For cats who are not allowed outdoors, cat litter is vital. Even some cats who are allowed outside come back inside to use the bathroom! Cat litter absorbs liquid and odor and gives the cat something to scratch around in.
Here we will look at the best types of Cat Litters, from Clay to Silica.
People used sand for cat boxes until Kitty Litter, made of clay-based on Fuller’s earth, was invented in 1947. Today clay cat litter is usually made of zeolite, diatomite, and sepiolite.
Most clumping kitty litters are made from granulated bentonite clay which clumps together when wet. The clumps can be scooped out. Clumping litter also usually contains quartz or diatomaceous earth which can clog a toilet.
Biodegradable litters are made from various plant materials including sawdust, Brazilian cassava, pinewood pellets, recycled newspaper, dried orange peel, corn, wheat, walnuts, barley, and okara.
Silica Gel Crystals
This is a porous granular form of silicon dioxide. It has the highest absorbency of any litter, excellent moisture control, and better odor elimination than any other litter.
For some people, the only reason they don’t want a cat is because of having to constantly buy and deal with cat litter and the smell of the litter pan. But those of us who are owned by cats know that they are worth it.
Some people make their own litter since the ingredients are simple. But the process is time-consuming and probably would not be helpful for a multi-cat home.
Whatever type of cat litter you end up using, you can enhance its odor-absorbing capacity sprinkling down a base of baking soda each time you change it.
Other Types Of Cat Litter
Here we look at other types of Cat Litters.
Clay Or Non-Clumping Cat Litter
This is the most popular cat litter. The ingredients clump together when wet, so cat staff can scoop out urine clumps along with poops. What’s left in the pan can be topped up for a long time before a complete replacement is required.
You absolutely can’t flush anything scooped from this litter down the toilet. And it is more expensive than the clay type.
Multi-Cat & Scented
Homes that have several cats have a real problem with keeping odor under control. Some top brands sell multi-cat versions of their clumping and non-clumping litters. These have special ingredients for extra odor control.
Bear in mind that those ingredients are chemicals and could be harmful to you or your cats over time.
Scented cat litters are basically the same thing with the same problems. And some of them actually smell pretty awful even before they’ve been used. You’re better off using baking soda.
Food-based litters sometimes get infested with bugs or larvae–keep them airtight.
An example is World’s Best Cat Litter – one of the most popular cat litters.
- Granules are large, which is good for kittens but it doesn’t feel as good against cats’ paws as some other materials
- Clumping is good
- Some people find it controls odor very well but others can’t stand the smell of the unused product itself
- It’s kind of dusty, not good for cats with breathing problems, and it tracks
- It’s expensive
An example is Swheat Scoop – it’s made from wheat that isn’t high-quality enough for people food.
- Granules seem to satisfy cats – not particularly coarse, not particularly fine
- Clumping – inconsistent – can be loose masses that fall apart when scooping and can stick to the box
- When the clumping stops working well so does the odor control. It may need a change after two weeks or two months
- It may or may not be dusty but tracking is a problem
- Cheaper than corn-based
The leading examples are Feline Pine and Feline Fresh – it’s made from sawdust from lumber mills.
- Granules – the most popular pine litters were originally in pellet format only, but now they have finer clumping versions
- Clumping can be weak at times
- Pine litters control urine well. Some people say that it doesn’t do much to control the odor of poop though. If you are scooping that shouldn’t matter
- Some people love the woodsy smell of the litter and some find it too strong
- Dust – it doesn’t track as much as other natural litters
- Cheaper than most natural litters and lasts a long time
The leading brand is BLUE Naturally Fresh – it’s made from walnut shells.
- Granules – the Naturally Fresh brand comes in a few varieties. Quick-Clumping has a finer texture and Quick-Clumping Multi-Cat is coarser. Some cats dislike the coarser formula. There is also a pellet formula.
- Clumping is not bad at all
- The finer clumping version has better odor control
- Dust and tracking are less of a problem with the finer grade versions of this litter
- Medium priced
Crystal cat litters have to be managed properly to get the best out of them. If you do it right, they are the best at controlling odor and at absorbing moisture. Scoop the poop and then stir what’s left – if you do this every day you are good for a month with one cat.
Because it lasts so long, it is extremely cost-effective. And the bags are not heavy to bring home.
In a multi-cat home, if they have a whim to all use the same litter pan on the same day, your crystals are not going to last a week.
Crystals are not as gentle on your cat’s paws as the other litter formulations.