How can you get your cat to use the new litter type

If you try a new cat litter, sometimes the cat may not like to use it. He may be reluctant to use it, or worse, avoid litter box altogether.

The reason why this happens is that cats don’t like things changing. Also, some cat litter types might be uncomfortable for your cat.

cat sniffing new litter type
The unusual scent is the top reason why cats do not like the new litter. Photo by Irina Kozorog

For example, many cats do not like pine pellet litter because of the strong odor it creates. Some cats might dislike silica litter because of the crunchy sound it creates when they step on it. Cats are weird. Or are they?

However, don’t give up if you tried a new type of litter, but your cat said no.

A side note: ask yourself, is it really the litter type that bothers your cat. Is it the only thing that recently changed? Maybe you moved houses or got a new litter box or switched its location? Then you are facing a different kind of problem.

Switch back to the old litter and introduce the new one gradually

If you indeed are sure that the litter type is the problem, chances are high your cat will get used to it if you introduce the new litter gradually.

What does it mean, gradually? It means you do not fill the whole box with the new litter. Pour in the old one, and add just a tiny amount of the new one and mix them well. It will help your cat to familiarize with the scent and sense of the new litter.

If your cat’s old litter is not an option (for example, if you moved or the brand went out of business), you must find a litter that is most similar to it. If you can’t, regular clumping litter is one that most cats accept on the first try.

After several days, if everything goes well, add some more new litter. And so on. Step by step increase the amount of new litter and decrease the amount of old litter.

If, at some point, your cat feels annoyed with changes, move back to the previous safe amount of new litter and wait some more. But after some time, if you do it patiently, you might come to the point where only new litter type is poured into the litter box. Congratulations, it’s a success!

However, some cat’s might never get used to a specific type of litter. If gradually switching cat litter does not lead you anywhere, you could try another brand, another type or just cope with the existing litter. See our review of most common cat litter types, to help you on the way.