Cat Litter Tips & Advice
Cats can be very picky about where they go to the bathroom, so that’s why it’s important to know how to choose the right cat litter. In addition, there are also environmental and odor concerns to think about.
The following list of tips should allow you to choose the cat litter that’s right for you and your feline companion. Careful selection will make your cat happy, and you’ll have an easier time keeping things clean and fresh-smelling around the house.
Things To Think About
When purchasing a brand of cat litter, here are some things to think about:
- How much does the cat litter cost?
- How much dust and tracking does the litter produce?
- Does the texture of the litter appeal to your cat?
- Can the litter be flushed down the toilet?
- Is the litter environmentally safe?
- Does the litter contain any chemicals that might harm you or your cat?
- Is the litter biodegradable?
- Is the litter box easy to maintain?
- Does the litter contain perfumes or dyes?
- Is the litter free of odors?
Texture Of Cat Litter
Texture is also very important. In general, most cats prefer litter which feels like sand beneath their feet. Brands of soft litter are easier on the cat’s paws, and makes it more likely that they’ll dig in it (both before and after they complete their business).
Types Of Cat Litter
The following types of litter are widely available on the market. Researching which kind best suits you and your pet will help you know how to choose the right cat litter.
Standard Clay Litter – The most common type of cat litter, it was first sold in 1947. Made from clay, it will absorb urine, but feces must be scooped up every day. It’s also important to stir the box daily, as the urine has a tendency to pool in one spot.
Every two weeks, clay kitty litter must also be completely dumped out. This kind of litter cannot be flushed down the toilet.
The most common brand comes unscented. It can also be purchased with additives such as alfalfa, oils, fresheners and baking soda. Just make sure these scented varieties don’t irritate your cat’s nose.
Clumping Clay Litter – When your cat urinates, an ingredient called sodium bentonite causes the litter to form into a hard clump. This results in less cleaning for the owner, as you only have to scoop out the clumps of urine and feces.
There are two potential health problems, however. The quartz silica contained in clumping clay litter has been proven to be a carcinogen when inhaled as dust. Many also believe that the sodium bentonite can contribute to health problems in cats.
When in doubt, check with your veterinarian before buying a new brand of cat litter.
Recycled Newspaper Cat Litter – Available in pellet form, this kitty litter is made from recycled newspapers. It can be burned or flushed, and it’s biodegradable and almost dust-free. However, it can get soggy in the box, and urine tends to collect in pools.
Crystal Cat Litter – This type of cat litter replaces sandy litter with glassy crystals that are supposed to absorb more urine and the accompanying smell. While some cats don’t mind using it, others can be put off by the larger crystals and their sometimes sharp edges.
Crystal Blend Cat Litter – This type is a mixture of clumping and crystal litter. Since the regular crystal litter is found unappealing by some cats, this is designed to give a smoother texture to the sand in the litter box.
Pine And Cedar Sawdust Litter – This type of cat litter is made up of pine or cedar sawdust from lumber. The pellets are designed to soak up a great deal of moisture before turning back into sawdust. It’s also supposed to eliminate odor with its pine or cedar scent.
This litter can be flushed down the toilet in small amounts. It can also be used as a biodegradable garden mulch.
Plant-based Cat Litter – These types of litter offer a natural substance for your cat to dig in, and it can later be flushed down the toilet. You should make sure your cat knows it’s for the litter box, however, or they might try to eat the corn or wheat and relieve themselves elsewhere.
Other natural types of cat litter include oat hulls, beet pulp, wheat grass, corncob, cornhusks, wheat by-products and kenaf. All of these can be flushed and are biodegradable.