Want to switch to pellet litter, but not sure how you are going to get your cat to use it? Find out how in this step-by-step guide with helpful tips!
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There are many benefits of switching to pellet cat litter: It is a cheap, eco friendly and lightweight alternative to regular clay cat litter. However, none of this matter if your cat does not approve of the change.
Below you can read our top tips to make the transition to pellets as easy as possible. Both for your cat, and for yourself as well.
How to train your cat to use pellet litter
- Place a second litter box with pellets next to your cat’s current litter box. Place some “used” litter in it to make it smell familiar to your cat.
- Start adding pellet litter to the other box as well. Do this in increasing ratios until the litter box only contains the pellet litter.
- Keep the litter boxes clean, and remove “deposits” at least twice a day. Empty and wash the pellet litter box once a week.
- Be patient and use positive reinforcement – punishment does not work when training cats.
Good luck, and focus on the reasons you are doing this in the first place. Remember you only have to switch once, and then it will just be the usual maintenance.
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Some cats will take to the pellet litter without any fuzz or hesitation, and others may need some more time and training. To increase your chances of succeeding, you can continue reading for more in depth information and tips.
Transition gradually to pellet litter
Cats are creatures of habit, and do not like change. For this reason, it is a good idea to switch to the pellet litter gradually. During the transition, you should also try to minimize other changes around your cat.
Add new litter box
As a cat owner, you probably know that they are not necessarily the most compliant creatures when faced with an ultimatum. This is why we suggest that you give your cat the option of using the pellet litter, by placing a second litter box next to the current one.
It is generally recommended that you keep one litter box per cat, plus one extra.
Fill the second litter box with the pellet litter. Cats tend to prefer shallow a layer, and the general guideline for pellet litter is one inch of depth. You can read more about how to use wood pellet litter in this article.
Increase pellet to original litter ratio
After a couple of days, you can start to add pellet litter into the original litter box with the old litter. Again, it is important to do this gradually.
Start with about one cup of pellets, and increase the number of cups by one cup every day.
If you clean the litter box twice a day, you can then add 1/2 cup of pellet litter both times. The next day you add one whole cup of pellet litter each time you clean the litter box.
Eventually, you should end up with the litter box containing only pellets.
This is only ment to serve as a general guideline, and you should adjust the pace to suit your cat. If you notice that your cat starts to be reluctant to use either litter box alltogether, it is time to slow down the process. Increase the ratio of your original litter to pellet litter.
Be patient and do not rush your cat. Work on positive reinforcement, so try to make the litter boxes more appealing to your cat.
Introducing your cat to pellets
Some suggest that you should place your cat in the new box. Others say this can distress your cat, and give her or him negative associations with the litter.
As a workaround, to capture you cat’s interest, you can place some “deposits” from the old litter in the pellet box. Hopefully, this will be enough to make your cat investigate this new element, and ultimately decide to make use of it.
Use you cat’s sense of smell to your benefit
You probably know that cats’ sense of smell if much stronger than ours. This is something that you can use to tip the scales in your favor. Their sense of smell is also the reason why you should add used litter in the box with the pellets.
- First of all, cats tend not to be massive fans of scented litter. Those sweet-smelling chemicals are only added by the manufacturer for the humans sake. Placing your cat’s preference in the front seat, make sure the pellet litter you buy is unscented.
- If your cat is reluctant to use the litter box with the pellet litter, you can try leaving the other box a little bit dirtier that you what you usually would. Hopefully, this will make the one with pellet litter seem more appealing.
- Knowing what to avoid, you can focus on natural herbs that will attract your cat to the litter box. A product called Cat Attract usually contains a blend of these, providing you with an all-in-one solution.
What is Cat Attract?
Cat Attract is basicly a blend of natural herbs that cats are attracted to. The cause of this reaction are the different scents of the herbs.
The most well known of the herbs used in Cat Attract is catnip. Other herbs that cats are drawn to, are cat thyme, valerian root, lemongrass, alyssum heather, honeysuckle and rosemary.
How to use Cat Attract
To use the Cat Attract, simply sprinkle or mix the blend of herbs into the pellet litter. Use the amount suggested by the manufacturer.
Is it OK to mix cat litter?
This is question commonly makes an apperance when it comes to replacing the regular litter the pellets. As with so many other things in life, the answer is: It depends. Mostly it depends on if you are currently using a clumping or non-clumping litter.
Pellet litter is generally non-clumping, and it is a benefit if the old litter shares this quality. The qualities of the clumping and non-clumping litter can work against each other, depending on which kinds of litter you mix: Wood pellet litter dissolves when exposed to liquid, while clumping litter bonds the liquid and the litter into a clump.
Clumping litter and pellet litter are not an ideal mix, but other than a little inconvenience during cleanup, there is not really any reason not to mix them. Doing so temporarily during the transition is absolutely fine – and once it has been done, the cleanup will be much easier.
Keep the litter box clean
Cats do not like to use dirty litter boxes. By keeping them clean, your cat get more positive associations towards them, and will be more likely to use them.
Remove feces at least twice a day. Cats like to keep themselves clean, and a dirty litter box will be less appealing to them.
Use natural products, such as baking soda, or unscented products to wash the litter box. Find out more about how to clean a wood pellet litter box by reading this article.
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