Experienced and professional animal trainer provide their insights in answering this question :
A. There are a number of options, it’s really up to you and your cat which one will work best. If you have the room, get another litter box and try a different litter in each, like Swheat Scoop (wheat based), Yesterday’s News (pelleted newspaper), Feline Pine, to name a few. The all have advantages and disadvantages. The wheat and pine based ones smell nice and hide odor well, but they tend to track more easily. The newspaper pellets are very absorbent but don’t clump as easily and don’t hide odor as well.

How to Identify Common Pet Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced pet care professionals :

Non-clumping litter is often made from clay which can contain silica dust, this can be harmful to both you and your cat.
Clumping litter, often made from sodium benotite clay, sticks together when mixed with urine or feces. If eaten, it can create clumps in the cat`s digestive system and create a potentially deadly intestinal blockage. The clay may also strip minerals such as iron and potassium from the cat`s body.
Litter is not good for cats to eat, but some litter is more dangerous than others. Clumping litter contains sodium bentonite, and it is especially dangerous for cats. The sodium bentonite can clump inside of their intestines and cause a blockage. In extreme cases, it can even cause bentonite toxicosis when ingested.
If your cat isn`t eating a well-balanced diet, nutritional deficiencies could be prompting your cat to eat litter. Clay litters, for example, contain iron and magnesium. Pica (the urge to eat things not typically considered food) could also be a sign of anemia, feline leukemia, or kidney disease.
Unlike traditional litters, non-clumping cat litters are preferred by some cat parents because of its highly absorbent nature, superior odour control, and it`s low-maintenance clean-up.
The majority of cats, when they have used a litter tray, will throw litter around the litter tray (and even sometimes outside it!). That means, that if a non-clumping litter is used, all the urine-soaked particles of litter are mixed up with the clean particles of litter.
If your cat is eating litter, try switching to a non-clay litter made from materials like paper or wood. You can also try providing a covered litter box or adding more litter boxes. Finally, make sure your cat is getting enough mental and physical stimulation to reduce their stress and boredom.
Ingestion of modeling clay generally causes only mild gastrointestinal upset unless the amount ingested is very large. Large ingestions may result in a foreign body.
Clay litters are inexpensive and can produce solid clumps to make scooping easier.
Clay is still a great absorber and cheap as dirt (well, clay), but it`s more environmentally unfriendly as you have to dump out the whole litter box once it`s full (in other words, once a week). Like its name suggests, clay doesn`t clump, so you can`t just scoop out nice, neat clumps of urine to clean the box.
Unclean litter boxes can make cats more susceptible to developing urinary tract infections (UTIs). Certain types of litter like the clay litters and litter with fine dust can also contribute to respiratory disease, and make cats with asthma have more frequent flare-ups.
Calcium Bentonite Clay`s natural healing benefits mean it can be used both internally or applied topically to help aid the body in eliminating toxins. It`s full of trace vitamins and minerals and acts as a great antibacterial and anti-inflammatory that can be used to help your cat and dog.
The choice of litter material is important and is very individual for each cat. Some cats prefer clumping litter and some non-clumping, some prefer fine and some coarse substrate, while some prefer absorbent and some non-absorbent materials. Some cats need lots of material and some only a little.
If you use a non-clumping litter and have only one cat, changing the litter twice per week is a good guideline. If you have more than one cat, every other day may work better. There are no hard and fast rules for how often you should change the cat litter.
Ingesting cat litter and other substances may be a sign of illness in cats and it`s recommended that you see a veterinarian to rule out any medical issues.
Non-clumping litter tends to be more lightweight and absorbent, and better for the environment. “Certain types of non-clumping litter are more eco-friendly due to the materials they are made from,” says Dr. Fox.
As Better With Cats explains, “When compared to clay litter, there`s really no contest. Wood pellet litter is easier on the environment, more cost-effective, it smells better and my absolute favorite is that it doesn`t track!
Paper pellets tend to be softer than clay litter and a lot lighter, but they don`t clump or take care of odor very well. Therefore, be prepared to change it more often. For this reason, you might consider it a great short-term solution if your cat`s recovering from surgery or is dealing with an injured paw.
Add baking soda to the litter: Surprisingly, baking soda is a great all-natural deodorizer that is both safe for cats and can help manage the litter box smell. By mixing a little bit of baking soda with the litter, you can help absorb any urine odors also.
You`ve probably heard that you should put your phone in a bag of rice in an attempt to dry it out if it gets wet, but after some thorough testing from the folks at Gazelle, it turns out there is something that will absorb way more water from your damaged device. It`s kitty litter!
There are many DIY litter options that are tried and tested. Mixtures of chicken feed, baking soda and cedar shavings (great for absorption, but it does attract rodents!) or dish soap, water, shredded paper, and baking soda (Usually items you already have, but takes a long time) are just a few combinations.
Kaolin is used in many probiotic supplements for dogs and cats to help firm up their stools, in cases of mild to moderate or non-infectious diarrhoea. It is often used in combination with other natural ingredients such as probiotics, prebiotics and Sweet Basil Extract to support digestive balance in dogs and cats.
Today, roughly 60% of the cat litter sold in the U.S. is of the clumping variety, and most of it is made from bentonite clay. Bentonite is largely composed of montmorillonite, a clay mineral made up of stacks of SiO4 sandwiched between two sheets of octahedrally coordinated aluminum, magnesium, or iron.
Dr. Elsey`s recommends completely changing the litter in your box every 4 weeks if you are using a clumping clay litter. Be sure to remove the clumps daily and top off with fresh litter to maintain a three-inch level. For non-clumping litter, we recommend changing the litter box every 7-10 days.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Q. Why do cats meow?
ANSWER : A. Cat parents often wish they could better understand what their favorite feline friends want or desire. A cat’s meow can be interpreted in many different ways and can indicate an array of feelings and needs. Here are some of the most common reasons for your cat’s vocalizations:

