By Dr. Stephanie Janeczko, D.V.M., Medical Director for Animal Care & Control of New York City
Another reason that cats dislike their litter boxes is that the box itself is fine but they actually dislike the litter. The average cat is happiest with fine, unscented clumping cat litter. Cats are typically not big fans of the scented varieties that many people tend to prefer. They often dislike the crystal-type litters as well — most sizzle when they get wet, so you can imagine why that would be unpleasant for a cat! The average cat hates the plastic litter liners as well, so it’s probably best to stay away from those. Having said all this, each cat is an individual and what one doesn’t like, another might love.
The best way to determine your cat’s litter preference is to set up a “litter cafeteria.” This allows the cat to make his selection from a number of different choices. To do this, you need at least a few uncovered litter boxes that are the same other than the type of litter that they contain.
Cats will preferentially eliminate in the box that is most pleasing to them, and this will allow you to select the most appropriate litter for your cat. You may need to change litters one or two at a time in a kind of challenge style where the winning litter goes up against the challenging litter until you’ve been through all the options.