Your guide to choosing cat litter

Your guide to choosing cat litter

Litter has long advanced beyond being a bag of dirt that is poured into a tray. Many features are now available, including those that reduce and eliminate odours, limit clean up through clumping technology and mitigate the impact on our environment. So aside from choosing a product that is most convenient to the pet owner, what is the best choice for our cats?

Features to consider when choosing litter:

  • The benefits of clumping vs non-clumping litter
  • Reducing litter tracking
  • Disposal: to flush or not to flush?
  • Whether to pick an odour eliminator or fragranced litter

Clumping and non-clumping: which is better?

Clumping technology will save you a lot of time and effort. Your day-to-day clean up will be much easier, as the litter bonds with the urine to form scoopable clumps. This means that by removing the clumps, only clean litter is left behind – therefore, full litter tray cleanouts are only required every week or two (compared to every day with non-clumping litter!)

This clumping ability also helps contain odours, providing an aroma-free litter box when serviced regularly. For anyone with an indoor cat or a small apartment – I’m sure you don’t need to be told how important odour control is!

Clumping litter can be made out of:

Corn – examples include Rufus & Coco and the World’s Best Cat Litter. Corn-based litter forms firm, easy-to-remove clumps and comes highly recommended by cat owners all over.

Soy extract – like corn, soy also forms firm clumps and is easy to use. An example of this type of litter is Trouble and Trix Natural Pellets.

Clay – examples include Catsan Ultra, Feline First, and Tidy Cats, Trouble and Trix, and Fussy Cat. Clay clumps very well into solid cement-like globs, which is convenient for cleaning. However, clay has a few major drawbacks – namely, it can be a little dusty, and it also tracks on their feet due to the fine granules.

Plant material or wood – note that some plant matter clumps, and some doesn’t. Typically, wood-based varieties don’t tend to form as firm clumps as corn-based litter, but it does depend on the material. Examples of clumping varieties include Kit Cat Organic Bamboo Clump made from bamboo, Catlux made from softwood, and Applaws made from walnut shell. Other non-clumping plant or wood based litters include Cat’s Best made from fir and spruce, Kitter and Oz Pet made from renewable timber, and Max’s Cat Litter made from rice hulls.

Crystals – like plant material, some crystal litters clump, and some don’t. A clumping variety example is the Kit Cat Crystal Clumping Litter. Non-clumping varieties include The Catsentials, Petface Cat Litter Silica, and Catsan Crystals. In general, crystals are great for pet owners wishing to avoid dust that often accompanies clay or paper litter, which can be an issue for pets with allergies or asthma.

While clumping litter and gel crystals are superior in terms of convenience, non-clumping litters are usually made from natural ingredients like recycled paper in Scrunch and Sticks or Breeders Choice, and are biodegradable. However, with corn and soy-based litter, you can reap the benefits of both natural biodegradable materials and convenience.

What about tracking?

Even with your best efforts, litter tracking on the floor is a common issue! It doesn’t matter where you place the litter tray, cats tend to get litter stuck on their paws and shake it all off as they walk around your home. In general, anything with larger or heavier pellets tracks less. Gel Crystals rank first on the reduced-tracking chart, while litters made from clay tend to leave room for a little more tracking. With regards to litters made from recycled paper, plant material, or corn / soy, the general rule is that the smaller the pellets, the more tracking you will experience.

Finding litter strewn all around the house? See our article for tips on How to Reduce Litter Tracking

Should you pick an odour eliminator or fragranced litter?

Cats have a much keener sense of smell than humans and can be very sensitive to where they do their business. If their litterbox is too pongy and not cleaned regularly, they will often avoid using it. On the other end of the spectrum, fragranced litters might appeal to the human senses, but they can be a deterrent for your kitty. If you know your cat is particularly fussy, it’s best to avoid fragranced litters and instead look for an odour eliminating litter that neutralises smells.

Flushing, composting, or trash – oh my!

If you are particularly clued into your impact on the environment, the disposal of your litter is definitely something to think about.

Flushable – Some people aren’t aware that there are now many types of litters which can be flushed down the toilet in small quantities. This is particularly convenient with clumping litter made of natural, biodegradable material, as the clumps can be popped straight in the loo and flushed away. Litters suitable for this include Rufus & Coco and the World’s Best Cat Litter (iin small quantities).

Compostable – Materials such as clay, wood, or plant material, and even recycled paper, are generally ok to put on the garden, but aren’t ideal for flushing. Note – it’s never recommended to put soiled litter in a vegetable garden, due to the risk of disease transmission.

Rubbish disposal – certain litters must be disposed of in the garbage, as they are not biodegradable – such as crystal silica litter. It’s also worth noting that some natural litter will end up in the rubbish too, as you will need to throw out whole tray-fulls at a time (if you choose a non-clumping litter, you will need to throw out a tray every 1-2 days).

The million dollar question: which litter is cheapest?

