While most cat owners probably won’t consider cat litter to be one of the most exciting topics; being knowledgeable about what are the most appropriate and acceptable types of litter that cats will use consistently is in reality, one of the most important aspects of excellent kitty care.
There’s a huge variety of cat litter available in pet stores, supermarkets and for sale on the Internet. Kitty owners are bombarded with advertisements about litters made from clay, silica gel crystals, corn, wheat, pine, cedar chips and recycled paper with so many different textures that it’s no wonder that cat owners can find themselves scratching their heads in confusion about what type is best.While these advertisements promise cat owners that their kitties will be magnetically attracted to their particular brand; this is not necessarily the case. Don’t you wish your kitty could tell you in words what they prefer?
With such an overwhelming assortment from which to choose, it can certainly be hard to pick the most appropriate types of litter that truly will appeal to your kitties. We know how fussy cats get when it comes to the “toilet” accessories that they find alluring to them; so understanding more about which ones they will actually use often can be quite challenging.
Noted veterinarian, Karen Becker, DVM offers some sage advice for feline owners. Doctor Becker’s rule of thumb is, “If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Her advice is that if your cats are happily using the cat litter you provide them, and have no issues, you must be doing something right by picking the right kind of cat litter, the type of box and its location which your cats find to their liking!
However, for people bringing a new cat into the household or have a cat that is flexible about litter changes, Dr. Becker recommends using a recycled, and eco- friendly, sustainable product. Additionally she suggests that the most favorable type of cat litter to use is one that is both chemical-free and as dust-free as possible. However, since cats abhor quick changes in their routines, it is always wise to use the same brand of litter that the kitty has been using, and then to very slowly start mixing the new type of litter into the box.
One of the most popular types is clumping clay litter. It is generally made from bentonite. This is highly absorbent clay which forms into solid clumps when in contact with moisture. It makes scooping and cleaning the box easy. The downside to this litter is it’s heavy, non-biodegradable and dusty.
There also is a non-clumping litter made from different varieties of clay. While it does absorb urine, it doesn't clump, so when the box is scooped it can leave some moist litter behind. Since the box can become stinky more quickly it will require more frequent scooping and changing than a clumping litter. However, some cats prefer it to clumping litter.
Recycled paper: Made from recycled paper and is available in granules or pellets. It is biodegradable, highly absorbent and dust-free. The granule variety clumps urine, but the pellet form does not.
Pine litter: This product is recycled. It's usually made from scraps of lumber in which the oils, allergens and toxins are removed through heat-treatment. It comes in granules, pellets and roughly crushed pine and are somewhat clumping. Its pine scent helps to control odor. However, some cats don’t like the scent.
Silica gel crystals are made of tiny silica gel beads. Although it is highly absorbent and virtually dust free, lasts longer and controls odors well, some cats don't like getting it on their paws. Additionally, since cats clean their paws, if ingested in large amounts over a long period of time it can be dangerous.
Corn based litter is absorbent, biodegradable and controls odors. However corn can be a problem ingredient for cats since most cats ingest some of the litter while grooming, Dr. Becker doesn't recommend corn based litter. There is some controversy concerning corn litter since the corn used in the manufacture of World's Best Cat Litter is genetically modified and Roundup-ready is used as a pesticide. Although World's Best Cat Litter assures consumers that their product is completely safe, owners should take these issues into consideration for themselves.
Another biodegradable type is wheat-based cat litter. It is manufactured from ground wheat, low in dust and tracking, providing good odor control. Since wheat can be another problematic ingredient for cats Dr. Becker suggests avoiding this type of litter.
While owners may prefer scented litters for odor control, most kitties abhor them. The majority of cats prefer unscented, clumping litters provided in clean litter boxes placed in strategic (to the cat) locations around the house.
Noted veterinarian, Karen Becker, DVM offers some sage advice for feline owners. Doctor Becker’s rule of thumb is, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Her advice is that if your cats are happily using the cat litter you provide them, and have no issues, you must be doing something right by picking the right kind of cat litter, the type of box and its location which your cats find to their liking!
What type of litter do your cats prefer? Share your opinions in a comment.
Certified Veterinarian Assistant
Kerry was born and raised right here in DeLand, Florida and has had a passion for animals of all species from a very young age. She has an Associate's Degree from Daytona State College and is in the process of completing her degree in Veterinary Technology to become a Certified Veterinary Technician. She is committed to providing you and your pet with the highest quality of care and loves every patient like they were her own. When Kerry isn't working she spends most of her time with her husband, her three children and her furry children, tow dogs and a potbelly pig.
Dr. Jessica Lallier Hathaway was born and raised in the small town of Dolgeville, New York in the foothills of the beautiful Adirondack Mountains. There she fostered a life long love of nature and outdoor activity. She had many pets beginning with gerbils at the tender age of 8 and eventually adding guinea pigs, rabbits, iguanas, snakes, cats, and dogs. She knew she wanted to be a veterinarian for most of her life.
