If you have cats, litter box duty is something you have to think about. While it might seem like an easy thing, there are so many types of litter available now that it can be confusing to know what to choose.
And if you don’t pick something your cat likes, you run the risk of him developing litter box aversion and inappropriate elimination.
Table of Contents
- 1 Types of Cat Litter Available
- 2 Scented vs. Unscented Cat Litter
- 3 Test Your Cat’s Litter Preferences
- 4 Keep the Litter Box Clean
- 5 Types of cat litter that you should know
- 6 Cat litter 1: Non-clumping
- 7 Cat litter 2: Clumping
- 8 What Type Of Litter Box Should Be Used?
- 9 How to find the best cat litter type for your cat
- 10 Clumping clay cat litter
- 11 Natural clumping cat litter
- 12 Silica gel cat litter review
- 13 Pine cat litter
- 14 Non-clumping clay cat litter review
Types of Cat Litter Available
There are a huge variety of litter brands and types out there. Here are some of the most common types of litter:
- Clay clumping. Usually made from bentonite, clumping clay litter is easy to clean up and most cats like this type of litter. Unfortunately, it isn’t biodegradable, is heavy, and creates a lot of dust. Also, note that you may not wish to use clumping litter for kittens.
- Clay non-clumping. These types of litter are made from clays other than bentonite. They are not as easy to clean and require more frequent and diligent cleaning because they don’t form into nice scoopable clumps.
- Crystals. This type of litter is usually made of silica. They often control odor better and last longer than clay litter. However, they’re more expensive, and they are dangerous if a cat ingests too much of them when they’re cleaning their paws.
- Corn, wheat, and pine. Litters made from recycled corn, wheat, and pine are all available. They usually don’t clump up but are mostly low or no dust, and the great thing is that they’re biodegradable. If a cat has a food allergy to any of these ingredients, however, he may develop a reaction when this litter is used because cats always ingest some litter while grooming. An exception to the non-clumping nature of most of these types of litter is World’s Best Cat Litter, which is made from corn meal. It is naturally good smelling without being scented, doesn’t create dust, and is biodegradable. It is not as dense as clay, so it is easier to scoop, as well. Because it is fine and clumps well, cats usually like World’s Best Cat Litter as much as they do clay. Also, because of its tight-clumping ability, it is a long-lasting litter type.
Scented vs. Unscented Cat Litter
Many people like using scented litter because it helps keep the odors from urine and feces at bay. However, most cats don’t like the scents, which can be quite strong from them while they’re in the box and linger on the kitty’s fur after he comes out.
So, most cats prefer a clumping, unscented litter like World’s Best Cat Litter.
Test Your Cat’s Litter Preferences
If you want to change your cat’s litter or test to see what he likes best, provide multiple boxes for a short time. Keep one filled with the previous litter type, and fill the others with different types. It should become obvious to you fairly quickly which type your cat prefers.
If your cat is eliminating outside of the litter box and you’ve already had him checked over for a medical problem, providing multiple boxes with different litter types can help you determine whether litter aversion might be the problem.
Keep the Litter Box Clean
Regardless of which type of litter you choose for your cat, focusing on litter box cleanliness is a must.
Use a litter mat outside of the box to cut down on the litter and other stuff that gets tracked around your home.
Scoop the box at least twice a day (more if you have multiple cats), and empty it completely to wash with soap and water at least once a week.
Types of cat litter that you should know
Hello there, humans! I know that decision-making isn’t always easy, much less so if the decision is all about buying us the best there is on the market. Not to worry, I’m here to help you and show you the differences between clumping and non-clumping cat litters.
That’s right, you can’t put a combination of the two in our litterbox for us. You’ll have to opt for one kind or the other, always bearing in mind your kitties’ preferences and the amount of time you can devote to cleaning our litterbox, being fully aware of the advantages one kind and the other have to offer.
