How to Switch Cat Litter Brands

| June 7, 2016 | 4 Comments

How to Switch Cat Litter Brands

Caymus doing his duty in the NVR Miss Litter Box (two are stacked together here)Switching your cat’s litter should not be undertaken lightly – cats are creatures of habit, so the change could cause stress that can be hard to undo even if you change back to your old litter brand. But a change might be necessary if your current litter is causing problems for either you or your cat. If you do need to make a switch, here are a few insights and tips to keep in mind for how to get your cat to use new litter:

Switching to a Better Brand of Cat Litter

There are a few different reasons why you might want to switch to a new or better brand of cat litter:

  • You are experiencing an allergic reaction to the litter, or the smell is too strong.
  • You want to switch to a clumping brand of litter, which makes cleaning easier.
  • You want to switch from scented to unscented litter, as the perfumes in scented litter can be offensive to cats.
  • You are adopting a cat or kitten and need to transition them off of the less desirable brand a breeder or shelter used.
  • You want to switch to a more environmentally friendly brand.
  • Your preferred brand is no longer available in stores.

Aside from these practical pet owner reasons, your cat itself might also give you some signs that they want a change, including:

  • Discomfort with digging or not burying their waste
  • Trying to put as few paws as possible inside the box when using it
  • Scratching next to the box
  • Going right next to the litter box

If your cat is doing any of these, this could mean that they find their litter unappealing because of scent, texture, depth or some other factor, and you might be able to make the transition to a new brand more quickly than you would if you were doing it for your own reasons.

Switching Because of Litter Box Avoidance

One major reason for a switch is if your cat is not using the litter box or only uses it sometimes. This could be a sign that they really don’t like the brand of litter you’re using, so it is best to act quickly. Try either changing 100% of the litter in their box, or putting a new box with a different brand next to the old, and they will make it clear which one they prefer – whatever method it takes to get them back to using the box.

How to Switch Brands

With the exception of serious litter box avoidance problems, the change should usually be made gradually. If you are changing litter brands for a newly adopted or rehomed kitty, you need to first give them some time to get used to your home, and in general it is good to try and lower other stressors for any cat during this process. Usually, you can introduce the change over a four-week period:

Week 1 – 25% new litter, 75% old litter
Week 2 – 50% new litter, 50% old litter
Week 3 – 75% new litter, 25% old litter
Week 4 – 100% new litter

Only continue to progress if your cat is adjusting and continuing to use the litter box as normal at each stage. The length of this process can actually vary, and mostly depends on how your cat is reacting; World’s Best Cat Litter suggests the above method in one-third amounts, rather than one-fourth.

The key to changing litter brands is to observe your cat’s reactions and let them dictate the speed of the transition. If they aren’t comfortable with the changes, slow down and give them time to adjust in smaller increments.

What were some signs that your cat wanted a different litter brand? Do you have any suggestions for how to switch cat litter brands with minimal stress? How long did the process take? Share your tips here!

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Category: Litter Box, Poo

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About the Author ()

Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

Comments (4)

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  1. Great post, Jenny! I’ve never had any litter issue problems with any of our previous kittehs or Miss Pink Sugarbelle. Before learning of Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Litter here on Floppycats, I was using Tidycat litter for years and years. When we brought Miss PSB home we were using Tidycat at that time, too, with no problems. When I switched to Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Litter I just did a massive dump and swap. Miss PSB didn’t blink an eye. She used the new litter replacement without issue. We were very lucky about that! 🙂 <3

    Big hugs!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3

  2. Lyn Johnson says:

    Thanks so much for this information. I’ll be getting a kitten in a few weeks. The breeder is currently using Tidy Cat Light (doesn’t have good reviews). I want to be able to use Dr Elsey’s Precious Cat Ultra (in the blue bag), which I used for a previous cat I once had. I already have a couple bags of the Dr Elsey’s litter, so I’ll add 25% of that litter to the Tidy Cat Light (which comes in a jug) for the first week, and then change out gradually as you recommend.

    On an aside, what do you suggest (do you have another post about this?) for changing out the dry food for the kitten? The breeder uses Royal Canin Dry kitten food. He said he feeds the cats and kittens what they prefer — some like wet food, some like a combination of wet and dry, and some like only dry. The kitten I’m getting prefers dry. I know you recommend wet over dry food. How do I switch out a kitten from the dry food recommended by the breeder to a wet food? I don’t want to make a change too fast and make her sick.

  3. Teresa Reid says:

    Thanks so much for the great tips on switching litter! That is a really hard thing to do especially if you have multiple cats with totally different likes and dislikes. Think the key to so go very slowly and might even have to go back several steps if they balk until they are comfortable to proceed again. ♥♥♥

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