Potty training puppies has been a topic more than once on this blog. Trying to be consistent enough to teach your puppy that going outside is good and that inside is bad while being blind was one of the biggest challenges for me when raising a new puppy. When Mr. K said he wanted a kitten, one of the things that won me over in the end was that they pretty much come litter trained, and in our kitten's case, he was most certainly litter trained.
Around about seven weeks most kittens are reliably litter trained. Mom knows what she's doing and she teaches her babies well. Sometimes kittens can have "accidents" just like puppies, but for different reasons. Sometimes they don't like the new litter or perhaps they are used to an open litter tray and the new one is a covered one. Thankfully, Rufio had no problems at all with the new litter and Mr. K put the lid and door on the box in stages in order to make the transition easier for him. There really isn't a lot of human interference needed. Admittedly, just having to scoop the box, which Mr. K has taken responsibility for, is also much easier than having to take an extra body out to "go." It's taken me almost a year to have Hermione to the point where she lets me know she has to go. She used to just pop a squat if I didn't get the message, but now she barks at me. But again, it took a long time. So, when my kitten started telling us he "had to go" I was completely shocked and quite thankful.
Rufio is not like any other cat that I've met. Perhaps it's his breed or perhaps he's just a unique little guy, but he loves being with his people and does everything in his power to be where you are. He also likes to be with his doggie friends and does everything in his power to be with them too. That means, that he comes into the living room and hangs out with us. The only issue is that his litter box is set up in a different room and I shut the door to the living room to keep the dogs from scattering about the flat and also to keep them from barking at people making noise in the shared stairwell. When we first brought Rufio home I tried to figure out just how we would make sure he had access to his box, all the while keeping everyone else in check, but just couldn't come up with a way. We had thought baby gate, but that wouldn't keep the noise level down and wouldn't keep the barking down. So, I just started letting him out every once in a while to give him time to go use the litter box if he needed.
The thing is, I really didn't need to worry. Unlike Hermione, it took Rufio only a matter of days to teach us his "I gotta go" cue. The first time it happened, I wasn't entirely sure what was happening, but after a time or two and by comparing notes with Mr. K, we came to the conclusion that Rufio definitely lets us know when he has to go. And let me tell you, he's not subtle about it.
Just the other night, he became very adamant about his need to go. I hadn't opened the door in a while and he had just had some food before coming in to hang out with us. I had been on the floor playing with the dogs, and ultimately the cat too, when he began racing about the living room like his a** was on fire and meowing over and over again. At first I didn't know what he was doing. We had just been playing and so I thought this was just a new part of the game. But, when I sat down on the couch and he continued to run zoomies around the living room, yelling his little head off, I realised he was desperate. I promptly got off the couch and opened the living room door for him. He did one more frantic circuit around the room and then shot out the door towards his room, still shouting. He continued his steady stream of meowing until he got to the box. All I heard was the slamming shut of his litter box door, one more muffled meow and all was quiet. He emerged minutes later and came to sit silently on the couch with Otis and I.
I always knew he was a vocal cat, but didn't know just how vocal. Mr. K had told me that he yelled until he got into the litter box, reminding us of a little kid doing a pee dance and singing about their desperation, but I had never witnessed that part of his "I gotta go" routine until the other night. I have to tell you, it's quite convenient that our kitten lets me know he has to go and not to mention quite comical. He's even started shouting about his need even if he's not locked in somewhere. You know Rufio's on a mission when he goes tearing past you, a song of desperation emitting from his little fuzzy body. The end of the performance always comes with a slam from the box door and one more muffled meow.