Cat Litter 2 – why not clay-based clumping litter for long-haired cats

23 August, 2007

The previous post on cat litter was meant to be a one-off, but now it seems my musings may become a series.

As the title of this post so succintly implies, clay-based clumping may not be the best choice for long-haired cats.  Or kittens, as the case happens to be.

If you recall, in Cat Litter 1, I was comparing World’s Best (a corn-based clumping) with Catsan clumping (clay-based).  Despite the fact that WB is more expensive, the kittens went for the Catsan.

I was on the verge of transferring my loyalties to Catsan.  [sigh of relief from bank manager]

Anyway, last night I changed my mind.  I got back to find the waft of cat poo in the house.  I couldn’t track down the smell until the little boy kitten started digging up a rug.  He only does that if the rug is dirty so I knew something was up.

I picked him up and ohno-ohyes, the smell of kitten bottom hit me.  Turns out that his poo must have been slightly squishy and stuck to his bottom and he’d tried to get it off by sitting in the cat litter.  Unfortunately it was the Catsan, and it was stuck to his bum and his furry pantaloons.

I tried cleaning it off with wet kitchen towels, but it only just set the mix so that it was like a plaster cast.

In the end, I had to plonk him into the kitchen sink and run the tap.  He struggled and lashed out and the resulting stigmata he inflicted on me has me running for a sainthood.  He did hold still for about 5 seconds when he felt his bum ease.  It was a nasty task, needing much fingernail work – best not read this if you’re eating.  Finally I gave up and dried him off and he scampered away without a thank-you.  Then I had to clean the kitchen floor which had suspicious paw stains on it, and the living room floor.

So … this is the last time I use a clay-based clumping litter for the kittens.  Seeing how hard it clumped and stuck to his fur, I can understand why the kitten was unable to clean his bum.  And thank heavens for that, because if the kitten had swallowed the litter, imagine what would happen to its insides.



  1. OMG I just 5 minutes ago had the identical experience with my Maine Coonish mix cat. He had a huge clump of poo stuck to his rear end and also smelled horribly of urine. Well, what better to do on a Saturday night then put the cat in the kitchen sink? I had to call my husband after much profanities to remove the cat claws from my back. (Oops, children in the house!) That litter would not come out for anything. I had to cut it out wet into the sink. A foul smell it all was. I cleaned as much as a could, but I’m sure I’ll have to go back for seconds as soon as he’s dried off a bit. I’m sure he was consoled by the attentions thrown on him from our 120 pound dog. Now I will go change my clothes and look into some other kind of litter that doesn’t stick to the hind quarters of hygenically-challenged boy cats. I’m going to pour some wine now as well. Hopefully, he won’t sit on the clean bed sheets until I get one more go at him.

    • Hi Fiona,

      That’s amazing that it happened to you too! Well, the same thing happened when I used corn-based litter (World’s Best) but it didn’t set so hard and kind of softened under water. You could also try paper-based or wood-based litter but that may not clump as well as the clay/corn-based.

      I know a breeder of Persians who doesn’t have a problem at all using clay-based litter.

      Some people I know trim the pantaloons and bum fur of their Maine Coon cats – they claim that helps quite a lot. I wonder if it’s something that only affects boy cats. I haven’t had any reports of this happening to girl cats.

      These cats, eh … we’re slaves to them!

      Thanks for sharing your experiences with us. I laughed when you said you had to remove the cat claws from your back – it’s amazing how strong these cats suddenly become when faced with water! (next time, just let your dog deal with it – yum!)

      Best wishes.

  2. Nope definitely not just a boy cat thing- we just had exactly same experience with our little girl kitten!

  3. Hi Rachel, thanks for sharing your experience. It’s interesting though … girl kittens tend to be more fastidious about cleaning themselves, and not soiling themselves in the first place – she must have had a bad experience! Hope she’s nice and clean now!

    • Oh yes, it happens with girl cats too! I found this post by looking up what in the world to do about this exact delimma. I considered trimming her and wondered what cat litter is best. Right now I am using Tidy Cat Advanced formula. The smell after she poos is terrible. It doesn’t keep odors down at all. My parents have used World’s Best and I hate it. This is my first long haired cat. She is a beautiful, 6 month old, Mink Ragdoll. But I am scared to leave the house because I am afraid she will have poo stuck in her fur and get it on something.

      • Oh my! I have full sympathy for you!

        Thanks for sharing about Tidy Cat – is that Sophisticat? Sometimes the ones made from pine dust work too.

        One suggestion is to clip the fur around her bum area. I know it will spoil her beauty, but it’s worth it for not having the hassle of having to wash her or track the poo around the house whenever she sits down!

        As for the smell after the poos, have you tried varying her diet to see if any other types of cat food or meat have different effects? Like us humans, cats sometimes have different reactions to different types of food. Try a low-carb food. Or better still, try feeding raw. When I had a litter of 7 kittens, you can imagine what it must have been like with 7 pooing kittens. But when I fed raw, I swear to you – the poo was firm and while it smelt a little the smell didn’t linger.

        Or get some sort of cat litter where she can bury it under the sand. Or get an electric self-cleaning tray and put it somewhere like a cupboard with a cat flap.

        Best wishes and good luck!

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