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Switching Your Cat to a New Kitty Litter

by Marina Michaels

Generally, when switching to a new kind of kitty litter (or cat food, for that matter, though that isn't the topic of this page), it is best to make a gradual switch, over a week, so the kitties have a chance to adapt to the new litter (or food).

In the case of clumping litters, I don't recommend this process, because I feel it is vitally urgent that you remove the clumping clay kitty litter as soon as possible. And anyway, in most cases, you can switch immediately to one of the natural kitty litter alternatives without problems.

However, if you do encounter problems or resistance to the new litter in your cat, you can use an ordinary (non-clumping) clay product as an interim solution, then gradually switch your kitty over from the ordinary clay to the natural alternative. Most cats move readily from the clumping clay litter to the non-clumping clay litter without having a transition period, so you can make the change to the ordinary clay litter immediately, then take your time switching your cat over to a better alternative.

Once your cat is using the ordinary clay litter, you can use the following process to switch your kitty over to a natural alternative.

  1. To make the switch, on day one, mix in a small amount of the new litter with a larger amount of the old litter—maybe 1/8 or even 1/4 of the new litter. If your kitty accepts and uses it, proceed. If not, use less of the new litter until your cat accepts it.
  2. Gradually, over the week, changing the entire contents of the box daily, mix in more of the new litter, until by the end of the week the box is filled with the new litter.
  3. If your kitty starts to balk at using the box, back up to the mixture s/he was comfortable with and stay there a few days. Normally, however, cats are such cleanly animals that they will adjust well to any litter as long as they are introduced to it gradually.

Best of luck to you and your cat(s)!

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