How to Choose the Right Cat Litter

How to Choose the Right Cat Litter

The Best Cat Litter for Your Cat

When it’s time to go, Kitty will use whatever litter you’ve put in the litter box, right? Well, maybe. Your cat is less likely to have litter box problems, however, when you choose a cat litter that Kitty actually likes interacting with (instead of being forced to put up with).

Cats are sensitive to strong odors, so unscented or non-scented litters with natural, earthy smells are preferable. Remember, great odor-controlling cat litter doesn’t require perfumes; highly absorbent litter will virtually eliminate odors without the addition of scent agents.

Cats prefer a litter with a soft, sandy feel under their paws, rather than one with coarse, sharp granules. Some litters will note the texture, but if it doesn’t, test it by pressing your hand down firmly on a clean bed of it. You’ll easily feel the difference—some litter granules can feel pretty sharp! Bonus: many softer cat litters also tend to be lighter in weight and low-tracking.

Lastly, choose a litter that is as dust free as possible. When your cat kicks and digs around in the litter, they are right there breathing in any dust that gets released. Reduce exposure to airborne dust, which has been associated with respiratory issues and can be a source of allergies. Again, you can test a litter to see how dust-free a litter actually is by pouring it out from a few inches up; if you see a plume of dust at all, know you can do better.

The Best Cat Litter for the Environment

This is where great controversies reside over whether a litter made from one material or another is the most sustainable, has the lowest carbon footprint, is biodegradable, is compostable, does not contain chemicals that later enter the environment, and generally injures the environment the least. While that sounds like a lot to consider, it doesn’t have to be complicated.

Once you’ve narrowed down litters that are good for your cat—litters that are naturally scented or non-scented, that are soft, and that are 99% or more dust-free, then consider how those options are produced. Given how competitive the cat litter market is, you won’t have to work hard to see which litters are loud and proud about how eco-friendly they are. You’ll see it on packaging and you can look for more detailed proof on their website (which means, if you can’t find information about how eco-friendly a cat litter is, then it’s not a good option).

Look for litters that are sourced ethically, produced sustainably, and that work to reduce their environmental impact during and after use. Choose a litter brand that is able to explain how they obtain their raw materials, how they reduce energy consumption during production, how their packaging is efficient and recyclable, and how the environmental impact of disposal after use is also considered. The best choices will be chemical-free (no additives, perfumes, synthetics) because the combined function of the raw material and the way it is processed will do the heavy-lifting of absorbing liquid and eliminating odor.

The Best Cat Litter for You

I’ve placed YOUR concerns third on the list to highlight the need to remember to put others first when making this decision—so it doesn’t become a decision of convenience. It’s easy to regard cat litter as a “whatever’s cheapest” or “whatever they have at the store” type of purchase. But the cheapest and most convenient choice is rarely the best one, and this is not a place where you can afford to go with the cheap option. It’s worth getting a high quality cat litter.

Your cat encounters the litter several times per day, day after day, for years. Those incremental exposures to dust or chemicals or sharp granules add up and impact the health of your cat as well as your own. So, while price and convenience are worth discussion, don’t let them trump concerns for your cat and the environment.

After you’ve narrowed down litter options that are good for your cat and good for the environment, consider price and availability. There are several companies that now offer litter delivery on a subscription basis, which saves you the hassle (and mess) of picking it up in-store and having it in your car, and ensures that you have a ready supply on-hand, so you never run out. You’ll also want to consider litters that are conveniently packaged, so you can pour and store them easily, and dispose of them responsibly when you’re done. Of course, it’s important to limit your options to what will work in the type of litter box you use. For the automatic litter box I have, for example, I need a high quality clumping cat litter.

Get the Right Cat Litter for Your Situation

Don’t drown in the sea of cat litter options and features. Use these tips to guide your thinking, and you’ll narrow down the options fast. Once you’ve settled on a few, try them out! You and your cat will be able to judge them more closely and decide on the best cat litter for your situation.

How To Make The Right Choice With Cat Litter

When it comes to cat litter, there are a vast number of options. Do you want powerfully fresh? Natural shreds? Clumping? The list goes on and can become quite lengthy. With so many choices available today it may seem as if the task of choosing kitty litter is a total headache. Follow these tips on how to choose the right litter for your cat and avoid the frustration:


1. It Starts With The Litter Box

This isn’t exactly litter, but choosing the right litter box for your cat is very important to the success of litter and training. Cats are naturally highly intelligent creatures so you will really only need to show them the easily accessible location of their litter box and this will go a long way. If you have a small kitten it’s best to start with something that is easy for them to get in and out of. If your cat is more mature and can maneuver well then try a nice litter box with a removable lid so that your cat has privacy when he breaks for the box. And check the litter daily, changing litter weekly for best results. Some people choose to go longer but weekly is nice to keep constantly fresh for both you and kitty.

2. To clump or not to clump

Clumping litter is typically the preferred choice for cat owners due to it’s practicality and time-saving options. A special substance in the litter, bentonite, absorbs urine to create a solid clump while leaving the surrounding litter clean and dry. This can be simple come scooping time for owners as there is little work involved. But it is important to remember that the litter should be changed just as often or refilled when the eliminated litter is removed during cleanings. For non-clumping (often clay based) cat litters, these options usually contain baking soda or charcoal to help with eliminating the overpowering smell of the cat’s urine. The litter does not clump and the urine from your cat will pool at the bottom. Routine changes are highly recommended for this old-school litter option to keep both kitty happy and your home smelling fresh. Choosing between these two popular options is really a matter of personal taste for both you and your cat.


