Q: I have a new kitten and I am overwhelmed by the litter selection. Which litter should I use?
Kittens are the most adorable little thing (their baby fur – omg!) but like babies, they learn about their new surroundings by nibbling on things. These are some of the criteria to consider when choosing the most appropriate litter for your new addition:
Those little paws are not meant to dig through boulders. To make sure kitty has a pleasant litter experience that is gentle on the paws, look for smaller size litter granules.
Anything in the litter box will most probably end up as snack du jour at some point (from curiosity, cleaning paws, etc.). Therefore any litter that clumps should NOT be used until they are at least 3 months old.
Clumping litter is designed to expand and congeal when it comes in contact with moisture. Inside a tiny urinary tract, this can block digestive tract or cause other digestive issues.
Cats and kittens have a strong sense of smell. Strong unfamiliar scent may deter them from using the litter box. Although some are not scented up front, be aware that some litter are designed with moisture-activated scent beads that releases scent when peed on.
While the question is about the best litter, I will digress and talk about the litter box because it is an equally important factor. A terrible box design or location may deter kitten from using the best litter that you have bought.
Dimension: A box with shorter sides would make it easier for kittens to get in and out. On the downside, that means more litter could fall off the side if your kitten is a “digger”. It sucks but hey, just suck it up =)
Location: Some kittens are easily distracted. Some are skittish (Ms. Bum Bums was one). To keep them focused on the task, the litter should be located in a quiet location away from any potential frequent visitors (dogs, kids, etc.).
Multiple boxes: Kitten also have super small bladder that can’t hold much. Until someone invents kitty diapers, it is necessary to make sure that they can get to the box when nature calls.
Bigger house can opt to have multiple litter boxes. If that cramps your style, try to keep the litter near where the kitten will be playing and make sure they know where it is. Alternatively, bring the kitten to the litter box at some regular frequency as a gentle reminder.
Now that I have scared you enough, I just wanted to add that choosing a litter is not like climbing mount Everest. Your kitten will let you know if they don’t like something. Just be observant.
Some of the litter that I would recommend are the ones made of paper, such as Yesterday’s News. They are pellets made from recycled paper. While they are great at absorbing moisture, they do not clump and are not as good as the clumping clay litter in removing odor. That means you will need to be cleaning regularly. Just like humans, kittens and cats do not like dirty washroom.
As for litter boxes, I have used these for Ms. Bum Bums and Mr. Poopy Pant when they were kitten and found them to work well: Nature’s Miracle High-Sided litter box or Smart Cat corner litter box when I was living in a smaller apartment and needed every square inch I could get.
Tip: Find out what the previous owner has been using. Ask if they could give you some sample. Slowly transition the kitten to your litter of choice by mixing with the current litter.
(Disclaimer: This post contains some affiliate links (read more about it here). However, my opinions are my own and I would only endorse items that I would let my cats use.