Why Is My Cat Eating The Litter? Is This Harmful?Cat box fillers are composed of mainly “clay” and usually contain an effective deodorizer/fragrance. Clay fillers are non-toxic and won’t harm your cat’s digestive system. Very strict guidelines are followed. All ingredients are tested extensively by the manufacturing company and by independent laboratories. Any cat litter ingested will pass through the digestive system and would be excreted in the feces.
It is common for cats to ingest a variety of substances, including grass, clay, etc. when they are not feeling well. It may be a symptom of an unrelated illness. Make sure your cat is receiving a good quality complete & balanced cat food and plenty of fresh clean water.
The scent of the litter maybe attracting the cat to eat the litter, therefore you might try using an unscented litter.
Why Does My Kitten Dig For Long Periods In The Litter Box?Does your kitten use the litter box when he needs to eliminate? If so, don’t worry about the extra digging. This just could be experimenting and learning. If however, he is eliminating elsewhere, you might try offering a different litter material and see if he likes that better. Kittens learn to use the litter by observation of their mother and will mimic the material that she uses. Perhaps you are not providing a litter material that he is familiar with.
How Can I Make The Litter Box Smell Better?The best way to have a good smelling litter box is to keep it scrupulously clean. This means scooping out urine and stool daily and totally changing the box every 4-7 days depending on litter type, how often the box is used and how many cats use it. Remember that your cat wants a clean smelling litter box also so cleaning it is a good way to help insure your cat uses the litter box.
How Do I Teach My Kitten To Use The Litter Box?Cats and kittens are meticulous, and you may find that your kitten’s mother has already trained him to use a box. If not, it’s usually relatively easy.
Make sure your kitten has immediate access to his litter box and that he can climb in and out with no extra effort. Watch him closely and place him in the litter box when he wakes up, after meals or any time he begins nosing in corners or squatting.
If he has an accident, wipe it up with a paper towel and place the towel in the litter box. Gently scratch the kitten’s front paws in the filler, so he learns this is the place to deposit and bury waste.
When he is successful, praise him lavishly.
Why Has My Cat Stopped Using The Litter Box?Cats are extremely fastidious when it comes to the litter box. Many cats will only use the litter box if it is kept immaculately clean and if they feel that they have their privacy. If using a clumping litter, be sure to clean the box on a daily basis, removing the wet and soiled litter everyday. If using a conventional litter, be sure to change all of the litter once a week. Many cats do not like to share the box with another cat. We recommend having one litter box per cat plus one extra, placed in a quiet and easily accessible location. Cats also hate to be disturbed while using their litter box, and frequent interruptions, like from another pet or a child, can contribute to your cat’s improper elimination.
Have you recently changed the material in your cat’s litter box? Your cat may not like the texture or aroma of the new litter. You should consider switching back to the litter your cat was comfortable with.
Cats as a species are not as willing to accept changes in their environment as dogs are. Cats like routines and are upset easily by changes in their environment. Any big change, like moving or acquiring a new pet, can lead your cat to express his displeasure by eliminating outside of the litter box.
Whenever there is a sudden change in behavior, consider that it might be due to a medical problem. Take your cat to the veterinarian for a good examination. Be sure to tell your veterinarian about the house-soiling problem. If your cat has a clean bill of health, you can try to determine the reason and understand how it may have begun. To help evaluate the situation, you should consider the following:
- The progression and duration of the behavior. Is your pet experiencing some type of anxiety and/or fear? In a home with multiple cats, there may be subtle underlying tensions that may make one or more cats anxious. This could lead your cat to eliminate outside the litter box. Make sure the box is in a secure and private area. A litter box should be provided for each cat.
- The location for the elimination and type of surface preferences or aversions (the type of material or substrate the cat eliminates on – carpet, wood floor, clothing, etc.). Be sure that the litter box is clean, as some cats will not eliminate in a dirty box. Also make sure the box is in an accessible private location.
- Limit your cat’s opportunities to make messes in the house. Watch her and put her in the box at the usual time she eliminates (after waking and eating, for example).
- Clean and make the inappropriate soiled areas aversive, otherwise your cat will return to the same location. Spraying the previously soiled area with Bitter Apple or another unappealing scent will dissuade your cat from soiling there again.
Is There A Special Method For Moving The Litter Box To New Location?As a rule of thumb, provide one litter box for every cat–plus one extra. So if you have only a single litter box now and want to move it, the best way to manage this is to get a second one, and place in the new preferred location. Show the kitten the new box by setting her inside, and allowing her to either use it, or leave and come back on her own.
