If you're owned by a proud feline, then you're probably among the humans seeking the best cat litter at the supermarket and online. How many times have you found yourself staring at the shelves stuffed with litter thinking - organic? Pine? Clumping? Scented? And is the really, really expensive brand worth the extra money?
Those are very good questions and ones that any cat's human counterpart should be asking, not only to stay on budget, but to keep their kitty happy and healthy. How exactly do you choose the best cat litter?
Adult cats will vary slightly when it comes to asking the question 'what is the best cat litter?' It can also depend on the time you have, what your living arrangements are like and so forth.
Initially, you need to ask yourself WHY you're considering a different litter. Unless there's a good reason for switching, you may want to simply stick with the brand your cat knows. While you're flexible in buying, kitty may not be so flexible in the type of substrate they use - they're very habitual.
So, be aware that the best cat litter is the one that your CAT likes too.
3 kinds of cat litter:
- Clumping Cat Litter
If you're certain you can make a switch without too much commotion, then step two is considering the various characteristics of litters. For example, clumping litter makes it much easier to scoop the cat pan. That's a nice time saver, but the majority of clumping litter is not flushable - it can cause quite a problem with plumbing. Additionally, the majority of "green" / ecologically friendly litters are non-clumping.
In reviewing both consumer and expert websites the most popular clumping litters for both economy and performance is Scoop Away, Fresh Step and Tidy Cat.
Another characteristic to consider in the litter is the grain size. Fine grains clump very well, but they also stick to your cat's paws easily. Having said that, the fine grain litter is generally softer for kitty's very sensitive paws. If you tried a large pellet brand and found your cat fussing - that's probably your problem.
Note: if you have a kitten under 3 months of age, do not use clumping cat litter. If it's accidentally ingested during self cleaning it can cause serious illness.
- Organic / Biodegradable Cat litter
For people working toward a green home, there are several biodegradable litters on the market. There has been some concerns in the pet industry about potential negative health effects of the clumping litter that has driven a larger natural litter market. However, from the cat's perspective - they're not very fond of the pine, corn, or newspaper pellets which are rough on paws.
By far the easiest time to integrate green products into your cat's life is as a kitten. If you're moving in that direction, one product seems to be getting rave reviews online and that's Feline Pine. It's inexpensive, goes a long way, and seems to control odor very well. It does not clump, however, and older cats may not respond well to this product's texture.
You also need to consider that your cat may not like the "piney" scent; harsh or strong scents can make a big difference in whether your cat uses the box.
- Crystal Cat Litter
Crystal litter has a very long box life. It absorbs a great amount of liquid, meaning the whole cat box doesn't have to be changed as often. From the cat's perspective, older cats introduced to crystal cat litters don't seem to like it, but their owners do!
People considering a crystal cat litter must realize that solid waste still needs to be extracted from the cat pan regularly or you'll find kitty looking for other places to relieve themselves. Also if you don't watch the crystals, they can reach their limit of absorbency and you'll find puddles in the cat box.
Remember when changing the litter to a different type can upset your cat. Your cat is a creature of habit, and will often not welcome such a sudden new change. When introducing a new product, follow this rule:
- First week: 3 quarters of the old mixed with 1 quarter of the new litter.
- Second week: 1 half of the old mixed with 1 half of the new.
- Third week: 1 quarter of the old mixed with 3 quarters of the new.
- Fourth week: 100% of the new litter should now be offered and accepted.
The best cat litter for your home will combine what you most need in terms of odor control, with comfort and acceptance from your cat.