Does Cat Litter Really Attract Cats? The Surprising Truth

What is Cat Attract Litter?

Cat attract litter is a type of clumping clay litter that contains herbal scents and/or pheromones designed to encourage cats to use their litter box for urination and defecation. The main claimed benefit of cat attract litters is that the herbal scents and pheromones create an environment that is attractive and inviting to cats.

Some of the popular herbal scents used in cat attract litters include lavender, chamomile, citrus, pine, and lemongrass. These provide a pleasant aroma that cats enjoy. As for pheromones, most cat attract litters contain feline facial pheromones. When cats rub their faces on objects, they spread these pheromones which act as “happy signals” to other cats to encourage marking and use of that area. By mimicking this effect, cat attract litters stimulate cats’ natural instincts to eliminate in the litter box [1].

Popular brands of cat attract litter include Dr. Elsey’s Cat Attract, Purina Tidy Cats Cat Attract, and Fresh Step Cat Attract. These all contain proprietary herbal scent blends. Most also include antimicrobials to inhibit bacteria growth and a lightweight clay formulation for odor control.

How Cat Attract Litters Work

Cat attract litters work by utilizing natural herbs and synthetic pheromones to entice cats to use the litter box. The key ingredients in most cat attract litters are:

a cat sniffing different types of litter in boxes

  • Herbs – Cat attract litters often contain dried organic herbs like catnip, lemongrass, and valerian root. These herbs contain oils and compounds that are attractive to cats and encourage them to roll around and dig in the litter. Catnip in particular contains the compound nepetalactone which binds to cat’s olfactory receptors and has a fascinating effect on many cats [1].
  • Pheromones – Synthetic feline pheromones are added to mimic the natural pheromones produced by cats. These pheromones often contain F3 or Feliway, which mark the litter as a safe territory and attractive area for cats to eliminate [2].

The combination of enticing herbal scents and pheromones attracts cats to use the litter box regularly. Cats are drawn to dig and eliminate in the litter due to their natural instincts and the inviting scent. Using these specially formulated litters can re-attract cats to the litter box if they have started eliminating elsewhere.

Evidence That Cat Attract Litter Works

There are several studies that provide statistical evidence on the effectiveness of cat attract litters in encouraging cats to use the litter box. A 2019 study published in the journal Frontiers in Veterinary Science looked at the behavior of 17 cats using 3 types of litters, including Dr. Elsey’s Cat Attract. The results showed cats used the Cat Attract litter box significantly more often for urination compared to the other litters.

In addition to statistical studies, there is a wealth of anecdotal evidence from cat owners about the effectiveness of cat attract litters. On forums and product reviews, owners frequently report dramatic improvements in litter box usage after switching to Cat Attract. Many mention Cat Attract was the only solution that worked to resolve inappropriate urination issues after trying various other litters and techniques.

a happy cat using its litter box consistently

Benefits of Using Cat Attract Litter

Using cat attract litter provides several benefits for cat owners and their feline companions:

Reduces inappropriate elimination: The main purpose of cat attract litters is to encourage cats to consistently use their litter box for urination and defecation. The patented attractant draws cats to use the litter box rather than going outside of it. This reduces messy and troublesome inappropriate elimination incidents around the home.

Easier to litter train cats: Cat attract litters use scents and textures that appeal to a cat’s natural instincts. This makes it easier to litter train kittens or cats that are struggling with litter box training. The attractants give cats a positive association with their litter box.

Healthier for cats: By reducing inappropriate elimination, cat attract litters help keep the home environment clean and sanitary. This promotes better health for cats by reducing their contact with bacteria from waste. The litters are also designed to clump firmly and minimize tracking, further contributing to cleanliness.

Potential Downsides of Cat Attract Litter

While cat attract litters can be very effective at enticing reluctant cats to use the litter box, there are some potential downsides to be aware of:

Cat attract litters tend to be more expensive than regular clay or clumping litters. For example, a 20-lb bag of Dr. Elsey’s Cat Attract litter costs around $25, while a similar quantity of regular clumping litter may only cost $10-15. The specialized herbs and scents added to cat attract litters increase the price.

Some cats may not be attracted to the scents used in cat attract litters. According to reviews on Amazon (, a small percentage of cats showed no change in litter box habits when switched to a cat attract litter. The scents simply did not entice them like they do for most cats.

When transitioning a cat to a new cat attract litter, it’s important to do so slowly by mixing it with their old litter. Suddenly switching litters can deter cats from using the litter box. Per Dr. Elsey’s recommendations (, start with a 25/75 mixture of new to old litter and slowly transition over 2-4 weeks.

How to Transition Your Cat to Cat Attract Litter

The key to successfully transitioning your cat to cat attract litter is to take things slowly and give your cat time to adjust. Here are some tips:

Gradually mix in the cat attract litter with your cat’s regular litter. Start with 25% attract litter and 75% regular litter. Over the course of a week or two, slowly increase the ratio of attract litter. This allows your cat to get used to the new texture and smell.

Place a new litter box with 100% cat attract litter near your cat’s old litter box. The smell of the attract litter will lure your cat over to investigate the new box. Having the two boxes side by side makes the transition easier.

