Whether you have one cat or a houseful, first time cat owner or a lifelong feline keeper, wading your way through the cat litter choices available can be confusing. So many options, clumping versus non-clumping, recycled paper or crystals, fragrance free or perfumed, what should you choose, how do you decide? Here we break down the benefits of the different cat litters as well as some tips for caring for your cats litter tray.
Made from an absorbent clay containing bentonite and when the litter becomes wet, urinated on, it clumps together. Clumping litters make for easy cleaning of the tray with only the clumps needing to be removed. This means the trays need to be completely emptied less often. Clumping litters are non-biodegradable, non-flushable and cannot be used for compost therefore they must be put in the bin and end up in landfill.
There are a number of litters made from recycled paper that has then been processed into pellets or granules. It is a highly absorbent option which works by absorbing the moisture from the bottom of the tray. It is virtually dust free, biodegradable and can be flushed, also being safe for most septic systems. Breeders Choice Cat Litter is a popular recycled paper cat litter.
Crystal litters are made up of tiny silica gel beads which absorb moisture. These crystal litters can absorb a high amount of moisture/liquid. They are generally almost dust free and they will control odour. They last a long time, up to a month, without changing. Crystal litter are often the preferable choice for automatic cat tray systems. Keep in mind that they are not biodegradable or flushable and unable to be used as compost.
Pine or Wood
Pine or wood litters are made from sawdust formed into pellets, granules, or roughly crushed. It is not as absorbent as other options and does need more regular cleaning. This litter typical has a natural yet often strong pine smell which makes it good for fighting odours but some cats might not like it. It is biodegradable, flushable and ideal for a compost. Kitter Wood Pellet Cat Litter is a popular wood litter choice.
Some cat litter are made from crushed walnut shells. It makes a highly absorbent litter, has clumping ability and with very effective natural odour control. It is a 100% biodegradable and natural litter which is flushable.
Fragrance or Fragrance Free
Some cat litters come with the addition of a fragrance like a lavender or pine scent. This smell can be appealing to us humans but cats have a much stronger sense of smell. The addition of fragrances can sometimes offend some cats. If a cat finds the smell offensive it can turn them off and they may avoid using the litter tray.
Cats prefer a clean tray and will often avoid using a dirty tray. No matter which choice of cat litter you use for your feline friend it is important to keep the tray as clean as possible removing faeces and wet spots as often as possible.