Change is a big issue with cats. Ask any cat.
This week, I failed to get cat approval on a critical part of their environmental needs, the cat litter. Yes, I changed the cat litter without first establishing they’d use it!
I expected resistance, of course, so I only changed one of the three litter boxes to a litter made from pulverized walnut shells. Though it looks and feels pretty much like sand (to me), it is dark colored instead of light like most cat litters. That raised suspicions.
Over 24 hours, I watched for signs of cat activity. If I use the toilet, Andy almost always follows me in to use the box. (Dougy follows me in to walk under my legs if I’m sitting on the pot, but that’s another story.)
First time I used the toilet after the change, Andy came into the bathroom, and hopped in the litter box to discover alien litter. Noticing the difference, Andy sniffed around, checked all sides of the box and the middle. Gingerly, reluctantly, he backed into position, and peed in the usual corner, the one closest to me. (Strategic – I am there so he can’t get ambushed by Dougy from that side, and he can see Dougy coming from the other of the two open sides!)
One use is encouraging, but not convincing. Remember, the other two boxes still have the favored old litter in them still. Seriously, I’m not going 100% with a new litter and risk two upset cats using any place outside the boxes to poop and pee because they are upset with the change! It can happen!
A few hours later, I was on the pot again. Dougy came in to use the litter box. He hopped in, looked around, walked the box, sniffed where Andy peed earlier, then hopped out. Oh no! Dougy was the one I thought would adopt the change first!
This morning, I did an inventory of litter box uses in the new litter. Someone pooped in it, and there were three clumps of urine. That seems like one cat’s usage to me, but it hasn’t been 24 hours yet since the change.
I forgot/neglected to scoop the two litter boxes with the old litter in them after I switched the one to the new yesterday, so it is difficult to determine which “output” is new or old. I scooped all three at the same time before I prepared breakfast. By day’s end, perhaps, or by tomorrow, I should have some sense of success or failure.
I am hopeful I can switch to the new litter for a variety of reasons. It works better with less dust that the old litter, seems to contain odors better, makes use of waste walnut shells, is the same color as cat poop (so I don’t have to look at it – 🙂 ), and is lighter in weight than sand, no small consideration for an old, beat up guy like me.
Another possibility (a suggestion I’ve seen elsewhere) is to mix the new and the old together and gradually acclimate the boys to the changed litter. I don’t have a fresh container of the boy’s favorite litter on hand, but may make it to the store today to get some.
That noted, at least one cat gave me a signal. “It’ll be a cold day in hell before I use a new litter!” Perhaps.
Speaking of cold days in hell, here's how warm it is here at the moment: