Our Tips for Transitioning to a New Cat Litter

Written by Lucy Marcham, Academy Trainer

Many words can be used to describe our feline friends, such as adorable, clever, athletic, occasionally annoying…

A very commonly used word is sensitive. Unfortunately, our cats can indeed be extremely wary of any change. Whether it be a diet switch, something in their environment or a new litter.

Psst: For help with understanding cats eating behaviour, check out our Fussy Cat Blog.

As cats can be anxious around change, especially when it comes to their toileting habits, it is important to take things slowly. To help with the litter changeover process, here is an easy step-by-step guide to switching your cats’ litter.


Step 1

Start by putting inch-long strips of new litter at the back of the tray. This should be placed on the opposite end to where your cat typically enters the tray.

This allows your cat to see and smell the litter and means your cat isn’t forced to interact with the new litter before they are ready.


Step 2

Every couple of days extend the strip of litter by 2 inches. The aim is to encourage your furry friend to touch the litter whilst turning, digging and burying. By doing this you allow your feline friend to become gradually more comfortable and familiar with the change. 


Step 3

Once your cat is happy to touch and use the tray with ¾ of the base covered, the switch has been a success! Continue to use the new improved litter moving forward.


Use Two Trays 

An alternative way to introduce a new litter to your cat is to invest in another litter tray.

Place the new tray (filled with the new litter) near to your cat’s current tray. Sometimes taking a small amount of soiled litter (only ever use tiny amounts, remember cats are ultra-hygienic animals) helps cats understand the new tray is for toileting.

Over time your cat will become more accustomed to the smell and presence of the new litter and start to investigate. To encourage a positive connection between the new litter and your cat using it, you can at first reward them for interacting with it.

Give them a treat (or a delicious meaty kibble from dinner) when they sniff the tray, get in the tray, and eventually test out the new substrate.

Remember to reduce your cat’s food if giving extra training treats, for help read our Guide to Weighing Food.

Keep in mind some cats are certainly more sensitive than others, the key to any litter change is to take it gradually and be patient. I hope your cat litter changeover is simple and stress-free. Remember for help finding the perfect new improved litter,  head over to your local Pets Corner.

For more advice about cat behaviour, read our Litter Tray blog.