Be patient and give your cat time to get accustomed to the new litter. It can take several weeks for a cat to fully accept a new type of litter. Don’t force the transition too quickly or you may stress out your cat.

an orange cat cautiously stepping into a new litter box

Make sure the cat attract litter box is scooped frequently to encourage use. The cleaner the box, the more appealing it will be to try out.

Consider adding a litter attractant or catnip to the litter to make it more enticing. Dr. Elsey’s Cat Attract litter already contains herbal attractants, but you can supplement with an additional attractant.

If your cat is still resistant, you may need to transition back to regular litter and try again more slowly. Every cat has their own timeline when adjusting to changes.

With time and patience, you can guide your cat into happily using cat attract litter. The key is taking it slow and allowing your cat to adjust on their own terms.

Tips for Successfully Using Cat Attract Litter

When transitioning your cat to Cat Attract litter, it’s important to be patient. Cats can be slow to adjust to new litters, so give them time to get used to the new scent and texture. Expect the transition process to take 2-4 weeks. Don’t give up too quickly if your cat seems hesitant at first.

Make sure litter boxes are clean, easily accessible, and filled with enough litter. Cats prefer tidy, open litter boxes that they can enter and exit easily. Scoop waste at least once a day and change the litter completely every 1-2 weeks.

Use Cat Attract litter consistently for at least 2-4 weeks to allow your cat time to adjust. The herbal scents and patented attractant in the litter work over time to entice cats to use the litter box. Be consistent and don’t switch back and forth between litters during the transition process.

Try mixing in a small amount of Cat Attract with your old litter at first, gradually increasing the ratio over 2 weeks. This gradual transition can make it easier for your cat to get used to the new litter.

Make sure your cat always has access to more than one litter box. Provide at least one litter box per cat, plus an extra box in a different location. This gives your cat options if they don’t take to the Cat Attract litter right away.

Be patient and consistent when transitioning to Cat Attract litter. With time, your cat will be attracted to use the litter box thanks to the patented blend of herbs, pheromones, and scents.


When to Use Cat Attract Litter

Cat attract litter can be useful in several situations:

  • For litter training kittens – Kittens just learning to use the litter box may be drawn to cat attract litter more than regular clay or clumping litter due to its natural herb scent.
  • To retrain adult cats – If an adult cat has stopped using its litter box, switching to a cat attract litter may entice the cat to resume appropriate elimination habits. The attractant encourages cats to seek out the litter box.
  • To resolve inappropriate elimination – If a cat is urinating or defecating outside of its litter box for an unknown reason, cat attract litter can help re-attract the cat back to the proper location.

According to Dr. Elsey’s Cat Attract® Cat Litter, the cat attractant blended into the litter provides a solution for owners whose cats have stopped properly using their litter box. The natural herb scent appeals to most cats’ instincts and draws them to the litter. For cats that have begun eliminating elsewhere in the home, cat attract litter should be used in all litter boxes to re-establish good litter box habits.

Alternatives to Cat Attract Litter

While cat attract litters can be very effective, there are some alternatives pet owners may want to consider:

Other Scented Litters

cat attracted to a natural pine litter instead of clay

There are many other scented and unscented natural cat litters that may appeal to your cat. Some popular options include wheat, pine, and corn litters. These natural litters often use herbs and grains to attract cats. Always transition slowly to a new litter to give your cat time to adjust.

Cat Attractant Sprays and Powders

Instead of buying a whole bag of specialized litter, you can try a cat attractant spray or powder to add scent to your regular litter. These products contain catnip, valerian, and pheromones designed to attract cats to the litter box. Simply spray or sprinkle it onto the litter as needed.

Pheromone Diffusers/Collars

Feliway and other brands make pheromone diffusers and collars designed to reduce stress for cats. While not directly advertised for litter box issues, calming pheromones may help encourage appropriate elimination habits. Place the diffuser near the litter box or have your cat wear a collar constantly.

Check with your veterinarian before changing litters or using attractants if your cat is having urinary issues. Make all litter changes slowly and reward your cat for using the new litter.

The Bottom Line on Cat Attract Litter

In summary, cat attract litter can be an effective solution for cat owners struggling with litter box avoidance issues. The key feature of these litters is the use of herbal scents and pheromones that appeal to a cat’s natural instincts and make the litter more attractive. Studies have shown the pheromone Feliway can encourage litter box use. Anecdotal evidence from cat owners also suggests these litters work to re-attract cats to the box.

The biggest benefits of cat attract litters are resolving inappropriate elimination issues and making litter box training easier for kittens or newly adopted cats. They provide an alternative approach to punishment or stress that may compound litter box problems. While they tend to cost more than traditional litter, they can save money and hassle compared to cleaning carpets, floors, and furniture.

There are no major downsides to trying a cat attract litter, beyond the higher cost. It likely will not impact cats who do not already have a litter box problem. Cats tend to take well to the natural scents. However, owners should still transition slowly by mixing the attract litter with regular litter at first.

For any cat owner struggling with a cat refusing to use the litter box, a cat attract litter is worth trying. The pheromone and herb formula shows promise in reorienting cats to use the litter box consistently. Along with environmental changes to make the box more appealing, cat attract litters can help resolve litter box issues.

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