Choosing The Right Cat Litter: Why It Really Does Matter
Why Are There So Many Different Cat Litters?
Have you ever looked at all the cat litter options and wondered, "Why?" If you are just going to dispose of it, why does it matter which cat litter you pick for your kitty? Turns out, it really does matter!
For one thing, some cats have litter preferences. They may prefer a specific texture or smell to their litter, and you might find they won’t relieve themselves in the litter pan if they don’t approve of the litter you choose! Also, some cat breeds or cats with certain health conditions require special types of litter.
Additionally, your litter choice is going to determine how much attention you have to pay to the litter box. Choose the right type of litter, and you'll hardly have to exert any effort; choose a cheap, basic litter and you'll have to empty and clean the entire box often!
Finally, the type (and brand) of litter will greatly determine how much odor, dust, and litter granules escape from the box into your home's environment. Some litters are more absorbent than others, some have less dust, and some are "low tracking".
Cats Prefer a Specific Kind of Litter
While you might prefer to buy scented litter, many cats prefer their litter to be unscented. Consequently, buying scented litter might deter your cat from using his box, and you will end up with a bigger problem than just “smelly cat box”! (A good compromise: some litters have a scent only after they get wet.)
Many cats also have a preference about the particle size. Most prefer smaller particles over larger clumps or crystals. If your kitty has to walk across a "rocky" feeling surface, he might opt for skipping the litter box entirely.
Finally, your cat might need specific types of litter at different times of his life. For instance, most vets suggest you avoid clay litter immediately following neutering because it can easily stick to the cat’s genital area.
Desirable Traits in Your Cat's Litter
Did you know that cat urine itself does not contain ammonia? Rather, ammonia is formed in the litter box when the urine develops bacteria after it comes in contact with oxygen. So, regardless of the litter type you choose, make sure it quickly and fully absorbs urine so no unpleasant smell can arise.
We suggest you look for clumping litter, because daily clean-up will be easier and you won’t have to change the entire litter box so often.
We also suggest you choose a litter that is:
- Low dust (better for your home as well as the respiratory systems of you and your cat!)
- Minimal tracking (after all, you don’t want litter all over the house)
- Easily disposed
- Appropriate for the number of cats you have (Multi-cat households need litter that forms stronger clumps so that the second cat to use the box doesn’t break up the clumps from the first cat.)
Options to Choose From
There are many types of litter available. and new ones are introduced all the time! Each material has some advantages and disadvantages:
Traditional Clay (looks like sand): Very Absorbent & Inexpensive Disadvantages: Dusty, Heavy, Can't be Flushed
Clumping Clay (has bentonite clay added): Very Absorbent, Economical, Forms clumps when wet so it's easy to clean, Minimal "Litter Box Smell" as long as urine clumps & feces are removed regularly Disadvantages: Heavy, Easily Tracked, Can't be Flushed, Potentially Dangerous if Inhaled
Silica Gel Liter (aka "Crystal Litter"): Economical, Lightweight, Easy to Clean (just scoop the feces & stir the crystals), Relatively Dust Free Disadvantages: Silica Gel Beads can Roll Around the Floor, Cats sometimes reject it, Hard to Know When it's Fully Absorbed and Needs Changing
Biodegradable Litter (two categories)
- Pelleted (Made of Wood or Recycled Newspaper): Relatively Dust Free and the Dust is Harmless, Non-tracking, Environmentally Friendly, Easy to Dispose (Flush or Compost) Disadvantages: Sometimes rejected by cats
- Granular (Made from Plants like Corn, Wheat, Barley, Pine): Light, Environmentally friendly, Easy to Dispose, Fairly Long-Lasting Disadvantages: Sticks to Paws so it's Easily Tracked
While trying to balance the pros & cons of each type, we strongly suggest you start out by choosing the litter that meets your priorities. Realize that your cat(s) might not be as pleased with your choice, and it might take some trial & error to get it right for the felines in your household. Just know the effort is worthwhile, because it really does make a difference!
Here are some of Jake's recommendations, based on customers' feedback:
"Amazing odor control": Cats Incredible
"Cat is back to using the litter box": Cat Attract
"Best Value for the Most Features": OdorLock"
"Love that it's Flushable": World's Best Cat Litter
"Biodegradable, Low Tracking & Dust Free": Yesterday's News
"Lightweight & Strongest Clumping": Boxie Cat
To view all litters available for delivery, click here.
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