Dr. Hathaway left New York State to study pre-professional biology in Melbourne, Florida at the Florida Institute of Technology. She spent three years there and was admitted to the New York State College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University. While completing her veterinary degree, Dr. Hathaway worked nights and weekends in the Small Animal Critical Care Unit where she helped the sickest patients recover from procedures and illnesses so that they could make their way home to their families.
After graduation in 2000 Dr. Hathaway explored many Central Florida towns and decided to move to DeLand. Since then she has worked in multiple clinics, primarily on the East side of Volusia County, and also spent some time doing relief work at multiple clinics after the birth of her sons. She enjoys soft tissue surgery, preventative medicine, ultrasonography, and helping pets recover when illness strikes. She is delighted to be working in her home town, especially at an integrative practice. Dr. Hathaway is working toward a certification in traditional Chinese Veterinary Acupuncture at the Chi Institute. She has served as Member at Large, Secretary, and President of the Volusia Flagler Veterinary Medical Association.
In her free time, Dr. Hathaway can be found out and about with her husband Jeff and their three boys. She enjoys outdoor activity and also runs half marathons. They currently share their home with three cats, two dogs, a small flock of chickens, a leopard gecko and four beehives.
"I am so blessed to have found a career where I know I will be challenged every day. The most rewarding part of my job is helping a sick pet feel better so that he or she can go home and rejoin the family. Getting to know my clients and their pets brings me great joy every day. I am humbled by the opportunity to improve the quality of life for my patients and their families." - Dr. Hathaway
Melissa lives in Orange City and has been a technician for four years. She got most of her training hands on at FloridaWild and plans to keep furthering her education with the doctors and staff.. She loves acupuncture, holistic medicine, and canine rehabilitation. She and her husband volunteer their free-time rescuing wildlife. She enjoys boating, fishing, and anything outdoors. She also volunteers at least four times a year to help clean up the litter and debris from the beaches, rivers, and lakes. She loves spending time with her four dogs (Tommy, Harriet, Mumford, and Sunny), her two cats (Dexter and Boo), and her rescued squirrel (Murray). She is an artist of many trades and loves to garden. She hopes to further her education in acupuncture, holistic medicine, and canine rehabilitation. She also loves being involved in surgeries and dental techniques. She is always happy and approachable and loves spending time with the clients and their fur babies. She enjoys watching The Red Sox with her Nana and Uncle, and is originally from Worcester, MA. She plans on doing some major traveling these next few years with her husband that she recently married in April 2017
Meadow was born in Puerto Rico on a naval base but moved to Volusia county shortly there after. She lived in Greenville, SC for 5 years before moving back to FL at the end of 2016.
She currently has 4 dogs and 3 cats that she helps care for with her mother. Her pride and joy is a blind 10 year old Maine Coon named 'Cricket'.
She has found that she is most happy when working with animals and the people that love them.
Emily was born and raised in Port Orange, Florida. From a very young age, she knew her passion was to work with animals. Starting off, she mainly dealt with equine and livestock husbandry but soon found her passion in small animal and exotic medicine.
Emily currently is in the process of earning her bachelors degree and plans to continue on in her education to graduate as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in the future. When she is not working, Emily spends most of her time studying, spending time with family and friends, working with film photography, and enjoying nature with her adorable Labrador Retriever Abbey!
Vickie has started her new career here at The Funky Mutt Market. She is coming here after working over thirty years in retail. Vickie has two children - a daughter and son and she is also a grandmother of two. Vickie has always loved animals and is happy to be working here where she is surrounded by so many!
Certified Veterinarian Assistant
Shannon has been in the animal industry for eleven years. She has been a veterinary technician and is currently working as a kennel technician. Shannon has a knack for communicating with animals and she loves working at The Funky Mutt Market - where she has the opportunity to interact with the patients and clients on a personal and fun level. Shannon has three kids, five cats, and one dog. She loves spending time with her children, going to the park, fishing, and just enjoying what life has to offer.
Client Care Specialist
Judy is originally from Baltimore, Maryland. She moved down to Florida in 1987. At that time she began her veterinary career as a kennel technician. She then worked her way up and worked as a veterinary technician for 25 years. In her spare time, she enjoys riding motorcycles. She is owned by three cats (Willie, Spike, and Patches), 1 African Grey named Groucho, and a dog named Ophelia, who also loves to ride motorcycles.
Certified Pet Stylist
Kristin has been grooming for thirteen years. She began as a bather at Petsmart and from there she went to a grooming academy where she got certified as a pet stylist. She hasn't been here long but she has done phenomenal work in the little time she has been here - both the clients and pets love her! Kristin is very patient with her grooming, which is great because sometimes that includes grooming cats. Kristin said grooming cats is a great experience because her previous job did not have cat grooming as an option. "I think it's really interesting here. I see a lot more different types of dogs here than I would at a grooming salon." Kristin has two dogs, Louie and Benji, and a fish named Bubbles. Both Louie and Benji were rescues - "I'd never do anything but a rescue." Louie loves dog parks and getting to see others whereas Benji is more reserved and a "less is more" kind of guy. Kristin's soft spot is for older dogs. One day, her goal is to have a geriatric rescue
Client Care Specialist
Mara has been with the FloridaWild team since January 2015 and is SO excited to be part of such an extraordinary staff of women! She earned her bachelors degree from Western Washington University and came to Florida in 2012 to become the collection manager at the Reptile Discovery Center and is so enjoying spending every day among the animals, be it furry or scaly!