1. Greeting- Many cats will meow as a greeting when you enter your home or walk into a room. Cats will also meow at another cat or animal in the household to extend a hello and acknowledge the other animal’s presence.

2. Attention – An exuberant meow followed by leg rubbing or another attention seeking behavior may indicate your cat is looking for some quality time spent together. Some petting or rubbing behind the ears may be in order.

3. Hunger – A meowing cat is often a hungry cat. This is one of the most common reasons for a cat to vocalize to their owners. A cat will meow to get your attention at feeding times or even when they want extra food.

4. Sickness – A sick or hurt cat may begin to meow excessively, warranting a visit to the veterinarian. There are numerous reasons for a cat in distress to meow—whether it is related to an upset stomach, an injured leg or a urinary blockage. These meows should be carefully investigated.

5. Entering or leaving – Most cats will vocalize when they want to be let in or out of a room. You may notice when you are in the bathroom or behind the closed door of a room that your cat begins to meow, scratches at the door, and often reaches its paw under the door. This is a clear indication that the cat wants to be where you are.

6. Angry – An agitated cat may meow to warn their owner or another household pet that they are upset and would like to be left alone. This angry meow may increase in sound volume as the cat becomes more stressed or agitated. Often a cat will exhibit this type of meow at the veterinary office when they are unhappy with their examination or restraint.

Each feline is different and so are their vocalizations. Learn to understand the variety of meows your cat uses on a daily basis. This will help you develop a better relationship with your cat and help them live a more trusting and happier life.

Q. My cat is pooping outside of the litter bix. He is 2 1/2. He did this as a kitten. It stopped then started about 3 months ago. Litterbox is clean.
ANSWER : A. Inappropriate elimination or house soiling can be a frustrating problem but with a bit of detective work on your part, there is hope. First, before deciding that this is a behavioral issue, any medical problems (diarrhea, constipation, fecal incontinence, pain on defecation, etc.) need to be ruled out and/or treated. If your cat receives a clean bill of health from your vet but is still eliminating outside the litterbox, then we need to consider that something about the box itself might be aversive to your cat. Cats can be quite finicky about their litterbox and toileting habits. Below I have listed common recommendations and cat preferences for litterbox use. Review the list and make any changes that could account for your cat’s aversion to defecating in the litterbox:
* Soft, fine-grained clumping litter (vs, coarse-grained, non-clumping litter)
* Unscented
* 1 – 1 1/2 inch depth (especially older cats or cats with hip problems)
* Larger pans (especially for large cats) – want to get whole body inside – poop just outside the box might mean the box is too small
* Open, non-hooded
* At least one shallow side to get in and out easily
* Easy to get to – not hidden away, preferably in areas they spend time in or near – and not near appliances that make scary, unpredictable noises (washers, dryers, refrigerators)
* Scoop minimum 1X/day – preferably 2
* Clean the litterbox with soap and water and put in fresh scoopable litter at least once/month (instead of just continuously adding)
* Some cats prefer to urinate in one box and defecate in a separate box, so you may need 2 boxes even if you just have 1 cat. Multi-cat households should have 1 box/cat plus 1 extra.

