Best cat litter for picky cats

I've always used regular store-bought cat litter. When I got Trixie, my Bengal cat, all that changed. I was told by the breeder to only use natural cat litter pellets. That started us on a several year journey to find a cat litter that absolutely any cat will love to use. Even a picky Bengal!

Bengal cat using litter box

When I heard that original advice from the breeder I thought it was ridiculous. I had been in cat rescue for a dozen years at this point and had raised probably hundreds of kittens and adult cats and they had all done perfectly fine on Tidy Cat, Arm & Hammer or pretty much anything that was at the store or donated to us.

Well, sometimes a cat would refuse to use the litter box if it got too dirty for their liking, but I tried to keep that from happening. Of course picky cats can happen in any breed. I mean they are cats, they're pretty much known for being ornery!

I've never had a cat refuse to use a clean litter box so I assumed that all litter was pretty much the same to all cats. I thought the only difference was how I felt about it and if I preferred clumping or scented etc.

Best cat litter for Bengal cats

I knew that Bengal cats could be very picky about their litter box habits though, so I figured it was best to go with what the breeder told me. After all, the cat was already used to it. We ordered Feline Pine brand cat litter and started using that. She did okay for the first couple years. There were a few mistakes in empty cardboard boxes, but not a habit so I wasn't too worried.

Bengals like a very clean litter box so we had 2 litter boxes that I would scoop out at least every other day. Since pine litter pellets fall apart when wet, I had to use a solid scoop (not a slatted litter scoop) and scoop the entire area near where the pee was. Pine doesn't clump! I ended up completely changing the litter every week to 10 days. 

Best type of cat litter

This type of cat litter is similar to traditional clay cat litter. It doesn't clump, it just absorbs. I prefer a clumping type litter because I can just scoop the urine clumps out and the clean litter stays behind. You do a complete change of litter less often with the clumping type. Overall, it's probably cheaper to use clumping litter...but I've never tracked it. 

Though Bengals as a breed are well known for their picky litter box preferences, any cat can get deterred from using a litter box. Unfortunately once that starts, it's hard to get them back to using a box exclusively. Lucky for us when we got our Bengal kitten she had very good litter box behavior.  

Till we got a new kitten. 

Trixie started protesting by peeing on carpets. Throw rugs were her favorite luckily, because they could be disposed of or washed better than wall to wall carpet. Not that any of it was good, but it could have been worse!

She had a few particular places she liked to pee on. Any type of box or empty basket were the most common places, though sometimes they didn't need to be empty. This was a 5-year-old, fixed, female Bengal cat. I wouldn't call it spraying because she was definitely just peeing on things.

I had to constantly make up batches of all natural cat urine remover to get the stink out of my house. It was a dark time here.

Cat peeing in litter box

At some point she started pooping on the tile family room floor. To try to "retrain" her, I put a very small litter box right where she like to poop all the time. She started peeing in that litter box but would still poop on the floor beside it.

Around this time she decided this kitten was pretty darn cool and they became best friends. You would think her protest peeing would stop but it did not. Boxes could still not be allowed to lay around for too long. Though what too long actually is, was arbitrary. Sometimes one day, sometimes three weeks.

At this point we were using the brand World's Best Cat Litter. When the kitten was being raised in one of my foster groups he was using a generic store-bought brand. When he moved inside the house with us, he started using the World's Best Cat Litter and it was perfectly fine for him.

If you're not familiar with World's Best Cat Litter I do highly recommend it. It's a corn based litter that's natural and safe for all ages of cats. I bought the original with no perfumes or dye added. I saw no reason to change as they would both use the litter. The Bengal just sometimes didn't.

I tried switching them both to one of the brands they sell in Walmart. It didn't help, but it also didn't hurt...her potty habits pretty much stayed the same. I needed this pee thing to stop though!

Can you attract a cat to the litter box?

One day my husband read a story about Dr. Elsey's cat litter. I have no idea what he read in that article that made him decide to try this product but he told me I needed to buy it. So I ordered a bag from Amazon

I'm going to quote from the package here.

When it comes to litter usage, cats are the decision makers. We've created a litter that's proven to drive usage, through a unique formulation of heavy non-tracking granules with medium grain clay.

I don't actually know what that means. lol What I do know is that the stuff works. I first started using it in that little tiny litter box in the family room! Instantly both cats started using that tiny little litter box exclusively.

There was no poop on the floor outside the litter box where Trixie like to go. And there was no usage at all in the three litter boxes that contained fresh litter of the brand we had been using. 

This went on for like 2 weeks. At that point neither cat had used any of the other three litter boxes, they just used that tiny little one with the Dr. Elsey's litter in it!

Switching cat litter brands

I decided to switch one of the regular litter boxes to this brand new litter. I was afraid to switch them all at once. Since cats can be creatures of habit, it's best to move slowly and leave at least one box with the old litter for awhile. 

The next day I checked and somebody had used the one I just switched! After a few more days of them using the tiny little box and this one, I changed another one over.

It's been quite a few months now. There have been no accidents and everybody is using the litter boxes with the Dr. Elsey's litter in it. One litter box remains with the old stuff in it, because I couldn't bear to throw a half a bag of it away. And it remains completely clean. Neither cat has used it, not even once.

A 40lb bag of Dr. Elsey's litter is about $19. That's just a few dollars more than I was paying for the other stuff, and it's been formulated to attract cats to use it. This is amazing for cats who have had a bad incident in the potty box and are afraid to go back in!

Bengal cat sleeping in box

Of course there could be other reasons for your cat not using the litter box, like a urinary tract infection or other kidney problems. If your cat suddenly starts peeing outside the box check with a vet first! Once your vet gives you the all clear, try switching litter. I highly recommend the Dr. Elsey's brand and it can be purchased on Amazon or from Chewy. 

They carry it at Petco online so they probably have it in store. It's worth a look!

The litter box use around here has been perfect since we switched litter. I never would have thought it would be so simple, but it was! The best part is, I can now leave empty boxes laying around and all the cats do is sleep in them!

~Lisa

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