A quality kitty litter is important to your cat’s well-being. When choosing a litter, select quality materials. Litters are made from clay, silica crystal, and natural materials. You may have to experiment a little before finding the right litter for your cat. Make sure you get cat litter that absorbs odor to avoid unpleasant smells in your home. Above all, pick safe litter and switch brands if your cat has an adverse reaction to a litter you’re using.
Table of Contents
- 1 Choosing the Right Materials
- 2 You’re helping people by reading wikiHow
- 3 How to Choose a Kitty Litter
- 4 To Clump or Not to Clump
- 5 Considering Eco-Friendly Litters
- 6 Scented or Unscented?
- 7 Changing Litters
- 8 Choosing the right cat litter
Choosing the Right Materials
Go for traditional clay-based litter. Traditionally, cat litter is clay-based. Clay is one of the most popular kinds of litter on the market and is a simple choice that works for most cats. It absorbs water quickly, making cleaning out urine easy, and is easy to find at most grocery stores. It may make sense to start with a clay-based litter and see how your cat takes to it.
- The one downside to clay-based litters it that they can be dusty. If your cat is prone to sneezing or coughing, or has an underlying condition like asthma, stay away from clay-based litters.
Look into plant-based or recycled litters. If you’re environmentally conscious, or if your cat does not take to clay-based litter, look for more natural options. Many litters are made from plant-based or recycled materials. Try something like wood pellets, wheat, corn cobs, or litter made from recycled materials.
- The major advantage of these litters is they’re more environmentally stable and some cats may respond better to natural litters. If ingested, these litters may be safer than other brands.
- However, natural litters tend to be more expensive. If you’re on a budget, it may be difficult to stick with natural litters.
- In general, natural cat litters tend to be flushable.
Try silica crystal litter if you live in a small space. Silica crystal litters are litters made of synthetic materials. They’re good at soaking up urine and dehydrating feces so it’s easier to clean. Silica crystal litters make most sense if you’re living in a smaller space as they absorb odor very easily.
- A downside to silica crystal litters is that many cats dislike the texture. If your cat starts eliminating outside the litter box after you get a silica crystal litter, opt for a different litter type.
- Silica crystal litter is also more expensive and non-flushable.
4Pay attention to how your cat responds to different materials. Trial and error may be necessary to pick a litter that works for your cat. Cats have preferences about their litter and may dislike the texture or feel of a particular brand of litter. If your cat stops using their litter box after you purchase a litter, try a different brand. With some experimentation and patience, you should be able to find a litter your cat will use.
Choose a lightweight litter. A lightweight litter may produce less dust. It can also be easier to carry back from the grocery store if you have a long walk. Some litters are specifically labeled as “lightweight”, but some materials are naturally light weight. Corn and grass-based litters tend to be naturally lighter than other varieties.
- Grass-based litters are particularly good at absorbing odor, in addition to being lightweight. They can work great in small places where smell may become a problem.
6Look for multi-cat variations of common litters. Most common litters have special blends made for multi-cat households. If you have multiple cats living in the same house, opt for multi-cat litter. These often help better suppress odor. If your cats are having litter box issues due to sharing a litter box, opt for a multi-cat variety of your chosen litter.
Dealing with Odor and Cleaning
1Look for an odor-absorbing litter. Whichever material you choose, look for a litter that’s odor-absorbing. This will prevent the smell of a litter box from seeping into your home. If a litter is odor-absorbing, it should say somewhere on the label.
Decide between clumping and non-clumping litters. The question of clumping and non-clumping litter depends on your personal preference and which litters your cats take to. Clumping litter can make cleanup easier, as it absorbs urine. With clumping litter, you can scoop out the litter box rather than replacing all the litter each time you clean it.
- However, the major downside of clumping litter is that some cats simply do not like it. If you notice clumping litter gets caught in your cat’s paws, switch to a different brand.
- You may notice litter on your cat’s paws after the use clumping litter. You may also see a lot of litter scattered throughout your home after trying clumping litter.
