Non-clumping clay cat litter, often referred as an absorbing litter, is the oldest commercial cat litter on the market. It was invented back in the late 1940s, and due to its great absorption capabilities compared to sand or ash, which were the alternatives back then, it gained in popularity quite rapidly. Currently, clay litter still takes up significant space on the shelves in pet stores all over the world. However, when clumping litter was invented in 1984, the popularity of clay started to decrease.
In this article, we are going to take a closer look at the benefits and drawbacks of using non-clumping clay cat litter.
Clay litter is less dusty, and cats rarely object…
The good part about absorbing litter is that it is less dusty than clumping litter, which is the closest alternative. It still creates a significant amount of dust, not to mention quite unpleasant dust; however, a decreased amount of dust is the first thing noticed by people who switch from clumping to non-clumping litter.
Also, a good point for clay litter is its appeal to cats. It is easy to dig in, and stepping on it feels natural for cats. But the bad part here is that your difficulties in maintaining the cleanliness of the box may distract your cat; this might be solved by dumping the whole box quite frequently.
The price of the absorbing cat litter may also be the reason why many cat owners still choose it. If you take a look at the store, clay litter will probably be the cheapest per bag among all the litter types, but the economical use of clumping litter pushes clay litter into the second spot in the competition of low expenses. This varies from brand to brand, though.
This about ends the positive part of the absorbing clay litter review, and we still have some negative aspects to take a look at.
Medium absorption and odor fighting capabilities, hard to maintain.
For more than half a century, absorbing litter was valued for its high absorption capabilities. Unfortunately, that was when it was compared to ash, sand and dirt. These days, we have higher competition; for example, silica gel cat litter absorbs a lot more and does it a lot more quickly.
Unfortunately, when using non-clumping clay litter, we quite frequently experience an accumulation of urine at the bottom of the box, which makes the cleaning of the box messier. As already mentioned above, this may force your cat to seek a nicer place to eliminate – like a laundry basket.
The odor fighting capabilities of clay cat litter are mediocre. However, we always state that no matter the litter type, the best solution to a smelly litter box is frequent cleaning. You can find more tips to prevent a litter box from smelling here. If you seek a litter type that overwhelms odor well, you may create litter box avoidance in your cat, as, unlike humans, our pets do not appreciate litter boxes smelling like lavender, rose or pine.
The environmental friendliness of clay litter is not as low as that of clumping bentonite litter, but if you are an owner who cares about this issue, you may find pine, recycled paper or biodegradable clumping litter a lot better choice.
So why should you use absorbing cat litter?
We are not sure why you should use it. It WAS a revolution in the middle of the 20th century, but times have changed now. In short, it’s actually a clumping litter without clumping capabilities. And indeed, the clumping litter was introduced as an upgraded version of clay litter, which in reality it is. Of course, clumping litter still has some drawbacks, like its stickiness and dustiness, but if you are searching for a workaround for those, there are better choices these days than non-clumping clay litter.
This article is a part of series about cat litter.