To actually move the box from a less than ideal location, do so gradually. Try moving the box a foot or two every day; making sure the cat doesn’t lose allegiance when you do. You certainly don’t want the kitten to start using the floor where her box used to stand, and that’s a possibility if it’s moved too great a distance at one time. Youngsters tend to be more forgiving of changes in their life than older cats.
What Is The Difference Between Conventional Vs. Scoop Litters?Scooping litter will clump to your cat’s urine. Therefore, you would need to scoop out the urine and fecal matter at least daily. Because you are removing all of your cat’s waste from the litter box, you would only need to totally change your cat’s litter box every 28 to 30 days. The litter box should be cleaned, when changing the litter, with warm soap water. The depth of litter should be 3-4 inches remembering always to backfill after scooping.
Conventional litter will not clump; it will only absorb your cat’s urine. Therefore, you would need to scoop out your cat’s fecal matter and stir the remaining litter in the litter box at least once a day. Because you are not eliminating all of your cat’s waste, you would need to totally change your cat’s litter box every 5 to 7 days.
How Do I Make A Change To Another Type Of Litter Product?Please keep in mind, when changing your cat’s present cat box filler, we recommend that you add a small amount of the new product with the old product. This change over should take approximately two to three weeks. For instance, on the first week, please fill the bottom 2/3 of the litter box with the original product and the top 1/3 with the new product. The next time that you totally change out the cat box filler, fill 1/2 of the litter box with the old product and 1/2 of the box with the new. By changing your cat’s litter in this manner, we would not expect any refusals to use the litter box to occur.
Can I Reuse The Litter As Fertilizers In My Garden?We do not recommend reusing any used litter product. Dumping cat waste or used litter in your garden will not only attract flies and neighborhood cats, it will be unhealthy to you if you eat fruits and vegetables fertilized by concentrated amounts of it.
How Should The Used Litter Be Disposed Of?When disposing of litter, wrap it in two bags and tie it securely. Do not flush the litter down the toilet as it can be extremely harmful to plumbing. As some clumping litter may be flushable, but may not be friendly to septic tanks, it is a good idea to bag instead of flushing your litter.
What Is Toxoplasmosis?Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a parasite that may be carried in cat feces. Humans may become infected with this parasite through incidental ingestion of cat feces, which can happen by touching their hand to their mouth after cleaning the litter box and before washing their hands. Exposure to the parasite may also occur by ingesting raw or partially cooked meat such as pork, lamb, or venison. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), “as many as 60 million people in the United States carry the toxoplasmosis parasite, but few experience symptoms because the human immune system usually keeps the parasite from causing illness.” However, pregnant or nursing women, and those individuals with compromised immune systems are at increased risk and should avoid cleaning or changing the litter box whenever possible. If these individuals must clean or change the litter box, we strongly advise that they wear gloves and thoroughly wash their hands with soap and water after completing the task. Research has shown that the oocysts responsible for toxoplasmosis survive for two to four days in clay mineral-based pet litter. Consumers concerned about the parasite may want to change their entire litter box more frequently. For more information on toxoplasmosis, visit the CDC web site
Is Discarded Clay Mineral-Based Cat Litter Clogging the Nation’s Landfills?Rather than clogging our nation’s landfills, clay mineral-based cat litters are actually helping to protect the surrounding environment. By law, the construction of most landfills begins with the installation of a liner made from compacted clay. In most land fills the clay used for this purpose is sodium bentonite, the same material used in clumping cat litter. The compacted clay forms a very low permeability barrier that prevents contaminated water inside the landfill (leachate) from seeping out and contaminating nearby soil and groundwater. The strong attraction of sodium bentonite for many types of contaminants also helps to remove contaminants from the small amount of water that does escape from the landfill. This keeps potentially harmful materials contained within the landfill. Discarded cat litter acts in much the same, helping to seal the contents of the landfill and remove contaminants from landfill leachate.
Although the sodium bentonite in clumping cat litter has the capability to swell significantly when in contact with water, its swelling is limited to the empty space available for it to swell into. As a result, clumping cat litter can only swell into existing air space within the landfill. This helps to further seal the contents of the landfill by eliminating the air space through which leachate can flow. Swelling of wetted clumping cat litter within a landfill cannot increase the volume of the landfill.
The most recent studies of waste materials entering landfills, as published by the Environmental Literacy Council (2008), indicate that approximately 26% is paper products; 18% is food scraps; 16% is plastic; 9% is rubber, leather or other textiles; 7% each is yard waste, metals, and wood; and 6% glass. Cat litter falls in the “other” category, which is approximately 4% of the total. Although millions of pounds of clay mineral-based cat litter is sent to landfills each year, the data from these studies shows that it represents a tiny fraction of the total solid waste materials in landfills.