Up front, non-clumping litters are the cheaper option. However these litters generally need to be replaced much more frequently than clumping alternatives making the initial difference in price almost negligible. For example, you might need to replace a recycled paper pellet litter every 1-2 days, but you can make a clumping litter stretch for up to 2 weeks. Your bag of clumping litter will last a whole lot longer in the long run!

The final summary

Clumping litters are easier to clean up by scooping out used clumps instead of changing the entire tray, however Gel Crystals are great for those who prefer replacing the entire tray of soiled litter with fresh litter and who are worried about tracking.

Infrequent cleaning or the use of fragranced litters may result in litterbox avoidance.

Your guide to choosing cat litter

Litter has long advanced beyond being a bag of dirt that is poured into a tray. Many features are now available, including those that reduce and eliminate odours, limit clean up through clumping technology and mitigate the impact on our environment. So aside from choosing a product that is most convenient to the pet owner, what is the best choice for our cats?

Features to consider when choosing litter:

  • The benefits of clumping vs non-clumping litter
  • Reducing litter tracking
  • Disposal: to flush or not to flush?
  • Whether to pick an odour eliminator or fragranced litter
  • Clumping and non-clumping: which is better?

    Clumping technology will save you a lot of time and effort. Your day-to-day clean up will be much easier, as the litter bonds with the urine to form scoopable clumps. This means that by removing the clumps, only clean litter is left behind – therefore, full litter tray cleanouts are only required every week or two (compared to every day with non-clumping litter!)

    This clumping ability also helps contain odours, providing an aroma-free litter box when serviced regularly. For anyone with an indoor cat or a small apartment – I’m sure you don’t need to be told how important odour control is!

    Clumping litter can be made out of:

    Corn – examples include Rufus & Coco and the World’s Best Cat Litter. Corn-based litter forms firm, easy-to-remove clumps and comes highly recommended by cat owners all over.

    Soy extract – like corn, soy also forms firm clumps and is easy to use. An example of this type of litter is Trouble and Trix Natural Pellets.

    Clay – examples include Catsan Ultra, Feline First, and Tidy Cats, Trouble and Trix, and Fussy Cat. Clay clumps very well into solid cement-like globs, which is convenient for cleaning. However, clay has a few major drawbacks – namely, it can be a little dusty, and it also tracks on their feet due to the fine granules.

    Plant material or wood – note that some plant matter clumps, and some doesn’t. Typically, wood-based varieties don’t tend to form as firm clumps as corn-based litter, but it does depend on the material. Examples of clumping varieties include Kit Cat Organic Bamboo Clump made from bamboo, Catlux made from softwood, and Applaws made from walnut shell. Other non-clumping plant or wood based litters include Cat’s Best made from fir and spruce, Kitter and Oz Pet made from renewable timber, and Max’s Cat Litter made from rice hulls.

    Crystals – like plant material, some crystal litters clump, and some don’t. A clumping variety example is the Kit Cat Crystal Clumping Litter. Non-clumping varieties include The Catsentials, Petface Cat Litter Silica, and Catsan Crystals. In general, crystals are great for pet owners wishing to avoid dust that often accompanies clay or paper litter, which can be an issue for pets with allergies or asthma.

    While clumping litter and gel crystals are superior in terms of convenience, non-clumping litters are usually made from natural ingredients like recycled paper in Scrunch and Sticks or Breeders Choice, and are biodegradable. However, with corn and soy-based litter, you can reap the benefits of both natural biodegradable materials and convenience.

    What about tracking?

    Even with your best efforts, litter tracking on the floor is a common issue! It doesn’t matter where you place the litter tray, cats tend to get litter stuck on their paws and shake it all off as they walk around your home. In general, anything with larger or heavier pellets tracks less. Gel Crystals rank first on the reduced-tracking chart, while litters made from clay tend to leave room for a little more tracking. With regards to litters made from recycled paper, plant material, or corn / soy, the general rule is that the smaller the pellets, the more tracking you will experience.

    Finding litter strewn all around the house? See our article for tips on How to Reduce Litter Tracking

    Should you pick an odour eliminator or fragranced litter?

    Cats have a much keener sense of smell than humans and can be very sensitive to where they do their business. If their litterbox is too pongy and not cleaned regularly, they will often avoid using it. On the other end of the spectrum, fragranced litters might appeal to the human senses, but they can be a deterrent for your kitty. If you know your cat is particularly fussy, it’s best to avoid fragranced litters and instead look for an odour eliminating litter that neutralises smells.

    Flushing, composting, or trash – oh my!

    If you are particularly clued into your impact on the environment, the disposal of your litter is definitely something to think about.

    Flushable – Some people aren’t aware that there are now many types of litters which can be flushed down the toilet in small quantities. This is particularly convenient with clumping litter made of natural, biodegradable material, as the clumps can be popped straight in the loo and flushed away. Litters suitable for this include Rufus & Coco and the World’s Best Cat Litter (iin small quantities).

