Cat Behavior 101,  Vet 101

What’s In Your Kitty Litter?

If you love cats, sharing makes us purrrr :-)

world's best litter-catwisdom 101

This week’s Vet Q & A is about playing kitty litter detective. But first: a reader follow-up question from last’s week’s Q & A.

Q: I have a question for the good Dr., what about a cat that will ONLY drink water out of the dog’s bowl and NOT his own?

A: Although they won’t often admit it, I think some cats secretly admire their canine counterparts. My cat Weezle hisses and swats at my dog Cooper every chance she gets. Yet, when it comes time to gather ‘round the water cooler, she sneaks right in under Cooper’s chin to imbibe from the water bowl at the same time. Some might see the cat’s drinking out of the dog’s water bowl as a passive-aggressive maneuver (“I will drink out of this bowl because I can.”). I prefer to think of it as a bit of a wink from my cat, saying, “He’s not that bad, but I have to keep up appearances.” Nothing wrong with sharing the bowl – as long as everyone’s healthy. Just keep it fresh.

Have a question for our Vet, Dr. Richard Goldstein? Email it to the editor at [email protected]

We received a free bag of World’s Best Litter to try and Odin happily played guinea pig. This is the only litter made of corn and smells good enough to eat. I like the idea of an all natural biodegradable, flushable litter but would the cats? They weren’t keen on the scent. If your cat is used to a clay-based litter, I would suggest mixing in World’s Best gradually to help them adjust to the difference in smell and fine texture. The company is all about making a difference for a sustainable planet and that’s a good thing. No one at was paid for this review.

worlds best litter-cat wisdom 101

Q: I have three cats and three litter boxes but they share. I don’t know who is doing what where. Without hovering 24/7 how do I know who had diarrhea is constipated or not peeing enough. With clumping litter what is a normal size for urine clumps and how many a day?

Well, Inspector, you bring up some very interesting points. In a multi-cat household where food and litterboxes are shared, determining who’s out of sorts can be a real challenge. Here’s where the subtlety of the job comes into play. I remember when my Grandma used to look at me and say, “Your eyes look glassy.” The next day I’d break with a cold. To Grandma, that was my “tell.” The key here is to learn what’s normal for your cats, and look for little “tells’’
that may alert you that someone requires a little extra attention.

  • Is someone’s appetite a little off? (a big sign that a cat isn’t feeling well)
  • Is someone sleeping or hiding or less playful than usual?
  • Does someone’s haircoat look a little rougher than normal? (dehydration from any problem can be reflected in the sleekness of the coat)
  • Does someone smell a little differently? (vomiting and diarrhea can be pretty stinky)
  • Can you hear someone’s stomach gurgling more than normal?
  • Is someone walking a little funny (blocked male cats or cats with painful bladders will often walk more tentatively)
  • Is someone spending more time at the water bowl?

When all else fails, sometimes it’s necessary to separate everyone for a day to fully determine who’s not feeling well.

And speaking of “normal”, litterbox habits in cats can be as varied as bathroom habits in people. Some cats urinate once or twice a day, the size of ping-pong balls. Some cats have bowel movements only every other day, while others may go twice a day. Look for changes. If your cat usually pees twice a day, and is now peeing like a racehorse, or has no pee-clumps in the box, something’s wrong. If your three litterboxes are filling up faster or slower, it may be time to put on your Sherlock Holmes cap and Houndstooth coat, and get to work looking for clues.


  • Esme

    My little one has asthma and we are huge fans of World’s Best Litter-my thought is get away from anything with dust. It clumps great.

  • Oui Oui

    We have water bowls that look like water coolers. When Oui was little she sat on the sides of the normal water bowls and tipped them over. Every day. All day. These were the only ones that wouldn’t tip. She sat on them once or twice then stopped when they didn’t tip & spill.
    You were right about more in the package than just litter. We’ll be working on the post this weekend. The mom had a couple days (and another one tomorrow) where she had to work until 10:30 pm.

  • Brian

    Our ceramic fountain is the favorite here, but second place is a big dog water bowl we call The Pond! There were 2 woofies that lived here before they went to The Bridge and the bowl is a favorite treasure.

  • Marg

    The cats around here drink out of what ever is closest. The dogs and cats drink out of the same bowl. The outside cats have buckets and bowls of water all over the place. A lot of them like the rain water off the roof.
    We have to buy the cheapest litter we can get. We don’t use the clumping kind since it can clump in their tummies if they lick their feet. I had it happen to one of mine several years ago.
    Good luck with your change of litter.

  • Cheysuli

    The Woman also says that gut feeling can be helpful. Her first UTI cat was a multi male cat household and someone was peeing blood but she didn’t know. Her gut hit was one of her cats and she isolated him over night and found blood in his urine and took him in. She has no idea why she thought he was the one–she just did. It always pays when isolating problems to listen to your gut

    • boomermuse

      Chey, we agree with gut feelings which are intuition.
      @Marg, rain water must be nice if clean. Dom used drink out our our little pond.
      @Brian, we love really big bowls too. Maybe it reminds them of their ancestors and watering holes in nature.

  • Ingrid King

    I’ve tried switching to World’s Best Cat Litter several times,because for the most part, I like the idea of this litter very much. I even tried the gradual switch. Much to my disappointment, none of my cats ever accepted it, but I’m also not going to push my luck. Too much change in the litter box usually does not go over well with most cats.

    • boomermuse

      Ingrid, I agree about not upsetting the apple cart. Cat are so particular about change which is why I suggested the gradual switch. So far the jury is out with our crew.

  • Caren Gittleman

    I was thrilled to see the first question about a cat that will only drink out of the dog’s water bowl! That’s Cody! I was glad to read that this is nothing to worry about. The only thing that concerns me, is that Cody has food allergies and I often wonder if Dakota’s bowl would aggravate them.

    Also…about a year ago we reviewed World’s Best litter and have been World’s Best Litter users ever since! We love it! We also gradually added World’s Best to our former litter and Cody adjusted perfectly.

  • Carolyn

    I use wood chip cat litter. It smells like the forest! But Austin hardly ever uses it as he prefers to do his business outside. This can be difficult when determining changes to bathroom habits. The other signs are good to watch out for, though. Thanks 🙂

    • Karen Lucas

      We started using the Breeze system a couple of years ago – it’s pellets in a pan with a tray underneath which has a pad in it which absorbs the pee – you scoop the poop out of the pellets and change the pad about once a week. We thought the cats would never use it but after a few weeks with the Breeze pans next to their Fresh Step litter pans, we just took away the Fresh Step pans and they all just use the Breeze pans. Even the new 14 year olds use them. Wonderful stuff because there’s no dust for them to inhale and the pellets don’t track. We just love it but odd that no one talks about it and it really isn’t advertised or promoted. We did try the World’s Best before we went with the Breeze but the cats didn’t like the smell………..

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