Avoid scented litters. Odor-absorbing litters are fine, as they keep odor away. However, scented litters are not recommended. They can cause irritation for cats and many cats are repelled by the smell of scented litter. A cat is more likely to eliminate outside the box if you use scented litter.
- If the smell of your cat’s litter box is very strong, try putting up air fresheners near the box instead of using clumping litter.
Clean the litterbox often. Even if you purchase a litter that is very good at absorbing odors, it is important to keep the litter box very clean to ensure that your cat will still use it. Some cats are pickier about cleanliness than others, so you should keep this in mind. You should scoop the litterbox every day or every couple of days in order to cut down on odors in your home and keep your cat comfortable.
- Once every week or so, empty the entire box, scrub it with soap and hot water, and fill it with fresh litter after it dries.
Keeping Safety in Mind
1Try to find dust-free litters. Dust-free litters are generally safer and more comfortable for your cat. Dust can cause respiratory problems in cats like sneezing and coughing. When possible, opt for a dust-free litter.
2Watch for signs of an adverse reaction. Cats may occasionally react poorly to a particular type of litter. If you notice reactions like sneezing, coughing or general irritation, switch litter brands. Commercial litters are usually safe for the majority of cats. However, there is always a slim chance your cat may have an allergic reaction to a litter.
Contact your vet if your cat swallows litter. Cats may sometimes eat or swallow litter. If you notice a substantial amount of litter is gone from the box, your cat may have eaten its litter. Contact your vet right away and make an appointment for evaluation. If treatment is necessary, your vet will make a recommendation.
- Some cats develop a syndrome called pica, in which they eat non-edible items. If your cat has pica, you and your vet can decide on a treatment plan together.
You’re helping people by reading wikiHow
wikiHow’s mission is to help people learn, and we really hope this article helped you. Now you are helping others, just by visiting wikiHow.
Global Glimpse partners with over 80 high schools to provide a two-year leadership, civic engagement, and college preparatory program centered on an international immersion experience in a developing country. Students from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to bring their new-found perspectives back to take action in their local high schools and home communities.
Click below to let us know you read this article, and wikiHow will donate to Global Glimpse on your behalf. Thanks for helping us achieve our mission of helping people learn how to do anything.
How to Choose a Kitty Litter
Finding the right litter for your kitty is a tough decision. You’ll want to find a litter that is easy to clean, while covering up those pesky odors. Since litter varieties are endless, you may have to try several kinds before finding just the right one to appease your felines.
To Clump or Not to Clump
The decision of non-clumping versus clumping litter generally is up to your personal lifestyle. Traditional clay litter is very absorbent, pulling in much of Max’s liquid waste, but you have to change it as often as a couple times a week if you have several kitties. The benefit is that you typically don’t have to worry about the kitty toilet until it comes time to change the box completely. If you choose clumping litter, you’ll have to remove waste daily in addition to swapping out the litter every few weeks. However, since you’re getting rid of stinky droppings on a daily basis, you’ll be less likely to have to deal with unpleasant smells.
Considering Eco-Friendly Litters
Not all litters are made from some type of clay that you have to toss in the trash. At the very end of the litter aisle you’ll see all kinds of alternative litters. Newspaper pellets are made from compressed recycled newspaper. This type of litter often is recommended after your furry friend goes through a surgical procedure or if he has allergies. You’ll even see pellets made from ground pine, peanut shells, corn cobs, wheat and orange peels. These alternative litters often are all-natural and eco-friendly so you can dispose of the dirty litter in the back corner of your yard, instead of your garbage barrel. Much like regular clay litter though, you’ll have to change out these types of litters frequently.
Scented or Unscented?
Most cat litters come in scented and unscented varieties. Which one you decide on really depends on Max’s preference, before your own. Some felines are extremely finicky and won’t go anywhere near the litter box if it has a strong floral scent. If Max is going potty frequently next to the litter box or even worse, on your bed, it could be a sign that he despises his smelly litter. Switch to an unscented variety instead to see if that cures the problem. If you are concerned about odor control, but Max won’t use a scented litter, simply sprinkle baking soda at the bottom of the pan to absorb the odors.
