It is in everyone's best interest to identify a litter and litter box environment pleasing to cats. Research and product development
will continue to advance and identify superior litter products, but it is important for practitioners to provide evidence-based
advice to cat owners regarding litter and litter boxes so toileting problems are minimized.
When providing that advice, remember that cats prefer clumping litters and litters with activated carbon. If a fragranced
litter is going to be used, data suggest cats prefer a cedar scent to other scents. I caution owners against purchasing citrus-scented
litters, which are becoming more prevalent in the marketplace. Finally, based on the trends noted in the box size study, I
recommend that practitioners advise owners to purchase large or jumbo-sized litter boxes for their cats or even consider purchasing
large plastic storage boxes to use as litter boxes.
Of course, it is important to remember that you may encounter cats with unique preferences. The best way to identify an individual
cat's set of toileting preferences is to offer a variety of litter choices and box styles and retain the litter and litter
boxes that the cat preferentially uses. It is also wise to remind clients that no odor-controlling litter ingredients can
substitute for daily litter box scooping and regular box washing.
Editors' Note: Dr. Neilson has received research funding from The Clorox Company, makers of Fresh Step litter.
Jacqueline C. Neilson, DVM, DACVB
Animal Behavior Clinic
809 S.E. Powell Road
Portland, OR 97202
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