    Compostable – Materials such as clay, wood, or plant material, and even recycled paper, are generally ok to put on the garden, but aren’t ideal for flushing. Note – it’s never recommended to put soiled litter in a vegetable garden, due to the risk of disease transmission.

    Rubbish disposal – certain litters must be disposed of in the garbage, as they are not biodegradable – such as crystal silica litter. It’s also worth noting that some natural litter will end up in the rubbish too, as you will need to throw out whole tray-fulls at a time (if you choose a non-clumping litter, you will need to throw out a tray every 1-2 days).

    The million dollar question: which litter is cheapest?

    Up front, non-clumping litters are the cheaper option. However these litters generally need to be replaced much more frequently than clumping alternatives making the initial difference in price almost negligible. For example, you might need to replace a recycled paper pellet litter every 1-2 days, but you can make a clumping litter stretch for up to 2 weeks. Your bag of clumping litter will last a whole lot longer in the long run!

    The final summary

    Clumping litters are easier to clean up by scooping out used clumps instead of changing the entire tray, however Gel Crystals are great for those who prefer replacing the entire tray of soiled litter with fresh litter and who are worried about tracking.

    Infrequent cleaning or the use of fragranced litters may result in litterbox avoidance.

  • They’re All Going to Be Cute: What to Know When Picking out a Kitten

  • How to Choose a Kitten

    When choosing a kitten, the most important thing to look for is good health. Buying a healthy kitten should ensure that you get many years of pleasure and companionship from your feline friend. Another important point to consider is whether you want a kitten as a family pet, or whether you are thinking of showing/breeding your kitten in the future, as this will play a large part in the selection process. It always helps if you can see the kitten’s mother when going to view any kittens, particularly in the case of a pedigree, as this will show you exactly what the kittens will look like when they are fully grown.

    It can, however, be quite difficult to decide what type of cat will suit you best, as there is such a wide variety of cute kittens to choose from. This is where a trip to the library or a thorough search on the Web will help you to come to the right decision. Long-haired or semi-long-haired varieties, such as a Persian or Ragdoll kittens, will require more grooming than shorthaired varieties, like Siamese kittens and Bengal kittens. Some kittens can also be more demanding by nature than others, and it could be that a cross-breed may provide you with just the right balance.<

    Signs of a Healthy Kitten

    Before going to view any kittens, it’s best to make a list of all the places you are going to try first. It’s a good idea to stick to reputable breeders where pedigree kittens are concerned, and pet shops are best avoided altogether as many of them will not be able to tell you anything about the kitten’s background. Make notes at each place you visit, and don’t be tempted to buy the first pretty kitten you see. Look for the following qualities:

    • Bright, shiny eyes with no discharge or excessive tearing, as this could indicate infection.
    • Clean healthy ears, as any pus or tar-like discharge could be a sign of ear-mite infestation or other infection.
    • Pale pink gums and mouth with no sign of ulcers or sores.
    • A damp and cool nose with no discharge or signs of sneezing.
    • A clean bottom with no staining of the fur or other possible signs of diarrhea.
    • A clean and glossy coat with no dry flaking skin or bare patches.
    • A bright, friendly and alert manner. Healthy kittens are generally very playful and inquisitive. Although many kittens may be a little shy at first, a friendly kitten that comes up to you willingly may make a better pet.

    It is worth pointing out that if any kitten in a litter does appear to have any signs of ill health, even if the rest of the litter appear to be quite healthy, then it would be wise to avoid that litter altogether unless they have been checked out by a vet first.

    YOU MAY ALSO LIKE:

    SEE ALSO:

    • Find A Vet
    • Pet Cemetery
    • Pet Odor Removal
    • Rabies
    • Animal Shelter

    Required Vaccinations

    Vaccinations are very important for a new kitten, as their immune system is still growing. Cat vaccinations help to boost the immune system and protect your kitten from potentially fatal diseases.

    It’s best to acquire a kitten when it is around 8 to 12 weeks old, by which time it should have already received at least one vaccination and checked for feline worms. A second vaccination will then be due at 12 weeks and thereafter at regular yearly intervals. Vaccinations are available to guard against a number of diseases, such as cat flu, feline enteritis and feline leukemia.

    Adequate flea control will also be necessary and, once your kitten reaches six months of age, it will require neutering/spaying unless you wish to breed from it.

    Helping Your Kitten Adjust to Its New Home

    When your kitten first arrives home, it is bound to feel a little nervous. You should place it in a quiet room in its carrier so that it can come out when it feels ready to do so. Provide fresh water, food, a few cat toys, a cat bed and a litter tray (placed well away from food and water). If you have any other pets in the house, you will need to keep them away from your kitten and take introductions slowly.

    It may take as long as several weeks for your kitten to get used to you and its new home, but eventually it will begin to settle down and get to know you. Do not, however, let your kitten roam around outside until it is fully vaccinated and able to take care of itself. If you are going to be out at work all day, you may want to consider getting two cats at the same time so that they will be company for one another.

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