We being territorial animals and most refined when it comes to our toilet area, we show favoritism for one very specific type of cat litters. We don’t care too much for changes, but if they are for the better, it’s your obligation to show them to us.
No matter how many types of bags of cat litter you may find on the market, they basically differ from one another in that they are either clumping or non-clumping cat litters. So then, which one should you choose?
Cat litter 1: Non-clumping
Non-clumping cat litters can be either mineral, organic or synthetic in origin. They are characterized by absorbing urine fast and requiring very little upkeep. When your kitty urinates in its litterbox filled with non-clumping material, the urine is encapsulated in the litter granules.
By using this type of cat litters, you’ll have to remove all solid excrement regularly. Once the cat litter becomes saturated, you throw away all of the litter in the litterbox, clean the litterbox well and then refill it with the same product.
Non-clumping cat litters are especially recommended for homes where not a lot of time can be spent devoted to litterbox upkeep.
Cat litter 2: Clumping
Just as for the non-clumping cat litters, clumping cat litters can be either mineral, organic or synthetic in origin. What really makes these cat litters different is their ability to trap urine and feces, forming small clumps very easy to see and remove from the litterbox. So, it’s very easy to remove the soiled litter from the rest, making it possible for the cat litter to stay completely free of urine and feces for a longer length of time.
In this case, you humans have to watch out for the litter clumps to remove them from the litterbox as soon as possible and fill in the empty space left with clumping litter.
Clumping cat litters are recommended for those homes where special importance is placed on controlling bad odors and where there is a willingness to keep up the litterbox regularly.
So, now you know what the difference is between the types of cat litters. Choosing between one kind and the other will depend exclusively on the amount of time you want to devote to cleaning our litterbox for us. Whatever you decide, you now know already that Sepicat has the best options to offer you for keeping your cat happy. Meow!
What Type Of Litter Box Should Be Used?
We often get asked what type of litter box should be used. There are so many types of litter boxes that we understand how this could be a confusing choice. Among the choices are the fully automated Litter Robot and the automatic scooping electric litter boxes, the kind that is rolled over to sift out clumps, the covered or hooded litter box, the dome litter box, the hidden litter box, modern fashionable litter boxes like the Modkat, and of course the small, medium, large, and jumbo regular ol’ plastic litter boxes. Whew!
So, does it matter which you use? In short, yes.
First, let’s take a look at the litter box from your cats perspective – let’s remove your human preferences from the equation. The litter box is primarily for your cat to do her business right? So just for the moment, let’s not worry about if you have to scoop manually, or what your litterbox might look like in your house, or where you might fit it in your small apartment.
- First and foremost, size should be taken into account. The litter box is a stand-in for where your kitty would do her business if she were in the great outdoors. Cats like to scratch, dig, turn around, and get comfortable when doing their business. So first, choose a litter box that your cat can easily turn around in, and that she can easily get in and out of. Kittens should also have appropriately sized litter boxes (and multiple litter boxes…more on that in another article). You also don’t want your cat to have to step in her own waste – your cat may choose to not use the litter box if this happens (which is understandable).
- Covered or not covered? Let’s face it – none of us likes strong odors, especially unpleasant ones. Now imagine yourself with a smell sense 14 times stronger than the one you currently possess, and you will understand why this issue is even more important for your cat (don’t make your cat regret her super-hero-like sense of smell). Covered litter boxes should not be used for this reason. They trap odors, and will be unpleasant for your cat (this is also a reason why truly unscented cat litter should always be used. Read more on the feline sense of smell – http://bit.ly/P7ygRf). Additionally, if a covered litterbox is too small, your cat may feel claustrophobic or trapeed inside the box and avoid it. Finally, those who have a covered or hooded litter boxes tend to not see the waste that need to be scooped, and thus clean it less, which is unpleasant for your cat, and unpleasant for you when your cat decides not to use the box. These negatives certainly point towards using an uncovered litter box.
After taking the feline perspective into account with these two facts, the choices of which litter box to use is narrowed considerably, and your preferences begin to come into the equation.
