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My cat is a carb-junkie
September 30, 2012 3:48 PM   Subscribe

I just switched to a wheat-based litter, and my cat promptly got in her litter box and started eating it. Has this happened to anyone else? Will she stop or do I need to find another alternative?

My cat has always had a thing for bread and bread-products, often preferring bread to meat. It didn't even occur to me that this love would extend to a wheat-based litter. I really don't want to use clay anymore, but litter is not very useful if she eats it instead of using it to do her business.

If you've ever used it, did your cat do this? Did they stop? Will she stop on her own, or is there anything I can (safely) do to make it less attractive to her?

I really want this to work (plus I don't have any clay litter in the house and it's Sunday night) - suggestions welcome!
posted by scrute to Pets & Animals (14 answers total)
 
Edmund has chewed his way into bags of Swheat Scoop and will if I were to leave the bag out. When I empty the litter box entirely to start over, he'll definitely sniff it and maybe munch a piece or two. At that point, though, he seems to remember it's litter and gets on with it (usually promptly peeing to re-mark the litter box as his territory). He did the same thing with World's Best, which is corn-based.
posted by hoyland at 3:55 PM on September 30, 2012


is there anything I can (safely) do to make it less attractive to her?

When you change the litter entirely (even keeping the same brand), it helps to mix in just a bit (like 10%) of the old liter (obviously clean sifted bits of it, but it will have enough traces of smell to do the trick) to remind them that they use that particular sand-box as their bathroom.

That said, it won't hurt her to eat some of it.

/ Funny semi-relevant aside - My cats live indoors, but I let them out into a fenced-off area for supervised play every now and then. And more than once, they've suddenly run inside to use their litter box. They don't recognize all that nasty dirty stuff outside as where they do their business!
posted by pla at 4:10 PM on September 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yep, one of mine (who is also a carb-freak, such that we thought we had mice for a while, but it was her climbing the shelves to eat the bread) will chew through the bag for both wheat- and corn-based litter, so I have to keep them in a cabinet. It's not a problem when it's in the box though. I think your cat will figure it out.
posted by unknowncommand at 4:24 PM on September 30, 2012 [2 favorites]


Unknowncommand - that sounds like my cat. We have to hide the bread and cereal or she breaks into it and eats it.
posted by scrute at 4:54 PM on September 30, 2012 [3 favorites]


Have you ever tried growing grass inside just for her to nibble on? Redirecting into an approved outlet is almost always easier than completely stopping a behavior (although obviously cats are.. challenging.. regardless).
posted by anaelith at 5:23 PM on September 30, 2012


Another option to get away from clay is to get compressed wood pellets for pellet stoves. They go for about $4/50lb bag at your local farm supply store (Tractor Supply Co is where I get them). Cheapest litter I've ever used, no smell, and easy to deal with (it doesn't clump, it falls apart, but it's so cheap we'd just pull the litter out of whatever corner our cats peed in).
posted by zug at 6:23 PM on September 30, 2012


Although now that I think about it, a sifting box would be perfect for this kind of litter.
posted by zug at 6:24 PM on September 30, 2012


Pellet stove fuel, really? That's an interesting idea. If it doesn't clump, how do you go about cleaning the litter box each day? I'd love to get away from clay litter (the dust!!), but haven't found any natural alternatives that have really worked.
posted by xedrik at 6:29 PM on September 30, 2012


We used a scoop that was similar to a cat litter scooper sans holes, like so. We'd just scoop dirty litter without sifting and toss it. A sifting cat litter box with sufficiently small holes would probably be even easier as the sawdust would fall right through the cracks.

Pellet stove fuel is sold in pet stores, too, at about 10x the price. It looks like the picture at the top of this page, you've probably seen it.
posted by zug at 6:49 PM on September 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Another thing to think about: Other animals like to eat grain-based litter, too. I happily used a corn-based litter for a couple of years before some mice showed up in our house and went crazy for the litter. If you've ever had a mouse problem or have any reason to be concerned about mice, that might be another argument for trying something else.

I switched to Blue Naturally Fresh brand, which is made of crushed walnut shells, and the mice didn't seem interested in that one. Maybe give that one a try if your cat won't quit eating the stuff you have now!
posted by jessypie at 7:21 PM on September 30, 2012


I used the same thing as zug - the pellets (although no experience with others, it was recommended) - and as zug describes, as the kitties use the litter box, the soiled pellets will break apart. It doesn't smell, or smells like wood if you're up close. No complaints, cats liked it, thumbs up!
posted by joannqy at 9:19 PM on September 30, 2012


A somewhat related and potentially humorous but not especially relevant AskMe question that I posed some time ago.
posted by Dr. Wu at 9:44 AM on October 1, 2012


Another option to get away from clay is to get compressed wood pellets for pellet stoves. They go for about $4/50lb bag at your local farm supply store (Tractor Supply Co is where I get them). Cheapest litter I've ever used, no smell, and easy to deal with (it doesn't clump, it falls apart, but it's so cheap we'd just pull the litter out of whatever corner our cats peed in).

My girls are on a clumping wood sawdust litter. We need to vacuum a bit more, but it's very low smell. I tried switching them over to pellets, but my cats were as distressed as a human being switched over to 1 cm wide toilet paper.
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:15 PM on October 2, 2012


She did stop eating it out of her litter box, but it is worth noting that it only took her about 10 days to figure it out the bag was full of this tasty goodness. I awoke one morning last week to the sight of her eating the litter out of the bag, having ripped it open during the night.

It is now sealed safely away.
posted by scrute at 3:16 PM on October 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


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