We had somebody write in that was confused with all the different types of litter as a new owner of a rescued adult cat.
She asked a simple question, what’s the best cat litter. We have not experimented ourselves with a bunch of different kinds and have mainly stuck with the popular tidy cat clumping litter, because it has lower dust levels and our cats like it.
However, it’s a good question to dig into. Since there are so many ways to handle the cats going potty we thought we would write a quick article about it.
Although most litter will be made out of clay you can find some other stuff that is made out of crumbled corn products or even recycled newspapers.
Some of the newest and interesting kinds are pellets and crystals. The two main categories are regular and clumping. Some of the clump kind is known as flush-able. Some litter can be scented and some might not have any odor besides its natural occurring one. With all of these different types and the cost of them being a large part of the total monthly budget of keeping a feline, we decided to investigate.
We wanted to see what others thought was the best kind of cat litter. Our information came from 3 places. The reviews on Amazon pets, a poll we ran on this site, and from our personal vet.
Researching Popular Brands
Litter has been sold in all major stores for more than 50 years. It was actually invented by a company that made industrial absorbent materials.
They used it to soak up chemical spills such as motor oil spilled on the shop floor. With this now becoming a big business, most brands claim to do something special that the others might not. For example some say they control odors with unique ingredients. When you dig into the ingredients you often find baking soda of some kind. There hasn’t been too much testing to confirm or deny these special claims.
Clay litters are the most popular on the market today because they form easy to scoop out clumps. However the big downside of a clay litter is the dust that is created by it. This can cause respiratory issues in both people and animals when inhaled in high quantities.
Some of the latest environmentally friendly types of litter are made of pine pellets or grains like wheat that absorb well and are biodegradable.
Many grains contain a natural enzyme that helps control the ammonia odor that is naturally occurring in a cat’s urine. Other ingredients can be added to also further enhance the odor covering capabilities like perfumes or scents.One thing that should be considered when you’re making your choice is that the feline nose is at least 100 times more sensitive than a human nose. Often the little Lions can be turned off by strong perfume type odors or even citrus smells.
So keep in mind that if you can smell this stuff it smells 100 times stronger to kitty. What you don’t want is to start a litter box strike or protest where the cat will not go in there because of the kind you deployed.
Final Thoughts About Cat Litter Boxes
Put yourself in the cat’s paws. Are you looking for sand to bury your poop in, what would you like to pee on? In my opinion my cats prefer a fine grained clay-based litter as it looks pretty much like naturally occurring sand.
It’s like a day at the beach for my fury children and many brands can be obtained with no perfumes or scent added. On Amazon people like the crystals, because they clump hard and track less through the house. These are upsides to be considered against cost and convenience.
Some people have gone to the extreme and installed the Cat Genie. The world’s only automatic flushing and self washing cat box.
It’s expensive and hard to install, but you never buy cat litter, because it uses washable granules so it saves in the long run.
If you get a kitten and they are an indoor pet you are talking about 2-3 potty breaks a day for 17 years or so. This is the time to get into a routine that will last for a long time.
I think the main take away here is to put your cat’s needs and desires first when it comes to the potty. Them using it might be the most important thing in your relationship with them.
As for testing to find the best cat litter a good method would be an A/B split test. This is where you have two separate boxes with different kinds of litter. The box with the most deposits will be a clear vote for that type or brand.
The loser can be switched out with another type and another test submitted to the felines for evaluation. Within a couple weeks you will have a clear winner. We have more on this on the page about how to handle a cat that won’t use the box.