Written by: Pack Member, Natalie
Let’s face it, cats are fussy.
While some kitties take to change with a gung ho attitude, others, like my Lily, will sulk under the couch for hours if I dare make the smallest adjustment to her daily routine. But before I get into the nitty gritty of this blog, I should probably introduce myself! My name is Natalie, and I’m the servant…I mean caretaker…to four very different felines. So today, I’ll be talking about changing brands of litter, and how to avoid bathroom backlash from your cat.
Take it Slow
Imagine going into your bathroom to find your toilet is a foot shorter, bright yellow, and feels like sandpaper! You’d probably be pretty concerned and a little freaked out. Maybe you wouldn’t want to sit on that toilet at all! Most cats, like most people, don’t appreciate a sudden change let alone a seismic change in their bathroom experience. So, just like you wouldn’t suddenly switch your kitties to a different brand of food, it’s best not to suddenly switch to a totally new litter brand.
How to Change Litter
My preferred method for switching litter brands is to put about a one inch layer of new litter in the bottom of a freshly cleaned or brand new litter box, and put another couple inches of old, familiar litter on top of that initial litter. When I do this with my cats, it enables them to come into contact with the litter slowly, and they “discover” it when digging. Now, my cats celebrate the new discovery by very enthusiastic pawing, which usually ends up leaving litter everywhere, but it’s important not to discipline them or get upset if your kitty does create a mess like mine do. We want their first encounter with the litter to be uneventful, and hopefully a little fun for them.
If they continue using the box without complaint, you can gradually add in more and more of the new litter (I would do a couple cups of the new litter after scooping in the evening) until the old litter has been completely replaced. For my cats, I can generally make the transition in five days, but if your feline is especially sensitive, ten days might be a better time frame.
Praise the Transition but be Subtle
Even though it’s tempting to watch your cat and/or monitor them heavily, it’s best if you just leave them alone and let them adjust without fussing over them. However, a few treats and some low key praise may be in order as they leave the box. Definitely don’t surprise them, but make the experience casual and pleasant. Since Lily is such a snob about the box sometimes, I like to casually walk by and drop a few treats on the ground just as she’s exiting the box, and the treat offering is accompanied by a soft “good kitty” as she gobbles them up!
Patience and persistence always win!
Transitioning to a new litter can sound daunting especially if your cat is hard to please or emotionally delicate. As with all things cat, patience and a little ingenuity is needed, but just be persistent and your cat will adjust with time. By following these steps, you will be laying the foundation for a seamless litter change. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or anyone else on staff for advice on transitioning to a new litter!