The human preference that we hear about most is disliking scooping. Some people don’t mind it, and some people do. If you are using or considering using an electric litter box that will do the job of scooping for you, there is no problem with it if your cat doesn’t mind. In some cases, it can keep the litter box cleaner than you would be able to do yourself. However, as always, it’s important to keep in mind the connection to nature that the litter box provides your indoor cats. In nature there are no electric sensors that will rake the ground clean when a cat steps away;) If you are using an automatic litter box, it’s important to keep a close eye on your cats reactions to the box, and to quickly change to a manual litter box if your cat seems uncomfortable, skittish or stops using the box.
From our point of view, the best litter box is the kind that doesn’t have the bells and whistles – the jumbo plastic box that is scooped manually twice a day. It provides a lot of space for your cat to move around in, and provides the most direct connection with nature. It’s the right tool for the job from your cats perspective, and although it takes the work of cleaning it, it has the best chance of keeping your cat anxiety free and using the litter box (that original and most important task of the litter box).
We also suggest a high lip on the litter box you choose, with at least one lowered side so your cat can easily step in and out of the box (many basic plastic litter boxes have a lip attachment that will perform this function, as well as keep a litter liner firmly in place). This will allow easy entry and exit for your cat, while keeping the litter inside the box while your cat scratches around. Whichever litter box you choose, a little litter may escape from the box while your cat scratches around, or when your cat steps from the box – this is normal, and just as it works in nature.
We received a wonderful comment to this article from Dr. Lisa Franck D.V.M. and thought it would be useful to include:
“Great article! I have litter boxes made from storage totes. I buy 30 to 40 gallon storage totes (Sterilite brand is an example), and cut a square entrance in the plastic as an entrance. When looking for one, just make sure you find one that doesn’t have a ton of grooves on the bottom… My cats love these, and I have had no potty problems since adopting this method. As well, I have a cat that stands to pee, and even with the covered boxes, urine would leak through the cracks. Many of my clients that come to me with inappropriate urination/defecation problems have also found happy kitties with this.”
-Dr. Lisa Franck D.V.M.
Thanks to Dr. Franck for sending us these pictures of her great DIY litter box setup (filled with Boxiecat litter!):
Stay tuned for upcoming articles on how many litter boxes to use, litter liners, and where to place the litter box. Sign up to our newsletter to receive our emails with articles, cat care tips, and more.
As always we look to ways of keeping cats comfortable, happy, and using the litter box. Following these and other basic rules of litter box care can help avoid problems from coming up if your cat uses the box well, and help to alleviate problems if your cat already has litter box issues. Please note that some litter box behaviors and avoidance can be a sign of medical problems – if your cat has litter box issues or you notice changes in litter box behavior, it is important to take your cat to a good veterinarian. Although Boxiecat brand litter is veterinarian recommended, the writers of the article wish to state that we are not qualified to give medical advice.
How to find the best cat litter type for your cat
What is the best cat litter to use? Which fights odor the best? Which one prevents litter tracking? Which is preferred by most cats? With so many options on the market it is easy to get confused and even worse, there isn’t a single answer to this, because each cat litter type has its own advantages and disadvantages. So, in this article you are going to find what the best cat litter is for you and your cat.
All the tests were done ourselves trying to find a perfect match for our cats. However, we still recommend you to try most of the common types yourself, because that’s the only way to deeply understand what works best for you.
Clumping clay cat litter
Advantages of clumping clay litter:
Clumping litter is easy to use because you only have to scoop solids and clumps out. Because it’s so easy, it is the best cat litter for odor control since cleaning twice a day is the main thing that will help you to stop the litter box from smelling. Urine combines with small cement-like granules to form solid clumps, making it easy to remove from the litter box. After removing clumps and solid feces, unused litter remains in the box for later use. A small amount of new litter should be added occasionally, and on the rare occasion you will have to replace all of the litter box contents. So, a large box may last for several months. Because so little is used, clumping litter, depending on the brand, is the most economical litter type out there.
