Pet Direct Customer Service Manager Alecia Deacon is a cat fanatic. With over 25 years experience in the pet industry and 20 years breeding and showing cats, there is not many questions Alecia can't answer when it comes to felines. We decided to pick her brain on all things litter.
Pet Talk: Cat litter tips from our cat fanatic
Tell us a bit about yourself, you breed cats. When, how and why did you start?
I have been in the pet industry for over 25 years, and have also had a wide range of pets over the years including marine fish, leopard geckos, and parrots. I had a desexed kitten that I started to show at various shows around Auckland, and I then later adopted a desexed male Scottish Fold who I showed. About one year later I got my first Catz Inc. prefix and a breeding trio of Scottish folds. I have trained as an all-breed cat judge and currently breed British Shorthairs in a range of patterns and colours. I have also previously bred Ragdolls, Cornish Rex and Selkirk Rex.
I am bringing a brand new kitten home, what are your top tips for litter training?
My number one tip would be to find out what brand of litter the breeder or rescue group is using and get the same litter. If you suddenly change litters you kitten may not like the litter and stop using the litter tray. Also, choose one place where the tray is going to be and leave it there, don't move it around as this can confuse the kitten and you may end up with accidents around the house.
Accidents do happen though, and because cats tend to go back to the same place they have gone to the toilet, it is important to have a deterrent as well as a good quality cleaning product. Nature's Miracle Pet Block Cat Repellent Spray contains natural repellent scents which cats dislike and prefer not to smell. The aversion to the product's scent is what causes cats to stay away from treated areas.
What are your absolute favourite brands of litter and why?
I have a couple of favourite brands. I love the Breeders Celect litter as it is great for kittens and made from 100% recycled papers. This means it's a nice, safe option for cats and kittens. The Trouble & Trix Natural Litter is made from tofu and is great for clumping and controlling smell. It also doesn't track a lot, which is an added bonus. The world's best Zero mess is great for controlling odour and clumps nicely. It's lightweight and eco friendly.
What is the most common benefit cat owners look for in a litter?
This really depends on personal preference, but a lot of people look for eco friendly options and odour control. There are some great eco options available like the World's Best Litter range which is made out of corn cobs and is also 99% dust free. Trouble & Trix Cat Litter Natural is made from Tofu and Breeders Celect is made from recycled paper and is ideal for kittens. Trouble and Trix also have some great options for odour control, and these also clump for easier clean up.
I have an indoor cat, should I change my cat’s litter throughout different stages of their life?
I would recommend using the Breeders Celect, or another natural litter, until your kitten is 6 months old, because it is made from 100% recycled paper and kittens tend to eat things that they aren't supposed to. This litter won't be harmful to them in any way. Once they reach 6 months you can change their litter to a clumping or odour control type. You won't need to change your cats litter after that (unless you want to). If your indoor cat has stopped using their litter tray it is best to check in with your vet to rule out any medical issue such as a urinary infection.
Should my purebred Ragdoll use the same litter and litter tray as my Tabby?
Some cats are happy to share a litter box with other cats, others may prefer their own. If you are having toileting issues I would recommend adding a second litter box. You don't need different litters for different breeds of cat, it just depends on the individual cats preference!
Where in the house do you recommend setting up a cat’s litter tray?
It is best to put it in an area that is quiet and out of the way that the cat can access readily, a laundry or bathroom is ideal. I have multiple litter trays in my home for my cats.
I have a kitten that will be an outdoor cat, when should I let them out and how can I transition them from a litter tray to going outside?
You should ideally keep your kitten inside until they are 6 months of age, this is because they don't develop their navigational instincts until this age. I would definitely suggest using a harness and lead the first time you let them out, this will prevent them from taking off if for any reason they get spooked. It's a good idea to get your cat microchipped and registered with your details just in case. Your cat should naturally start to go toilet outside, but continue to keep their litter tray inside for a while, especially for night time. Once you feel comfortable your cat is no longer using the litter tray, you can take it away.
Choosing the perfect litter set up for your kitten or indoor cat can be tricky, and if you would like to talk to Alecia or one of our Customer Service Experts don't hesitate to reach out on 0800 200 240.