Don’t be in a hurry to swap litters overnight. Going from a fine-grain clumping litter to a chunky pellet litter can be aggravating for Max’s sensitive little paws. Mix them together for several days or weeks to give him plenty of time to adjust. As an example, when you first bring home the new litter, sprinkle a few handfuls over the top of his litter box. The next time you change the litter, mix one part new litter with three parts of old litter. As long as he doesn’t mind, the next time around, make a mixture of half and half of each litter. Continue slowly mixing the litters until Max is completely satisfied with his new potty.
Choosing the right cat litter
If your kitty is snubbing her tray, she may not like the cat litter you’re using. Find out what to avoid and look for when selecting a product.
Does your cat steer clear of her litter box? Inappropriate elimination has many causes, both physical and behavioral (and these need to be ruled out first), but one problem might be the cat litter you’re using.
There are dozens of cat litters on the market, but a good place to start is by crossing off your list all litters that are clay-based, and that attempt to control odor with fragrance, which can be a real turn-off for many cats. The next step is to learn how to recognize a high quality, natural product that does the job right, and that your cat will like.
What makes a good cat litter?
The best cat litters are not only healthy, safe and attractive to felines, but also convenient and as mess- and odor-free as possible. “Characteristics to look for include good deodorization properties (without the use of fragrance), and good urine clumping with easy waste removal,” says Mark Ventura of Arm & Hammer. “It shouldn’t track or be dusty, and it needs a cat-friendly texture to minimize rejection.”
“Odor control is paramount for most cat parents,” says Sean Sterner of Blue Buffalo Company. “You want something that will control litter box odors and be long-lasting. If a particular material doesn’t have great absorption qualities, you’re going to have to use more of it to get the job done. And how easy is it to clean your litter box? Are you literally scraping litter off the sides and bottom? You want something that is easy to use.”
Shannon Supanich of Pioneer Pet Products agrees. “If the fragrance or texture is an issue with a cat, he will avoid the litter box,” she adds. “Odor control is most important. The best way to eliminate odors is for the litter to fully and completely absorb all the moisture. Strong clumping action is key. Clumping absorbs odors and helps keep the litter box cleaner when scooped. However, clay litters are very dusty and can lead to respiratory problems, so look for a natural alternative.”
What are the options?
When it comes to safe, natural, easy-to-use cat litters, there’s more to choose from than ever before. Here are some examples:
• “Our formulas are made by harnessing the natural absorbency of corn for odor control, quick clumping and easy scooping,” says Karen Schaffer for World’s Best Cat Litter. “The result is a lightweight, dust-free litter that’s cat-, people- and planet-friendly.”
• Arm & Hammer’s Clump & Seal Cat Litter is made with micro-sealing granules, derived from mineral and plant sources, that eliminate odor. “Proprietary clumping and binding ingredients allows the micro-particles of this finely-textured litter to coat the surface of feces and form very hard urine clumps,” explains Mark. “This technology seals in and destroy odors.” The product also minimizes dust and tracking.
• “Walnut shells are an extremely fibrous material that provides excellent odor control and is incredibly absorbent, which makes our litter very long-lasting,” says Sean of Blue Buffalo’s BLUE Naturally Fresh litters. “Walnut shells are annually renewable as well as biodegradable.”
• Another natural, biodegradable litter choice is Pioneer Pet Products’ SmartCat All Natural Cat Litter, which is made from grass. “It is virtually dust-free and very lightweight – only one-third the weight of clay clumping litters,” says Shannon. “It quickly absorbs urine…and will peel itself away from the sides of the litter box, making scooping easier. The litter traps the odorcausing compounds in the clumps then begins de-watering the clumps to minimize the bacterial growth that causes odors.”
With so many good quality litters to choose from, there’s no need to opt for less than the best. Doesn’t your kitty deserve it?