a question about cats and litter box training

My aunt had a 98 year old neighbor seen me carrying our bi weekly purchase of 30 lbs of litter ) and she was talking about how at one time you just let the cat out until they came up with cat litter in the 30s/40s and she stated its easier to train a cat to use the box than back then because they seem to so used to it

I know these days most people train their cats to use the litter box as soon as their eyes open Or sometimes mom cat will do it herself (in fact that’s how the anima l shelters here can tell a difference between a true stray cat and a run away/lost pet a pet will use the box even if the cat’s been outside for years I guess ))
My question is this : can that knowledge be passed through birth to the point that one day cats will just use the box automacially like an evolved trait ?

My siamese uses the toilet. I never trained her. Her box was by a toilet we have in the basement, and she did it on her own. Now if she would just flush and clean it regularly, she would the perfect pet!

Cats instinctually bury their “business.” Given them a place to do it, in a quiet corner, not heavily trafficked, and not already filthy and overladen, but with a slight smell of use for that purpose, a cat will choose to go there. Most people put cat boxes in tucked away corners, or little used rooms for their own aesthete, but it serves the cat well too. A truly feral adult cat will want to go outside, but if forced to stay in will often capitulate, and use the litter box, but only when it’s very clean, and not if it’s perfumed, or has a lid on it. Feral Kittens, on the other hand, will tend toward using a litter box if they are kept in.

We had what we were pretty sure was a kitten from a feral mother, whose mother had been hit by a car, and she was a very happy indoor cat. We got her at four weeks, so she was never truly feral herself. It was a “Cat-friendly” house, with lots of things to climb on, lots of perches, and window seats. She never came to the door and tried to go out. She used the box very reliably, except twice when she had bladder infections.

When introducing a new cat, keep the box extra clean, and remove the top, if it has one. Also, if it’s a high box, consider whether a tiny kitten can get into it easily; you might want to buy some of those disposable boxes, and put them next to the regular box for a while, or else, but a disposable roasting pan, and use that for a few weeks, until the kitten is bigger and starts to climb into the “big cat” potty," then toss the roaster.

We’re able to ‘teach’ cats to use a litter box so easily because using one appeals to instincts they already have. It was probably the cats who taught us over time that if you put down a box of sand they will use that instead of your bed.

What you’re asking about though is the question of epigenetics and inheritance. It’s been the subject of a lot of study and there isn’t a definitive answer. Some studies have suggested that in some cases, in some ways, the experience of a parent might translate to genetic information passed along to offspring but none of them as far as I know are conclusive.

I know that with my kitty, if I clean the litterbox, right afterwards I can pick him up and put him in it. He will uses it about half the time, seemingly the feeling of the sand under his claws awakens some instinct in him.

Been a cat owner all my life. Not once have I ever had to train my cats to use the litter box. They all just knew.

The Libyan Wildcat, from whence the domesticated house cat done did come from, is a desert animal … it evolved to bury it’s doo-doo in the sand … bring the wildcat indoors and they’ll seek the closest feature to sand in the house … thus the connection to it being instinctual to use the litter box … although the evidence is thin, there’s enough to make this claim not quite total bullshit on my part …

We raised two kittens from a day old, and they used the litter box instinctively.

Ditteau, in our experience.

We raised a foundling feral kitten from a wee little moggie. At first we thought she was young enough that she might need the “warm washcloth” stimulation thing that recreates mommy kitty licking, but she just mewed pitifully, pretty much saying “What are you DOING!”

When we set up a kitten-sized litter box with fresh litter she was ecstatic. Hopped in, dug around for a good long time, picked a spot, and used it perfectly.

And did, just fine, for the rest of her 16-year-long life. (I miss Necco-chan. :frowning: )

Prior to kitty litter, people sometimes used sand.

The good thing about kittens is that they come to you as litter-box-trained as they will ever be. If they aren’t, this is also the bad news.

I had one cat who would get in the litter box, stick her butt over the side, and then miss it completely. She would then make a total mess compulsively digging sand out of the box to cover her mistake. She did this routinely. She taught her kittens to do it, too, and they could never unlearn it. I mean, they were in the box, all right, and they would dig in it, and sometimes stuff went into the box, sometimes not.

I eventually found a box with high enough sides for her. A lot of those kittens (and she only had one litter, which was a big oopsie because I didn’t think she was old enough to need spaying), but those kittens pretty much had to be outdoor cats.

Maybe it was a genetic deficiency. She came from a long line of insane cats owned by one of my college professors.

Cats bury their feces to avoid the smell attracting predators. (It’s the same reason that mother cats will move their kittens to a new location a day or so after birth – the smell from byproducts of giving birth to a litter could attract predators.)

Cats are mostly solitary animals, as compared to dogs, which run in packs. So dogs do not bury their feces; it serves to mark their packs’s territory to others.

I have one adopted cat that was homeless for many years. He uses the litter box regularly, but does not bury his feces. That’s fairly common in feral cats; it’s asserting their dominance over ‘their’ territory.