When talking about cats, the question: “which is the best cat litter?”, is among the most common asked ones. In this article, we are going to answer it.
We have tested the most popular cat litter types, clumping, pine, silica and absorbing cat litter, and are going to share our experience from those tests, as well as things we know and understand from eliminative behavior of cats – that is, how cat would prefer eliminating naturally.
So, let’s get started. Here is a list of areas at which certain litter types are good, or bad at. All you have to do, is to figure out what is important for you from the good ones, and which of the bad ones doesn’t bother you at all.
Which cat litter is the easiest in use?
This is the most important part for cat owners, when they search for a cat litter. Cats, on the other hand, don’t give a damn if their owners are spending a minute, or a week in cleaning tier litter box, as long as it is clean.
In our opinion, easiest is the silica cat litter, as, all you have to do, is to remove the solid wastes and stir the litter, plus, you have to dump the whole litter once in a while.
On the other hand, clumping litter is not far behind, and due to personal preferences, some cat owners will find removing solid wastes and clumps an easier task.
What about the others? Absorbing litter and pine litter requires a bit of practice, and development of your own cleaning techniques. It’s not a total mess, but both takes a bit more of a challenge when compared to clumping and silica litter.
Can we find a litter that is not getting out of the box?
This one annoys cat owners a lot, including us. However, the most effective solution lies, not in the cat litter type, but in the box itself. Boxes with higher sides and covered ones are quite an effective solutions here, however…
However, clumping litter has a problem here. Its particles tend to clump when getting moist, which also means, it sticks to the paws of the cat, and drops off at random spots where he walks, sleeps or sits. So, literally, while not in large quantities, clumping litter will be everywhere. Though, if you do clean your house frequently, it will not be a huge problem.
If we talk about other cat litter types, they are all made quite equally, and, whether they are thrown out of the litter box, is not quite about the type, but the brand itself. Some have larger particles, some have smaller. Apparently, lighter particles are easier thrown out, however, as mentioned above, the perfect solution would be, not changing the litter type, but the box instead.
And, one more point to this. If there’s a litter out of the box, we kinda find it less troublesome if it’s pine litter, rather than the cement like clumping litter. Somehow, substrate of natural origin does not bother us so much that cement or silica.
Do you have to be covered in cat litter dust?
From litter types we have tried, the most dustier was, no doubt, a clumping litter. Depending on the brand, of course, amount of dust may vary sightly.
Pine litter, on the other hand, creates almost none dust. While, both, absorbing and silica stand somewhere in between, depending on brand, again.
Most of you have probably seen how silica litter packages state “Dust FREE” or similar. Well, we have never experiences dust free silica litter, to be honest
Which cat litter fights odor the best?
Form our experience, from the odor fighting capabilities, the best cat litter is the pine one. It has a very strong, natural pine odor, which overwhelms the scent of urine and feces.
However, many cats may not find this scent so appealing, so they may avoid it. And, for the same reason, scented litters (disregarding the type), are not very good choice, either. Even though, they may fight the odor well.
Also, if we look at types, silica litter, if you do not dump the whole box frequently, creates a great amount of urine scent.
But, above all, no matter what type of cat litter you do use, there’s no better odor neutralizer that frequent cleaning. Twice a daily, is enough in most cases.
But what do cat’s think is the best cat litter?
Okay, we are now ready to ask what cat’s think is the best litter. They are the ones using it, right? Besides, whether the cat likes the specific type of litter, can make changes in everything. Even if you have found the best litter in your opinion, all the benefits will be eliminated by a single fact – your cat does not like it.
If you asked cats, they would probably like having a dirt or sand in the litter box. This is natural. However, it really would be painful to you. We remember, in our childhood, here where we live, it was the only litter type available., and our parents (who were the responsible for litter box maintenance) say it was like hell. Besides, grabbing a dirt outdoors you are increasing a risk of parasite invasion. So, no dirt or sand litter test here.
But what to do, if the cats like them the most? You should seek for an alternative, that is the closest match. Which is a litter with small particles, and is easy to dig.
