What’s The Best Cat Litter For Senior Cats?
After researching the unique bathroom needs of senior cats, learning about how other cat guardians address those requirements, and reflecting on my own 11-plus years of cat guardianship, I’ve chosen Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Senior Cat Litter as the best litter for senior cats. It’s a fast-absorbing silica gel litter that promises to keep your cat cleaner and healthier.
We’ll talk more about how to resolve common litter box problems later, but for now, let’s go into more detail on what your senior cat needs out of his litter.
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What’s The Best Kind Of Cat Litter For Senior Cats?
I’ll warn you right off—most old-age litter box problems have nothing to do with what you’re putting inside the litter box. Dumping out the familiar stuff and pouring in a brand new litter could be just one more change your cat doesn’t want.
Once you’ve ruled out health and stress issues, provided a litter box that accommodates any mobility issues, and mediated territorial conflicts, choosing a great cat litter can help make bathroom time easier for your senior cat.
Here are the qualities to look for when choosing the best cat litter for senior cats:
The Best Cat Litter For Senior Cats Is Low-dust And Doesn’t Stick To Your Cat’s Body.
Especially if your senior cat isn’t grooming as well as he used to, he shouldn’t step out of the litter box dirtier than he was when he stepped in.
- Weight and consistency are important, too- The best litter isn’t so light that he sinks to his ankles but not so dense that it makes digging difficult. Fine-grained clay litter usually fits this description, but you might also use a good silica gel, pellet-style, or biodegradable litter made from corn or wheat.
- It’s an all-around good cat litter- The best litter for seniors helps you to keep the box clean by creating rock-solid, easy-to-scoop clumps. It controls odors without a mask of irritating fragrances and is the right price for your budget.
Best Cat Litter For Senior Cats: Our Top 5 Picks
This litter from Dr. Elsey’s is designed and marketed specifically for senior cats. That’s a rare find. What makes it different from other products? Let’s take a closer look.
It’s a silica gel litter, which makes it extremely absorbent. Urine is sucked away into the crystals, leaving a dry surface behind, while feces is desiccated instead of swaddled in clay granules. Compared to clay litter, the result is drier and lower-maintenance.
According to Dr. Elsey’s, senior cats are 45% more likely to develop bacterial urinary tract infections.
When you combine poor grooming habits with sticky, dusty, dirty litter, you’re increasing the chances that your cat will step out of the litter box with fecal bacteria teeming around his urinary tract. Add on a diminished immune response and you’ve stepped into infection heaven.
Dr. Elsey’s claims that the litter’s quick-drying action makes it an antibacterial option, reducing the chances that your cat will get a urinary tract infection from his litter box.
The fine crystals are comfortable under cats’ feet and they’re infused with a “natural herbal attractant” that may help bring cats back to the box after they’ve started avoiding it.
Dr. Elsey’s makes some pretty lofty promises with this litter, and based on customer reviews, it’s kept most of them. Reviewers say their senior cats like the litter and most find it easy to handle and clean. The main recurring complaint is that the litter is dusty when poured.
This perennial crowd favorite combines everything you might want out of your cat’s litter into one package. It’s got great clumping ability for a cleaner box, relatively large granules that don’t stick in cats’ paws or track much, and it is one of the most economical products on the market.
If you suspect that your senior cat needs an upgraded litter that will stay clean for longer, is easier to scoop, and doesn’t turn to sludge or get stuck between your cat’s toes, this litter is one to consider.
The biggest benefit of this litter for senior cats is the fact that it won’t stick in his paws or fur. It is a relatively low-tracking, low-dust product. The litter has overall great performance, absorbing liquids and odors effectively.
Your biggest challenge will arise if your cat doesn’t like the pelleted texture, which some cats find uncomfortable.
There is a learning curve to cleaning out a box of pine pellets. After the litter is saturated, it turns into sawdust, so you’ll want to sift out and reserve the remaining pellets while discarding the dust. A sifting litter box makes this process simple.
Tip: If you want to save money on cat litter, try woodstove pellets or horse bedding.
These wood pellets perform extremely well—some say they’re even better than the stuff you buy for cats—and are significantly cheaper than any commercially-available cat litter. Find them at your local farm and ranch or hardware store.
Where odor control is paramount, this product from Tidy Cats is a good option to consider. The Free & Clean Unscented formula doesn’t have any synthetic fragrances or added scents in general, but it delivers superior odor control with the inclusion of odor-absorbing activated charcoal.
Like other Tidy Cats clumping clay products, this litter has relatively small, dense granules that are easy on the paws and glide through the litter scoop. It forms solid, easy-to-scoop clumps. Though some reviewers had cementing problems, it doesn’t appear that this litter sticks between cats’ toes.
The litter does produce a small amount of dust when you pour it, but customers agree that it’s relatively low-dust compared to other clay cat litter.
If your senior cat has sensitive paws, you might want to try this litter from Yesterday’s News. The litter is popular among kittens, declawed cats, and kitties with delicate or injured skin. It’s made from recycled newspaper and has a soft, gentle texture that’s easy on the toes.
Another benefit is that it doesn’t stick between your cat’s toes or in his fur. Unlike some clay litter that turns into sludge and cakes into cat paws, this litter leaves your cat clean after each visit to the litter box.
The litter doesn’t clump and gets saturated fast, so it isn’t tough on smells. You will need to dump out the contents of the litter box regularly. Frequent refills will keep odors down and the litter dry under your cat’s paws.
Litter Box Tips For Senior Cats
Choosing the right litter is just one part of resolving the potty problems common among senior cats. Here are a few tips to help you make the litter box a happier, healthier space for your senior.
- Provide a litter box with high sides and a low entrance. When arthritis grips your senior cat’s joints, jumping, stepping, and stretching over a shoulder-height wall becomes increasingly challenging and painful. Instead of putting herself through that, your arthritic cat might decide to go somewhere that doesn’t hurt, like a patch of carpet or a pile of laundry. Even if he chooses to use the litter box, he might not squat anymore, potentially sending a stream over the edge of the box. Your solution is to provide an accessible box that combines high sides with a low entrance. Easy access and flood control. Many guardians create their own accessible potties from cookie trays, under-bed storage containers, or Rubbermaid containers with doors cut in one side.
- If you’d prefer to buy a premade litter box, you have a few options.
- The KittyGoHere Litter Box is a spacious tray with an easy-access 3”-high entrance.
- The PetFusion large litter box (also called the BetterBox) is a robust non-stick tray with 8” sides and a 5” entrance.
- Keep the area clean. A dirty or even not-quite-spotless litter box may have been frustrating in the past and as your cat grows older, he might refuse to put up with it. After you’ve ruled out any other problems, it’s time to do some self-examination. If your housekeeping hasn’t been up to par, try scooping more often and more thoroughly or invest in a self-cleaning litter box.
- Mediate any territorial issues. Just like any cat at any age, senior cats in multiple-feline homes can find themselves tangled in territorial spats. When an aggressive cat makes another feel that his or her litter box is no longer a safe place, the victim could start avoiding the litter box. If you think that any of these power plays might be happening in your house, re-evaluate your litter box placement, making sure that each cat has a box of his own and can go whenever he wants without being disturbed by another cat.
Treat The Problem At Its Roots.
Health problems, including kidney disease, arthritis, stress, and urinary tract disease can cause many of the problems senior cats experience in the litter box. The right cat litter, a good litter box, and a healthy bathroom situation can help, but they won’t heal the underlying problems. Do your best to get to the bottom of the issue and address it through diet, exercise, nutritional supplements, and any other appropriate therapies.