When changing cat litter brands, it’s important to do so strategically so your cat stays comfortable. If you’re Google-ing how to successfully switch cat litters, then you’re aware that cats aren’t fond of change and that a new type of litter may have your cat turning up their nose at the litter box.
This article shares the steps to take when changing cat litters and tips to help it go smoothly.
HOW TO CHANGE CAT LITTER
When changing a cat’s litter it’s important to do so slowly, so your cat has a chance to become familiar with the texture and smell of the new litter. A small amount of litter mixed with the old litter and slowly increasing the ratio over a few weeks will help your cat adjust.
Start with a decent understanding of your cat’s litter box behaviour so you’re more aware of any changes and can back off or slow down on litter changes as needed.
STEP 1: SPRINKLE A SMALL AMOUNT OF LITTER IN THE BOTTOM
Cat litter should be changed with fresh litter typically every 2 – 4 weeks, but it depends on the litter. When it’s time to dump the old litter out and replace it with fresh litter, do so as planned by cover the bottom of the litter box with the new brand of litter, then add a couple of inches of their existing litter brand on top. Make sure you’re not over-filling or under-filling the litter box, as that can also lead to litter box aversion.
This will help your cat get used to the smell of the new litter, without being overwhelmed by the change. And when they dig around in their litter box, they’ll mix the two types of litter together and slowly get used to the new texture of the litter.
Even if you’re using a new litter that’ completely different from their old litter, you’ll still want to introduce it slowly. For example, if you’ve been using a clumping clay litter and you’re transitioning to a pellet litter, the clay and pellets don’t exactly work well together.
STEP 2: HALF & HALF
When it’s time to refresh the litter again, this time fill the litter box half way with the new type of litter and then top it up with the old brand of litter. This will mix in more new smells and textures for your cat to get used to until the next litter refresh.
If you need to/want to move faster and don’t want to wait 2 – 4 weeks to increase how much of the new brand of litter you use, you can simply pour a portion of the litter out after a week and top it up with the new litter to increase the ratio of it.
STEP 3: SPRINKLE OLD LITTER ON BOTTOM
This time, when you toss the litter and fill the litter box with fresh litter, put their old brand on the bottom, just enough to cover it, then fill the rest of the box up with their new litter. Your cat will still be able to smell and feel their old litter but they’ll become more familiar with the new litter.
STEP 4: USE ONLY NEW LITTER
Now you can fill the litter box completely with the new litter. Steps 1 – 3 have likely happened over a matter of weeks, so your cat has been given lots of time to suss out the new litter and shouldn’t be shocked by having a litter box full of it.
STEP 5: KEEP AN EYE ON THE SITUTATION
It’s important to monitor your cat’s litter box behaviour in the coming weeks to ensure they’re still using the litter box. If your cat typically peed in the litter box twice a day and pooped once, be sure to pay attention if that frequency is continuing after switching litters.
If you’re noticing they’re still pooping in the litter box but don’t seem to be peeing in it as much, make sure they’re not finding another spot in the house to pee.
IS IT BAD TO CHANGE YOUR CAT’S LITTER?
Although cats aren’t fond of change, it’s not bad to change your cat’s litter, especially if you’re choosing a new litter that’s better for their health and theirs. A new litter will take time for both you and your cat to adjust to. As long as you give it time, your cat will be happy in the end.
Here are a few more tips to make changing their litter successful.
CHOOSE A GOOD LITTER
Although clumping clay litters are popular, they’re not always the best for our cats. Dusty formulas can cause respiratory issues, and your cat may not appreciate a scented formula. Clay and silicon litters also create a lot of waste for our environment.
Pellet litters take some getting used to but they are a more natural option and most are better for your health, your cat’s health, and the environment.
If you’re changing cat litter, do so for an improvement to your cat’s health and yours.
We can speculate, but we truly don’t know what’s going on in our cat’s heads. When you think about how small a cat’s world is (typically just the inside of your house) and how they don’t get much control over it, you can understand how much stress they may feel from a small change.
Imagine if you walked into your bathroom one day and it was completely renovated. It would take some time to get used to it. And if you don’t like the changes that were made, you’d feel upset.
If your cat is feeling any amount of stress, they’ll appreciate you helping to take their mind off it. When implementing any change in your cat’s life, even just trying a new litter, be sure to give them extra love and attention.
Give them a little more credit when they use the litter box so they feel like “maybe this isn’t so bad” and more attention, affection, and playtime away from the litter box. The more ease they feel in their lives, the less stress they’ll feel when it comes to their litter.
TRY AN ATTRACTOR
You may want to try a product that helps attract your cat to the litter box, such as this one. Or even a spray, such as this one, or diffuser, such as this one, that will use “good” pheromones to help calm your cat when they’re near the litter box. These may help the transition go smoother.
I hope this article will help you successfully change cat litter 🙂