A little sand may help your cat adjust to litter box use.
H. Edward Lowe is considered the father of the cat litter industry. In January 1947, Lowe had a thriving building supply business in Cassopolis, Michigan. One of Lowe's neighbors asked for his assistance in "finding something absorbent" to put in her cat's box other than the sand ashes that she had been using. His answer was dried ground clay. Nearly 50 years later, the cat litter industry has grown into a multi-million dollar business. Sales for 1994 were estimated at $767 million, and are expected to increase significandy throughout the decade.
Made from crushed walnut shells, this eco-friendly litter is absorbent, available in clumping formulas, can be low-dust (brands vary), low-tracking, does not have the allergy issues of corn or wheat, is biodegradable, and is usually pleasing to cats who like to be able to scratch around in a sand-like litter (though walnut shell litter tends to be coarser).
You can replace commercial cat litter with various everyday items. Sand, soil or dirt and natural wood fiber -- which is available through farm supply stores as horse bedding -- are simple options that you can just pour into the litter box as you would regular cat litter. You can also use chicken scratch, also available through farm supply stores.In general, cats are great about their litter box habits. They instinctively look for loose, sandy soil, dig a small hole and cover up their elimination (urination or defecation). We take advantage of this natural instinct by offering them a litter box with a cat litter that mimics the type of soil they would naturally seek out. As you will see, there is much more about their instinct that plays into litter box preferences.While making your own litter might sound like a good idea, homemade litter has some disadvantages. Materials like sand and soil might cause a mess around the house. Some options, like the shredded newspaper idea formula, may simply be too time-consuming to prepare. Commercial cat litter often contain deodorizers or odor absorbers such as baking soda. Without those additives, your homemade litter might not be strong enough to prevent odors from taking over the house.First of all, look at the choices from your cat’s point of view. Too many cat owners select products for their cats based on human, rather than feline, preferences. This approach often backfires as the cat may find that the new purchase offends his natural instincts and refuses to use it. We know that cats have an inborn drive to seek out an easily-raked substrate in which to eliminate. Our domestic cat’s ancestors used sand and a soft soil. Studies show that 9 out of 10 cats prefer the sand-like texture of the clumping litters. This shouldn’t be too surprising considering that the paw pads of an indoor cat are sensitive and tender. (Would you rather walk barefoot on a gravel driveway or on a sandy beach?) See ““. Declawed cats especially require the comfort afforded by a clumping litter as more of their weight rests on their heels than on their shortened toes. (The declaw surgery involves severing, not just nails, but whole phalanges–up to the first joint–including bone, ligaments, and tendons.)What cats really want is their own private giant sandbox in a quiet corner in each level of the house, scooped out promptly after each use. What?! We need, of course, a practical compromise. Here then are the top ten sensible items on your kitty's litter box wish list:Most cat litter crystals are composed of silica gel which is a combination of water, oxygen, and silica dioxide sand. Clumping litter is sometimes the product of silica gel crystals and sodium bentonite. There have been reports by cat owners of coughing, problems with the urinary tract, GI problems such as constipation or diarrhea associated with the use of litters containing sodium bentonite.