Most cats like clumping and absorbing litter the most. And by most, we mean – it’s still possible that your cat may not be one of those most. We know many cats who like silica litter, but hate clumping and absorbing. We have one, as well.
Besides, it still depends on the brand and the cat themselves. However, the pine litter seems to be avoided by cats most often, while silica litter stands somewhere in between.
Oh, yes, artificially scented litter, no matter what is the type is avoided by cats very often, so, if you do not want litter box problems, having a scented litter is a no no.
Do you care how cat litter affects the planet?
Many cat owners, and cats especially, are not concerned about saving our planet from piles of waste. However, their grandchildren might be. Besides, there are many people nowadays who are worried about such things, and try to lead their lives making as less impact on the environment, as possible. Thanks to all of them, we think it’s a great way to live.
So, if our planet bothers you, best cat litter types for you is the pine litter, biodegradable variant of clumping litter, or recycled paper litter. They are biodegradable, you may flush and compost them. And even throwing it in a trash will not leave a large footprint on the environment.
Clumping litter (except biodegradable, mentioned above) is reasonably mentioned the less environment friendly, as its particles degrade slowly. Absorbing and silica litter are not amongst the environment friendly litter types, as well.
How much can you spend on the cat litter?
The money you spend on the cat litter depend greatly from brand to brand and how you use them. However, if we talk in average numbers, we might place the post popular cat litter types in such order, by their cost:
Clumping (except biodegradable); Absorbing; Pine; Biodegradable clumping litter; Silica litter.
That is, we have taken into account not only how much they cost per bag, but how much you will need in a certain amount of time. And, yes, again, it depends on how you use the litter, how often you dump the whole box.
In example, if you use silica litter, like most packages say, “one month for one cat”, then, probably we might shift this type few positions to the left. However, we think you should dump the whole box at least every other week. At least.
Can cat litter affect your cat’s health?
Many cat owners are concerned about clumping cat litter being unhealthy, as it contains bentonite – an ingredient, which expands when moisturized, so, if the cat is ingesting or inhaling it, if accumulates in the body of the cat, thus affecting health.
We have never seen any scientific proof to this really happening. Only marketing brochures and statements from environment activists. However, if above stuff really bothers you, you can as well try biodegradable cat litter, which is made from corn. It does not contain bentonite.
On the other hand, there is one greater benefit of the clumping litter from the medical point of view, which is the ability to monitor how much your cat urinates.
Talking in absolute numbers is not reasonable, as the amount of the urine produced highly depends on several factors; however, you can easily spot any changes. What if your cat is producing two clumps in the litter daily, and suddenly there are four, or none of them?
It tells you something is not right, and a vet visit must be considered, if it continues for some time. Also, if the size of the clumps changes, your awareness must be risen.
What about other types of litter? They do not provide an ability to monitor amount of urine properly, however, we don’t think you should be that much concerned about combination of cat litter and helath.
No matter what litter type you use, you still have a great advantage of seeing when your cat’s eliminative behavior changes, over those going outdoors and not using a litter box.
The Verdict: Which is the best cat litter… for your cat?
- Clumping cat litter. Easy to use, can help to monitor your cat’s health, economical (unless biodegradable clumping litter), cats rarely have objections. Sticky, very dusty, zero environment friendliness (unless biodegradable clumping litter). Read detailed clumping cat litter review here.
- Silica cat litter. Easy to use, a small amount of dust. Pricey, makes perfect environment for bacteria growth, some cats may have objections. Read detailed silica cat litter review here.
- Absorbing cat litter. Moderate amount of dust, cats rarely have objections. Cleaning is bit a mess. Read absorbing cat litter review here.
- Pine litter. No dust, environment friendly, less bothersome if gets out of the box, very good odor fighting. Not easy to scoop, many cat’s do not like their scent. Read detailed pine cat litter review here.
Which cat litter do you use and is this article going to change something ion your cat’s life? Did we help you find the best cat litter for you? And your cat?