Q. My cat seems to have lost control of her bowels and no longer uses her litter box even to urinate. She is 5 or 6 yrs and is in good health otherwise
ANSWER : A. If your cat has had a sudden change in litter box habits, it is always a good idea to rule out any underlying issues with a wellness check from your vet. Bringing in a urine and stool sample if possible can also help as tests can be run on these samples to check for common infections or parasites. If these are present, treating them usually helps resolve the problem of not using the box.

Loss of bowel control usually results in dribbling of feces or urine rather than complete accidents. If you are seeing this, it is possible that an injury to the hind end or problem with the nerves or muscles is happening and should be looked at by your vet.

If the accidents are complete (full amount of stool, big puddle of urine) your cat may be choosing not to use the litter box due to illness, a too-dirty litter, litter pans that are too tall (which may make older cats have a harder time getting in and out), or a litter substrate that was changed too suddenly. Sometimes, changing the environment your cat’s litter box is in by lowering the sides, moving food and water dishes away and returning back to a previously liked litter can help.

In any area of an accident, an enzymatic cleaner should be used. These break down urine and stool particles, making it so that your cat is less likely to be attracted to going there again. Moving stools to the litter box can also entice your cat to start going there again.

Q. Which flea and tick drops are the best and why?
ANSWER : A. Your question is a good one, and unfortunately the answers are going to differ based on who you ask. Many vets are seeing resistance to Frontline, which has been the go-to product for many of us for many years. It contains the active ingredient Fipronil, which is very safe and typically extremely effective. I use it on my dogs and never see fleas or ticks. However other vets will tell you in their areas, for whatever reason, they are seeing fleas and ticks on dogs and cats on which this product was used.

Another reason opinions differ is that some people like to give an oral product, and some like to put a topical product directly on the skin. That’s a matter of personal preference mostly. Bravecto, as mentioned below, is one of those products. Most people find it safe and effective. It uses a different process that Frontline to kill fleas and ticks.

In general the products you buy over-the-counter are likely going to be less expensive and less effective than what you get from a vet. I think the reason is that the more expensive products contain newer insecticides, and likely less resistance to these products has built up in the flea and tick population but also they are maybe less “proven”, so it’s important for a vet to be involved in the use of the product in order to ensure that there won’t be a negative reaction to using it.

If I lived in an area where there was Lyme disease (in the US that’s the northeast and upper midwest) I’d most definitely add a tick collar to my standard oral or topical flea and tick prevention. AND I’d search both of my dogs everyday for ticks. It’s because nothing you buy will be 100% effective, and Lyme disease can be a very serious problem.

If you want to talk further and talk more specifically about where you live and what products you’re considering, I’d be happy to do a consult with you. Nobody here is paid to recommend products, but we do develop preferences based on what we use on our own pets and in our practices.

Q. I have a cat that defecates in the litter box but always urinates outside the box. It is very annoying.
ANSWER : A. Inappropriate elimination in cats is often a behavioral problem rather than a medical problem, so the first step is to have him seen by your vet to eliminate any kind of illness or condition as a cause for his eliminating outside the box.

If medical issues are ruled out, take a look at other reasons. Has there been a lot of unusual activity? Has you cat been left at home or boarded? Is the litterbox in a busy area? Has anything happened recently in this area to make him reluctant to use it again? Is there another cat, pet or person that is preventing him from getting to the box? Have you changed it from a hooded to an open box, or vice versa? Is it big enough? Have you changed the type or brand of litter? Is there something attractive about the spot he uses? Cats dislike disturbances to their routine and may act out to express their dissatisfaction.

