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Switch It. Switch It Good. (Switching To A New Litter)

Replacing a cat’s current litter with a new litter can go awry if it’s done in one fail swoop. Slow and gradual is usually the best approach to switching to a new type of litter because cats are creatures of habit and routine. This is true even when simply swapping one brand to another brand of clumping clay litter. They might seem identical to us, but it might smell different feel different on our cats’ paws. Many cats are overwhelmed and stressed by changes in their environment and they have an easier time accepting change when they can gradually transition.

I’ve found two approaches that go well: offering multiple boxes and mixing the two litters at first.

litter-variety

Offering a buffet of boxes

If you have the room, try placing a new litter box with the new litter right next to the existing box with the old litter. I like trying this first because if you live with a cat who immediately prefers the new litter, you can avoid the gradual blending approach.

If you’re undecided about what type of litter to use, this is an excellent approach because your cat gets to weigh in. You can offer several new boxes (while keeping the box of litter that the cat is used to), each with a different type of litter, at the same time. Or offer a different type of litter in the newer box every few weeks. (Again, it’s best to keep the cat’s current litter in his existing box in its usual place until you choose a new litter. That way if they don’t like the new litter they have an alternate place to make their deposits without going outside the boxes.)

Blending litters in the same box

Start by adding a small amount (2-3 cups) of the new litter to the existing litter. Every few days, add a bit more of the new litter. After a couple weeks, you’ll end up with more of the new litter than previous litter. Many cats don’t seem to even notice that this is happening.

This approach works best for cats who are easily overwhelmed or stressed by changes in their environment and those who are finicky about what touches their paws.

Note: this approach is more complicated when switching to or from litters that clump differently. Scooping boxes that have a mix of litters from two of the following categories is awkward: non-clumping clay or silica litter; clumping clay, wheat, or nut; non-clumping pellets of wood or paper. Be prepared for scooping the box to take longer during the transition.

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