Disadvantages of clumping cat litter:
While we fully appreciate how easy it is to use clumping clay litter, the fact that it’s everywhere started to bother us quite soon. The first thing we noticed is that the cat tossed some of it out of the box quite often when trying to clean up after its business. Clumping litter definitely is the worst litter to prevent tracking. But, the most annoying thing was that cat litter particles were sticking to our cat’s feet and dropping off in random places. It started to bother us more when our baby girl started crawling and tasting everything she found on the floor. Sometimes it’s cat food but that’s still food. But piece of cement and urine mixture? No, thanks! Last, but not least, clumping litter is very dusty. At least most of the brands are and if the dust is what bothers you, we recommend using other litter types.
You can find more detailed review of clumping cat litter here.
Natural clumping cat litter
Advantages of natural clumping cat litter:
Unlike clumping litter which is made of clay, natural litter is made of plant fiber. That is good because it is less dusty and it smells better. And, similar to clumping clay litter, this one is also easy to use and therefore fights odor very well.
Disadvantages of natural clumping litter:
It’s actually very hard to think of them because there aren’t very many. The few obvious things are that the box contents must be dumped more often, and it costs more than regular clumping litter, with few brands being unreasonably over-priced, if you ask us.
Silica gel cat litter review
Advantages of silica cat litter:
At first we did not appreciate this type of litter (oh, it sounded like a toothpaste advertisement), but mostly it is because we did not understand how to use it correctly. It’s even easier than clumping litter. The right way is to scoop out all the solid feces, and stir the cat litter with a scoop so the urine does not concentrate in one spot. After some time, when most of the granules have turned yellow (it’s the color of urine if you’re wondering), you change the whole box contents. This makes silica cat litter the easiest litter type of those we reviewed.
Disadvantages of silica cat litter:
Most silica litter bags state they are sufficient for one month in a single cat household. Well that’s a lie. If you want to stop odor, you have to replace it frequently, and the price of the silica cat litter is somewhat high. You may not mind that much if you have one cat, but for multiple cat households silica litter is a wallet ripper. The dust of the silica litter is unpleasant. While this type of litter is less dusty than clumping, it smells more like chemicals and may be a bad choice if you have a sensitive nose.
You can find more about silica litter here.
Pine cat litter
Advantages of pine pellet cat litter:
Pine litter is so good. It’s compostable, flushable and environmentally friendly. It fights odor very well, and its natural scent is a lot better than the smell of other litter types. When the cat uses its litter box, pine pellets absorb urine and turns to sawdust. Unlike silica cat litter, which absorbs cat urine and remains in the box up to a month, moisturized sawdust should be removed in every scooping. It’s one of the best cat litters to prevent litter tracking.
Disadvantages of pine pellet cat litter:
The cleaning part is probably the worst thing about pine cat litter. Scooping takes some practice and needs to be done up to several times per day. Scooping also takes more time than just removing clumps or solid feces. Also, a huge drawback is that many cats don’t like pine pellet litter because of the strong pine odor and the pellet texture. However, if your cat does not accept it, trying to switch from the old litter type gradually is recommended. While it may take some time, it’s still worth a try.
See our review of pine pellet litter here.
Non-clumping clay cat litter review
Advantages of non-clumping clay litter:
Non-clumping litter is usually less dusty than clumping litter. It still has some dust, but the difference is noticeable. Another thing is that, among the most common “modern” cat litters out there, non-clumping clay litter resembles natural dirt, which makes it an easy go for cats with litter aversion.
Disadvantages of non-clumping litter:
The bad thing is that non-clumping litter is old. Its urine absorption capabilities are mediocre despite the fact it used to be considered the best in the middle of 20th century. We can say the same thing about how easy it was to use. It was certainly a lot easier than sawdust and sand, which were used before clay litter was invented, but since then it has fallen way behind clumping and silica litters.