The general rule is one litter box per cat in the household, plus one. That way each cat can have a place of their own to go in case the box is occupied or another cat has claimed it as territory. They should be scooped daily, if not more often and changed completely weekly, washed with soap and water only. You can offer one kind of litter in one box and another kind in another to see if there is a preference. I don’t recommend the crystals, it makes a hissing sound when wet that startles some cats and make them reluctant to use it again. The litter boxes should be located in a quiet, low-traffic area so that the cat can use them in peace. Make sure any other pets or people aren’t giving them a hard time around or in the litter box. It may take some investigation and experimentation to find your cat’s preference and accommodate him so that everyone is satisfied with the situation. And, when cleaning up pet accidents, don’t use any cleaner containing ammonia. This leaves behind a scent similar to urine.

Q. My cat is eating scoopable clay based litter and my vet told me to switch to a non clay product. I don’t know which to choose.
ANSWER : A. There are a number of options, it’s really up to you and your cat which one will work best. If you have the room, get another litter box and try a different litter in each, like Swheat Scoop (wheat based), Yesterday’s News (pelleted newspaper), Feline Pine, to name a few. The all have advantages and disadvantages. The wheat and pine based ones smell nice and hide odor well, but they tend to track more easily. The newspaper pellets are very absorbent but don’t clump as easily and don’t hide odor as well.

Q. My cat will not stop going to the toilet on my carpet, bed, washing pile etc.. Also uses its litter box occasionally? I don’t understand why this is?
ANSWER : A. Inappropriate elimination in cats is often a behavioral problem rather than a medical problem, so the first step is to have him seen by your vet to eliminate any kind of illness or condition as a cause for his eliminating outside the box.
If medical issues are ruled out, take a look at other reasons. Has there been a lot of unusual activity? Has you cat been left at home or boarded? Is the litterbox in a busy area? Has anything happened recently in this area to make him reluctant to use it again? Is there another cat, pet or person that is preventing him from getting to the box? Have you changed it from a hooded to an open box, or vice versa? Is it big enough? Have you changed the type or brand of litter? Is there something attractive about the spot he uses? Cats dislike disturbances to their routine and may act out to express their dissatisfaction.
The general rule is one litter box per cat in the household, plus one. That way each cat can have a place of their own to go in case the box is occupied or another cat has claimed it as territory. They should be scooped daily, if not more often and changed completely weekly, washed with soap and water only. You can offer one kind of litter in one box and another kind in another to see if there is a preference. I don’t recommend the crystals, it makes a hissing sound when wet that startles some cats and make them reluctant to use it again. The litter boxes should be located in a quiet, low-traffic area so that the cat can use them in peace. Make sure any other pets or people aren’t giving them a hard time around or in the litter box. It may take some investigation and experimentation to find your cat’s preference and accommodate him so that everyone is satisfied with the situation. And, when cleaning up pet accidents, don’t use any cleaner containing ammonia. This leaves behind a scent similar to urine.

Q. My cat started to pee outside the litter box. What should I do?
ANSWER : A. Inappropriate bathroom use in cats is often a behavioral problem rather than a medical problem, so the first step is to have him seen by your vet to eliminate any kind of illness or condition as a cause for his defecating outside the box.

Once medical issues are ruled out, it’s time to take a look at other explanations. Has there been a lot of activity that wasn’t normal? Were you away and your cat was left at home or boarded? Is the litterbox located in a busy area? Has anything happened recently in this area to make him reluctant to use it again? Is there another cat, pet, or person that is preventing him from getting to the box? Have you changed it from a hooded to an open box, or vice versa? Have you changed the brand of litter or kind? Or is there something about the spot he has chosen to use that is attracting him in some way? Cats dislike disturbances to their routine and may act out as a way of expressing their dissatisfaction.

The general rule of thumb is one litter box per cat in the household, plus one. That way each cat can have a place of their own to go in case the box is occupied or another cat has claimed it as territory. They should be scooped at least daily, if not more often and changed completely on a weekly basis, and washed with soap and water.

You can also offer one kind of litter in one box and another kind in another to see if there is a preference. I don’t recommend the crystal kind, since it makes a hissing sound when wet that can startle some cats and make them reluctant to use it again.

The litter boxes should be located in a quiet, low-traffic area so that the cat can use them in peace. Make sure other pets or people aren’t giving them a hard time around or in the litterbox. It may take some investigation and experimentation to find your cat’s preference and accommodate him so that everyone is satisfied with the situation.