Not all cats are "born" litter trained, and the concept of using one may be very confusing to some at first, especially if they have a history of living outdoors. If your kitty just isn't gravitating toward her litter box, then some sand may be able to do the trick.
If your cat is a newbie to indoor life, sand may be able to make her litter box transition process go significantly more smoothly. Remember, outdoor cats are comfortable with and adapted to eliminating in the dirt, not litter from the supermarket. When a cat seems to have a problem with commercial types of litters, whether due to clay textures or strong fragrances, sand may be helpful in making the pet feel more at home.
If you're not too keen on the idea of using sand as a permanent litter option, you may be able to use it only temporarily. Encourage your kitty to go in the litter box using sand, and then slowly but surely start adding in your commercial litter of choice. If you do this gradually over a course of two weeks or so, you'll have nothing but "real" litter at the end -- and hopefully, your cat won't even notice that anything is different at all. Changing from sand to commercial litter abruptly may be a shock to the system for your cat, so take things slowly.
Sand can be a more economical litter choice for your cat, especially if you prefer to thoroughly clean the tray out every day. Adding in new litter all of the time can get pricey, and fast. To keep your cat's litter box situation as fresh and pleasant as possible without having to break the bank, sand may just be the way to go. Other inexpensive traditional litter alternatives, apart from sand, are shredded newspaper, soil and sawdust.
Fine-Grained Litter Options
Apart from just opting for genuine sand, you may also want to consider using a litter that feels similar to sand -- think fine-grained options rather than clay, for example. These types of litters not only might feel a lot like sand, they also might be a lot smoother and more comfortable on your wee pet's paws -- a definite advantage there.
- ASPCA: Cat Litter
- The Humane Society of the United States: Preventing Litter Box Problems
- Petfinder: Help! He's Not Using the Litter Box
- Animal Humane Society: Litter Box 101
- Humane Society of Utah: Litter Box Training Your New Kitten
- Oshkosh Area Humane Society: Litter Box Training
- The Merck Veterinary Manual: Behavioral Problems Associated With Feline Elimination