and, yes, her litter.

She should stay there and you should visit frequently until she seems comfortable enough to explore farther into the house.

For some kittens that could take a week — for others it will take 30 seconds — but that time to adjust can be critical to your future success with bonding with your new best friend, especially if she is a little shy.

So good luck and tell all of your friends the Oswego County Humane Society has lots of handsome, elegant, interesting and “litter trained” cats available for adoption. You can see them at oswegohumane.org.

For the entire month of December, adopt one cat more than six months old and the adoption fee is only $50. Adopt another best buddy for him or her and the  adoption fee is only $25 for the second cat.

The adoption fee for all cats over one year old is only $25 — not because they’re worth less — but only because they need homes more.

Speaking of cat litter, bring a bag of scoopable litter or a bag of dry cat or kitten food (or $5) to the American Foundry from 7 to 11 p.m. Dec. 21 for the third annual Holiday fundraiser for the Oswego County Humane Society. The night will feature the Billionaires with Tom Ciappa. A party for the animals with the party animals!

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.

Our office is at 265 W. First St., Oswego. Call 207-1070, email ochscontact@hotmail.com or visit oswegohumane.org for more information.

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