Adopting a new kitten is a joy for the entire family. Adults and children can’t resist the big eyes, cute whiskers, and playful nature of these sweet and sassy little munchkins. If you already have cats, you may just want to continue using your current litter, but that may not be a wise choice for your tiny kitten who is just beginning to understand and experiment with the world. We know you want to provide your kitten with a healthy start to a long life, so let’s get down to the brass tacks on what cat litter is best for kittens.
Undoubtedly, the most popular litter that cat owners use is clumping litter, which is not best for kittens. Unlike plain clay, non-clumping litter, clumping litter contains compounds like sodium bentonite clay or quartz silica that cause liquids to stay together in an expanded mass that can easily be scooped away from the remaining litter. These compounds are considered safe when cats come into contact with it. For kittens, the danger lies in this litter’s ability to expand.
Ingesting Clumping Litter
Much like human babies, kittens will experiment with things by putting it in their mouths. They may even play in, roll around in, and eat their cat litter. When clumping litter is ingested, the expansive properties can cause intestinal blockages. Because kittens have such small digestive systems to start with, the threat is even greater with just small amounts of litter being ingested. Kittens are more prone to eating non-food items than adult cats, but they should grow out of this stage rather quickly. It is best to use non-clumping kitten litter.
Small Dogs and Clumping Litter
People with small dogs should also be aware of this complication from ingesting clumping litter. Some dogs think your cat’s litter box is filled with tasty treats and will eat the waste clumps straight out of the box. They will often sneak these ‘treats’ when no one is looking and you may not even be aware they are doing it. The more clumping litter they ingest, the greater the chance that an intestinal blockage will occur and require expensive and invasive surgery.
Best Vet-Recommended Kitten Litter
Many experts recommend that the best litter for kittens under four months old is non-clumping clay or crystal litter. These types of litter have larger granules and don’t stick to your kitten’s paws or fur. That means the risk for ingesting litter while grooming is much lower. As your kitten reaches the four month mark, you can start to gradually switch them over to clumping litter. You can start by mixing a small amount of the clumping litter in with the non-clumping litter and slowly increase the amount over the next several weeks. Switching them over ‘cold turkey’ may cause them to reject the new litter and to start using the potty in places around your house.
As your kitten grows into an adult with their own unique personalities and character traits, they may become picky and suddenly disapprove of the type of litter they have been used to. Just as our tastes and preferences change as we age, so too can this happen with cats. As soon as you catch your feline using the potty outside of the litter box, it is best to try new non-clumping kitten litter options. They may have become averse to the smell or texture of the litter. The only way to see what they like is to experiment with new brands.