I was just catching up on some old journal reading on this dreary and rainy day and came across an interesting study. House soiling (not using litter box) is a big problem in cats and can often lead to the cat being left at the shelter for euthanasia. Cats are a domesticated animal, but when they lived in the wild they eliminated in desert sand. Consequently, cats now prefer something as close to sand as they can get. Several studies have been done to determine what substrate (litter ) that most cats prefer.
It appears that cats prefer unscented clumping cat litter over clay. Many litters are now scented, but they are scented to appeal to human, not cat, noses. Cats do not like the smell of citrus or any type of heavily perfumed sweet smell. If you must go for scented litter they like the ones that have Activated Charcoal added for odor control- it doesn’t mask the scent of waste material. Instead it helps to absorb it. Some cat litter has activated charcoal in it and cats seem to like this type better than heavy scented litter. Cats also prefer larger litter boxes that are cleaned twice daily. If you don’t scoop them at least once a day and have multiple cats using the same box, it is probably the equivalent of us using the Porta-Potties at ACL when it is 100 degrees out . Cats have sensitive noses and are very clean- notice how much they groom themselves? The usual rule of thumb is one litter box per cat and then one extra. So if you have 2 cats, you really need 3 litterboxes. If you have a larger cat, make sure the box is big enough for them to eliminate in w/o their bum hanging out the back of the box.
Also remember that if your cat is geriatric or arthritic, they may have trouble getting into taller litter boxes, so make it easy for them by providing shorter boxes.
Post by: Dr. D. DVM (Yvonne’s daughter) Posted January 4, 2011 website (vet to pet austin Site is no longer up)