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BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

Skip these litters —your cat doesn't like them anyway

Jul 28, 2023 01:31PM ● By Sara Ferguson

While your cat’s litter and box choices obviously affect your lifestyle, imagine how important it is in his life, where inside cats are forced to go where we tell them. 

Despite all the different cat litters available on the market, research confirms what most cat guardians know (or have learned the hard way): cats prefer sand-like litter. Pellets and other shapes are not what cats are drawn to.


Research also tells us that cats don’t like scented litters. Just like air fresheners and scented sprays, their ingredients have not been proven safe for humans, let alone animals. Additionally, cats rely on their sense of smell to negotiate the world and these strong odors corrupt that instinctual process. 

The best way to prevent litterbox odors is simple: scoop the box every day. No matter the ingredient, you can find clumping and scoopable litter with most brands. Non-clumping litter is dustier, so you and your cat would both breathe in more particles than you would with the clumping variety.

Clay is one of the cheaper ingredients in cat litter. It’s obtained by mining, however, so it is less sustainable than litter made from wheat or corn, or recycled paper or wood. It is also much heavier, which can be a concern for older cat guardians. 

Most renewable litters have sand-like textures, so they meet the needs of most cats. They are also usually less dusty than their clay counterparts, both during digging and in tracking. They also have more natural additives for clumping. 

Another advantage to plant-based litter is that many are flushable. This makes disposal much easier, especially for seniors. 


If you decide to try a different litter for your cat, he will always appreciate choices. Never move suddenly from one litter to another, or you could force him to go outside the box. (This advice holds for switching litter boxes too.) Offer the new litter in another familiar box to give him time to adjust. 

Once he uses the new litter, even if occasionally, you probably have his permission to transition. Add the new litter to the old at no more than 25% a day. This will give him time to get used to the new litter. 

Monitor him daily. If it seems like he’s not using the box like he did before, go back to using the old litter. Just like us, cats have preferences. That’s his only way of telling you he doesn’t like yours. 

Your job, as always, is to find the place where his preferences overlap with yours. Buy the best litter that he likes and you can afford. If you get it wrong, you may cause him litterbox issues that can take time to solve and put him at risk for being surrendered. We want to keep your cat home and happy!

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