Is it a bad sign that my kittens aren't liiter box consistent?

Not Jackson Galaxy

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I have 2 beautiful 8.5 week old rescue kittens. Picked them up from the shelter on Sunday. Since then they have been very hit and miss with the litter box. Monday one kitten pooped on the horizontal scratcher. Yesterday I put him in the tray and he pooped there and I was really pleased.

Mostly they've been peeing in the box but today the same kitten peed on the horizontal scratcher.

Should I be doing anything more?
 

moxiewild

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This is totally normal for a kittens this age, and they will very likely become more consistent within the next few weeks.

Did the shelter tell you what their litterbox habits were when you adopted them?

A few thoughts -

Have the kittens been neutered yet? If not, this could potentially help.

How many litterboxes do you have?

How much of the house do the kittens have access to? Are they confined to one room right now?

It can help to add an extra litterbox or two when they are young. Sometimes they haven’t quite learned when to determine that they need to go until it’s time to go. Having litterboxes scattered about until they get the hang of it can help them until they develop a bit more.

You could also try different types of litter or boxes (make sure the sides of the boxes are not too high). Dr. Elsey’s Kitten Attract might help, too.

For the most part, it will likely resolve with time, though.

Have they received a general checkup with your vet yet? Or will they soon?
 

ArtNJ

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Use an enzyme cleaner to get rid of the smell. Might be a good idea to keep them off the bed, or at least remove the bedding during the day. Loose bedding that can be kneeded beneath the paws increases the chance of accidents. Avoid leaving clothing on the floor or the bed. Avoid leaving towels on the floor. Watch your bathmats. Stuff that can be kneaded between the paws is a frequent spot for accidents.

I've had several kittens that were like 90-95% for urine or a bit and agree it can be normal. I've not had much deliberate stray pooping from kittens though - not sure if that might be different.
 

di and bob

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They will 'get it' in time. They are babies, scared, and too busy exploring new surroundings to make it to the litter box. When things like this happen, it is better to confine them to a small room until they consistently use the box. You can let them out when you can watch them. Set them in the box after they eat and when they wake up from a nap. If the scratcher is cardboard, the smell is most likely permanent and they will return to it to go. It is something rectangular on the floor, they think it is a litter box. Use a good cat urine enzyme cleaner, soak it thoroughly and set it out in the sun. That may do it, it would help too to soak it, dry it and turn it over in its holder to present a new side. They are glued on the underneath but can be flipped. You are doing nothing wrong, just be consistent. As they get a little older they will instinctively use the litter, it just takes time. In the meantime enjoy the little ones, and bless you for taking them in!
 
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Not Jackson Galaxy

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Thank you thank you thank you!
To answer your questions:

The shelter gave me some shredded paper to put in the box, said they were more settled on that. I have given them wood pellets under the paper and that seems ok. They mostly play with the paper.

They're too young to be neutered just yet apparently so we're going to book that in asap.

We have 2 litter boxes next to each other - they do tend to follow each other to the boxes to pounce and play. They are boxes for kittens so nice and low sided.

They are shut in the kitchen and their litter boxes are in the adjoining utility room

I have cat attract - would that work the same for kittens? Great idea.

The sanctuary they came from has a vet's attached so I think they were well catered for there. They are booked in for jabs on Friday.
 
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Not Jackson Galaxy

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We had 3 good days until this morning when I think both of them went outside the box! One was in a corner the farthest away from the boxes you could get, and the other went in a tiny cardboard box that was nearby i'd put there for them to play in while I was flushing their poo that i'd scooped. I was starting to think that we'd allow them out of the kitchen but that's a set back to that.
 

di and bob

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You are bound to have setbacks, just like with children. They'll get the hang of it. You could allow them out with supervised outings, put them in a box every hour or so.
 

klunick

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Thank you thank you thank you!
To answer your questions:

The shelter gave me some shredded paper to put in the box, said they were more settled on that. I have given them wood pellets under the paper and that seems ok. They mostly play with the paper.

They're too young to be neutered just yet apparently so we're going to book that in asap.

We have 2 litter boxes next to each other - they do tend to follow each other to the boxes to pounce and play. They are boxes for kittens so nice and low sided.

They are shut in the kitchen and their litter boxes are in the adjoining utility room

I have cat attract - would that work the same for kittens? Great idea.

The sanctuary they came from has a vet's attached so I think they were well catered for there. They are booked in for jabs on Friday.
Maybe not have both boxes next to each other. I did that when I first got my two at 8 weeks and like you, they saw them as play areas ( although I was lucky that from day 1 they also used them for their intended purpose). Put them in the same general area but not next to each other. Like one on one side of the room and the other on the other side.
 
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Not Jackson Galaxy

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Thank you for your advice and reassurance! Yes I think i'll move box no.2 a few feet away, the utility room isn't big but a bit of separation I can do.
 
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