3. Odor control

Odor control is a must for many cat owners, especially when their living space is smaller or the litter box isn’t concealed due to space limitations. When choosing a litter to battle the smells from the litter box it’s best to choose one that eliminates odors, not masks them. Cats have a heightened sense of smell so be careful with scented litters as they may bother your cat. Also, just because the litter smells clean doesn’t necessarily mean that it is. It’s important to check the scented just as often as you would any other litter. Most silica gel or crystal litters are well-known for their winning battle against odor with their super absorbent capabilities, but a hefty price tag may come with this option. Silica gel options are also nice as most are low or dust-free compared to clay litters that create dust if this is something that bothers you.

4. Environmentally friendly

As with traditional cat litter, most changing of the litter is either performed by dumping into an outside trash bin in a bag or by flushing clumps down the toilet. Either of these methods can have an impact on the environment and there are natural shred solutions for your cat if this issue would make you feel better. Natural cat litter (plant based) options offer cat owners the ability to dispose of cat waste outdoors in a compost pile. This may not be realistic for some people but having the option is nice for “green” owners and their kitties. Amazon carries several option to choose from.


5. Sensitive litter options

Some cats are more sensitive than others, and may not take to traditional cat litter easily. There are softer, gentler options available that are also ideal for a cat which has been declawed. These cats are prone to sensitivity issues with their clawless paws so something that won’t irritate their kitty paws is best. Find a fine granule option to avoid any issues with your declawed cat’s paws.

6. Important key factors when choosing…

Cost and product packaging may not affect your cat, but it affects you the consumer. You need to consider how often you plan to change out the entire contents of the litter as well as the packaging of it. Something that comes in an oversized container or isn’t resealable may not be realistic for you as the owner to carry or to store properly in your home. While it’s important to remember that your cat being happy comes first in regards to choosing the right cat litter, you have to think about the cost associated and the practicality of your decision as well.

Choosing the Right Cat Litter

You’ve gone to the shelter and you’ve chosen the perfect cat for you – congratulations! Before you bring your new cat home, you need to make sure you have all the essentials. This includes food, toys, a scratching post, a litter box, and cat litter. However, once you walk into the pet store and make your way over to the litter section, you might realize that there are many more options than you anticipated.

What are my Options?

Believe it or not, there are quite a few different types of cat litter. Depending on your preferences and ideal cleaning schedule, you can determine what type of litter will be best for you and your feline. Here are a few of the options you have as a new cat owner:

  • Clumping clay: This litter is one of the most popular options. Made from bentonite, this clay is absorbent and clumps together when your cat urinates. When you choose clumping litter, this makes scooping and cleaning easier than ever. However, keep in mind that this litter is very dusty, non-biodegradable, and can be quite heavy to tote from one place to the next.
  • Non-clumping clay: This litter can be made from any type of clay that is not bentonite. It will absorb the cat’s urine, but it won’t clump the same way as the bentonite litter does. This means that wet litter can easily be left behind when it’s time to scoop the box. It will also likely get smelly quicker than the clumping kind, and you will need to change out the litter more frequently than you may like. However, this litter is cheaper than the clumping kind, and many cats prefer it.
  • Silica gel crystals: You’ve probably found those little packets of gel beads in the pockets of the new coat or at the bottom of a new bag. Silica gel litter is made from silica beads similar to these beads, and it is highly absorbent. It is also almost dust-free, so those with dust allergies might feel more relief by choosing this type of littler. This litter is more expensive, but it usually lasts much longer than other litters. However, some cats don’t like the feeling on their paws, and they can be dangerous if cats ingest them regularly.
  • Recycled paper: In order to make this litter, recycled paper is compressed into pellets or granules. This means that it is dust-free and biodegradable with the added benefit of being very absorbent. In the pellet form, the litter will not clump; however, in granule form, the litter will clump.

West Ballantyne Animal Hospital is Here

Again, we wish you the best of luck with your new furry family member. Make sure to bring in your cat when it’s time for a checkup or annual shots! Whenever you are in need of dog care or cat care, we at West Ballantyne Animal Hospital are here to help you. Contact us today to learn more about our services, including emergency care, microchipping, and flea treatments.

4 effective tips to choose the right cat litter box

One of the best things to go home to after a tiring day at work is to see your furball, feline friend waiting for you by the door. However, this joy can soon turn into annoyance if your kitty mistook your new carpet for the bathroom. In such cases, you should consider getting a cat litter box, where your cat can relieve itself without destroying your furniture or other décor items. If you are new to the concept of a cat litter box and don’t know which will be the right one for your cat, keep reading and learn how to choose the right cat litter box.

  • The size of your cat – When you set out to choose a cat litter box, you need to consider the size of your cat. If your cat is quite big, a small cat litter box will be quite inconvenient for it, and you can expect the contents of the litter box to embellish your floor. So, instead of opting for the modern space-saving cat litter box, abide by this rule – the bigger the cat litter box, the better will it be for your cat.
  • The color – Like everything in your house, you can even choose the color of the cat litter box that will blend with the rest of the décor. Cat litter boxes are available in a variety of colors and designs, which won’t look unusual when placed with the rest of your furniture. Moreover, opt for soft, earthly tones since they can easily be camouflaged with your décor.
  • The hoods – Certain cat litter boxes have hoods that provide enough privacy to your cat. Believe it or not, some cats have a high regard for their privacy and shy away from defecating in the open. If you want to stop your cat from finding a nice, comfortable corner to relieve itself, opt for a cat litter box with a hood.
  • The litter – Gone are the days when only sand could be used as litter in the cat litter box. These days, there are a variety of materials that can be used in place of sand. Some of these are made from biodegradable grasses grown in the country. These are safe for cats and the humans who clean it. So, choose the one with such a feature.

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