Recently someone asked me questions about the ‘best’ cat litter, and I got to thinking there are a bunch of different kinds of litters – what makes each of them special?
The most popular kind is clay litter, and it can come as regular or clumping clay. It is made from clay that has been mined, dried and processed. It is an excellent absorbent, and when it encounters liquid (or urine), it will soak it up. Clumping litter is a different type of clay that has properties that when it meets a liquid, it forms into a solid ball-like structure that you can quickly clean out. There are pluses with clay – mainly it is inexpensive, and it works. You can also put it into your green compost bin when you clean the pan. You can also buy it in a giant bag what is reasonably priced. The main issues with clay litter is that it is dusty, it cannot be flushed, and cats seem to track it all over the house.
The second type of litter would be Natural Fibre Litters. They can be made of many things including recycled paper, wood pellets, corn cob pellets, and wheat. These products all come post-market and would be put into a landfill if not made into the litter. It is an excellent plus for wanting to use these products. Some products such as the wood pellets can even be put out into the flower beds and gardens after use (if the “solids” have been removed). Many will also naturally deodorize odours. Some brands can be flushable, and most can be ingested safely – which is important for those dogs wanting a stinky snack. Natural Fibre Litters cost more than clay.
The third type of litters are ones made from Silica Crystal Gel. It is synthetic litter made from silicon dioxide, the same product as the litter packets that you find when you buy shoes to keep moisture away. They are good at soaking up urine and drying out the stool and trapping the smells. Some concerns with it though are you cannot flush it, nor can it be composted. Its best feature is that it is excellent at how much moisture it can hold. (Interesting note is that it is made in New Hamburg, very close to us).
Many of the products can also come with fragrances and smells to try to help avoid the unpleasant odour of litter boxes in our home.
One important thing is that cats will have a preference. It is important to find out the one they are happiest with as otherwise, you will find they may show their displeasure all over the home.
Written by: Lisa Clifford, RVT