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How To Switch Cat Litter

Switching Cat Litter (Complete Guide)

There are so many reasons that you might be wanting to switch to a new cat litter. Whether you are worried about the environmental impact of traditional litter or are looking for a litter that reduces tracking, there are so many valid reasons for making a change. Switching the cat litter that your cat uses to a new kind or different brand can seem like a daunting task. 

Cats can be very particular and picky about their bathroom habits and if you don’t transition properly, your cat might not react well to the change. The key to the entire process is patience. If you can make small and subtle changes to what litter they use, it will eventually lead to your cat accepting a completely new litter full-heartedly.

Steps For Switching Cat Litter

Step 1wood pellets litter

For the first step, you are going to select the new kind of cat litter that you think will work for both you and your cat the best. Many pet owners are transitioning towards using more eco-friendly and natural litter from clay litter. Some people want to make their life easier by finding an option that is easier to clean. If you want to learn more about reasons to change, check out the section we have covering that below. 

Taking your time to figure out this part is crucial. Going through the transitioning process is tough once, if you make the wrong decision and have to end up switching litters twice, that is going to suck. Carefully research all your options to figure out what suits the needs of you and your cat.

Step 2

Now, that you have picked the litter you would like to switch to, it is time to begin the transition. We want to ease your cat into getting used to their new type of litter. To do this, just start by covering the bottom of the litter box with the new kind of litter and then fill it to the regular litter depth with the litter your cat is accustomed to. If you usually put two inches of litter in the pan, layer about half an inch of the new litter on the bottom and put one and a half inches of the old litter on top. 

Just by making this small adjustment, your cat can start to get used to the smell, texture, and overall feel of the new kitty litter without having too large of a shock to their system. Don’t worry about mixing the old and new litter together as your cat will do this themselves as they go to the litter box. 

If your cat starts to act up and has problems such as eliminating outside the box, then ease off the new litter and make the introduction even more subtle. In this step, we are just trying to introduce your cat to the new litter but still allow them to have comfort in using their current litter.

Step 3

If your cat is okay with having a little bit of the new litter mixed in with the old litter, it is time to gradually start to increase the ratio of new to old. Every time that you have to completely change out the litter, slowly increase the amount of new litter that you put in while slowly decreasing the amount of old litter in the box. At each extra progression, your cat should slowly get used to the new litter until eventually they are completely comfortable with it. 

During this stressful time of changing cat litter, your cat might not like the changes and will sometimes eliminate in areas other than the box. This is expected, keep soldiering along, your cat will eventually be comfortable with the new litter.

Step 4

After gradually increasing the amount of new litter you put in your cat’s box after changing the litter every week or so, eventually your cat’s litter box will consist only of the new litter. Hooray!

Reasons To Switch Cat LitterCat laying in litter box

There are plenty of reasons that make switching cat litter a good decision. One of the most common reasons is people want to try out a more budget-friendly litter. Since litter is a recurring expense, saving just a couple of dollars per bag adds up to be a lot over the course of a year. Some cat owners might be switching from a non-clumping to a clumping cat litter to make their scooping and cleaning a lot easier. 

If you are experiencing problems with your cat eliminating outside their litter box and you have properly gone through all the reasons for why your cat may be doing this, something to look into is the type of kitty litter. Just switching could fix this problem. 

Another common reason that people transition is that some cats actually eat their litter and for some kinds of litter this is a serious problem. Specifically, clay litter can cause bad obstructions in the digestive tract. 

Switching can sometimes be recommended by a veterinarian. For example, if your cat recently got declawed then you might temporarily change to a paper kitty litter to ensure they keep using the litter box, or if you learn that your cat has asthma switching to a dust-free litter might ease their symptoms.


Is it bad to switch cat litter?

Switching cat litter is not an inherently bad thing and if you are patient with the process, it should not be that difficult.

How do I switch my cat to a new litter box?

Replacing your old litter box with a new one is a lot easier than switching out the type of litter. Litter boxes typically need to be replaced annually. First off, you should put the old litter box next to the new one and just let them see it and get used to it. At this point, don’t pressure them to use the replacement. Give this new adjustment a little time. In the next phase, the main goal is to make your cat’s new litter box look as appealing as possible. To do this, you can scoop your cat’s new litter box every time they use it while leaving the other one dirty and not scooped. This may entice your cat to follow their instincts to be clean and hopefully, they opt to go to the new cat litter box.

Can I mix two different cat litters?

In most situations, yes, you can mix two different litters. Mixing clumping and non-clumping litter will not work perfectly, but for the purpose of transitioning, it should be fine.


Transitioning is really not that hard if you just take your time to ensure your cat can adjust to their new kind of litter.