How to Switch to Eco-Friendly Cat Litter
When you consider that the typical cat can easily go through a ton of litter in their lifetime, it makes a lot of sense to switch to an eco-friendly cat litter. It's one area in your cat's lifestyle where going green would have tremendous benefits for the environment.
If you need help making the switch to an earth-friendly litter, here's a step-by-step guide for a smooth and easy transition for both you and your cat.
Step 1: Choosing an Eco-Friendly Litter
Choose a litter that is made from a renewable resource. These include cat litters made from recycled materials, by-products of manufacturing such as pine shavings or plant fibers such as corn, wheat or soy to name just a few.
There are many options available at most major pet supply retailers as well as your neighborhood pet store. This is often the best place to start when choosing an eco-friendly cat litter. The sales associate can give you the inside scoop based on feedback from their customers and you'll also be able to compare prices and pick up a bag while you're there.
Another great source of advice is to ask your cat loving friends if they are using eco-friendly litter. They may be able to provide you with a small amount to test out so that you don't need to commit to buying a large bag until you're sure that it's right for your cat. If you like to do your research online, visit any major e-commerce pet supply store to read user reviews.
Once you've decided on which litter to use, check out the manufacturer's website. They often post discount coupons for new users and sometimes they'll even offer a rebate for the purchase of your first bag.
Step 2: Making the Transition to a New Litter
Go slowly. These two words best exemplify how you should proceed when making the switch to a new litter. To minimize the potential for confusion (i.e., accidents outside of the box), introduce the new litter very gradually.
Start by adding a cup of the eco-friendly litter to your cat's box and mixing it thoroughly with the old litter. Another option is to hide it underneath the regular litter. Over a period of 1 to 2 weeks, very slowly increase the amount of new litter while simultaneously decreasing the amount of old litter.
Observe your cat carefully for any changes in its behavior during the transition period. A little curiosity is normal, but watch for any signs that may indicate that the transition is going too quickly for your cat. Is your cat taking longer than usual? Is he or she going less often? Have they started acting up in other areas?
While many cats can make the transition in a week or less, it's often best to err on the side of caution if your cat is very sensitive to change. In this case, you may need to take 2 to 4 weeks to complete the switch.
Step 3: Disposing of Your Old Cat Litter
Once you've completed the transition to eco-friendly litter, you'll probably have some old cat litter leftover. You can be green about its disposal by passing it on to someone in need. Two great websites for giving away stuff you no longer want are Craigslist and Freecycle. Make a post for an offer of free cat litter and you'll be amazed at how quickly someone will come to take it off your hands.
Step 4: Day-to-Day Litter Box Maintenance
Scoop daily to keep litter box odors at bay. After scooping, be sure to replace the removed litter with an equivalent amount of fresh litter. You can also add a dusting of baking soda directly to the cat litter to help absorb odors naturally.
While daily scooping may not be as convenient as leaving the box unattended for a few days, it's definitely more hygienic for kitty. Your cat and the planet will thank you for the extra effort.
About the Author: Holly Tse is a green cat expert and also the author of Make Your Own Cat Toys: Saving The Planet One Cat Toy At A Time. Her blog, Green Little Cat, shares eco-friendly tips and ideas for cats and cat lovers.