I have decided to change the type of litter I'm using for my two kittens. I have been using a regular non clumping grit but I hate it. The kittens are fine with it though. I was thinking of changing to a wood pellet type. The options here in Ireland are not that great, just grit, wood pellet and then some kind of crystal looking stuff. I am looking for advice on how to change over. Do I just clean in out and put in the new litter or mix the new with the old and slowly increase the new type? Last thing I want is for them to start avoiding the litter tray. All advice greatly received. Thanks.
i used tidy cat regular for years, which would be the equivalent of your grit i suppose, then the clumping for a few but i hated all the dust so i switched to wood pellets. i had one cat i had had problems with (peeing in my bed--before you say i'm insane, all he wanted was another litter box by my bed. quit 100%--only goes in the box) so i was concerned about him going somewhere else because he didn't like it. i have three cats and they all love it, mostly because there is no urine odor. (the poop you must get as soon as possible and flush but it's not a big deal.)
i have two boxes, so i left one with the regular litter in it (the one by my bed lol--just in case, i figured that would be the one he would want if for some reason the new was unacceptable) and the second one i put about 75% clumping litter and put about 25% pellets on the bottom. the guy told me to use a little soiled litter on top because the pine doesn't smell and they might go wth? then as you remove clumps or poo or whatever, just keep adding a handful of pellets. keep it mixed in pretty good so they get used to the texture slowly. it seems like if it creeps up on them, they don't really notice.
the crystals aren't really a good choice for several reasons: most of them are silica-based and that's poison. on top of that, it's a dessicant. the problem comes in because the cat ingests it because they get it on their paws and lick themselves clean. they may not be getting in the box and literally eating it but over time, the effects will be cumulatve. some people love it because it's really absorbent and you can go 30 days before you change it (supposedly). but i think if that were my only option, i'd strongly consider going outside and getting plain old dirt to use--and that sounds like a pain and i don't foresee ever getting to that point.
it took me about 10 days to switch completely over. and for some weird reason, they were all using the pellet box much more than the old kind. so i started changing the second box over, and nobody complained or went outside the box. but when you first start, do make sure you have one that you're starting to switch with, and one entirely of the old kind because some cats won't use pine. actually i'm not sure if what you have is pine or something else, so if it's a different kind of wood they won't have a problem with the smell but it won't control urine odor either. the advantage to it is that it's eco-friendly and it's very inexpensive. if you have no odor control, just use less and change it all every 2-3 days.
you can buy a special litter box for wood pellets, but don't do that until you see if they'll use it. even then, you don't have to buy a new box because i've been using the booda domes and i switched litter in may of this year. there's a trick to it so i'll let you know when you get to that point. you are going to need another tray though, if you only have one. you could try to risk it, but i'll tell you right now that if they start going somewhere else, you will lose your mind trying to correct the behavior. (of course if it's in the corner and not your bed, you won't be AS crazy as i was, but it's all horrible.)
so yeah, don't just fill up a box completely with the new litter because that's a good recipe for behavioral disaster. taking 7-10 days to get it completely pellets is enough time to see if they'll use it. good luck!