April was born and raised in Homosassa, Florida. She and her husband decided to put down roots here in Deland and start a family after retiring from the Army. Since she was 17, April worked as a medical technician/Certified Nursing Assistant, working closely with Alzheimers and Dementia patients. April attended Animal Behavioral College in 2012 where she received her Veterinary Assistant Certification. She enjoys the outdoors, hiking with her Australian Shepard, painting, photography, and spending quality time with her family. April has two fur babies, a 9 year-old Australian Shepard and an 11 year-old Labrador Retriever. She plans on continuing her education in Animal Behavior.
Kristen has been at FloridaWild since the beginning of September 2016. She is a New Jersey native who has been a DeLand resident for two years now and she loves it here. She started her career as a vet tech in 2000 in New Jersey and has been doing it ever since. She couldn't imagine a more rewarding job than caring for animals. She's a single mom to three teenagers, passionate about butterflies and monkeys, and would love to start her own business as a pet photographer.
Veterinarian Assistant/Kennel Technician for TFMM
Ileana was born in Germany. She moved back and forth from the States and Europe until the age of fourteen. Ever since then she has always been settled in the central Florida area. She has four dogs, four cats, a ferret, and a rat. Each of her pets are rescue babies. One of her dogs is her most memorable adoption: Halo. Halo is a long-haired dachshund who was on her second to last day until euthanasia at the pound. No one wanted her because she was aggressive. "I just sat on the floor with her and in about 10 minutes she just climbed on my lap and then we were best friends." Ileana is married and has two boys. She started vet teching late in life but has always loved animals. She has been at FloridaWild since December 2015. "I feel like I've found my true working family here at FloridaWild."
"Ich spreche Deutsch."
Kerry was born and raised right here in Deland, Florida and has had a passion for animals of all species from a very young age. She has an Associate’s Degree from Daytona State College and is in the process of completing her degree in Veterinary Technology to become a Certified Veterinary Technician. She is committed to providing you and your pet with the highest quality of care and loves every patient like they were her own. When Kerry isn’t working she spends most of her time with her husband, her three children and her furry children, two dogs and a potbelly pig.
Cassidy started working at FloridaWild in 2013. She fell in love with FloridaWild and all the unique work that we do. Currently she is a senior at Stetson University majoring in biology and she plans to go to vet school in the upcoming years. She spends her spare time working as a vet tech in South Africa, going on adventures with her dog Mumford, and enjoying life with friends and family.
Lizzy was born and raised in a small town in Mississippi until 2000 when her family moved to Florida. Since a young age Lizzy has loved the idea of working with animals. She graduated from the Florida Institute of Animal Arts in 2010 and has been working in the veterinary field ever since. When Lizzy is not at the clinic she is at home with her daughter, dog and three cats.
Lead Certified Veterinarian Assistant
Tasha joined the FloridaWild team in August 2012. She graduated from the Florida Institute of Animal Arts and is a certified veterinary assistant. She has worked in the veterinary field since 2008 and is currently pursuing a degree in zoology to fulfill her dream of working with giraffes. She has always had a passion for animals since she was a child and knew one day she would make a career of caring for them. Outside of work she enjoys spending time with her family, friends and her furry four-legged kids.
Lead Client Care Specialist
Chelsea was born and raised in Massachusetts. Her family moved to Florida in 2006. She has always been an avid animal lover and has enjoyed volunteering her free time at local animal shelters. Chelsea graduated from Daytona State College in 2012 and has plans to further her education in the future. She has three spoiled dogs. Chelsea enjoys spending time with friends and family, listening to live music, and trekking through nature.
Marketing Director/Client Care Specialist
Hannah was born in Georgia but did a lot of moving around when she married a military officer. Now she and her family are permanently in Florida. Hannah has always had an indescribable connection to animals. She feels they can teach us so much - we just have to be patient and willing to learn.
At home, her babies consists of all felines - she affectionately calls them "The Pride." One of her babies is actually from Indonesia! He went from dying on the streets of Indonesia as an unwanted stray to living in a 5-star home in America.
Over the past few years, Hannah has really taken an interest in photography. She loves photographing non-humans and is thrilled to be able to do that at FloridaWild and The Funky Mutt Market. Next time you're here, you might see her around taking pictures.
Cindy grew up in Colorado, where in high school she was introduced to veterinary medicine and earned her veterinary assistant certification. Cindy moved to Florida in 1980 to continue her career in veterinary medicine. Her passion has always been with furry friends and their humans, and to also educate them. She is currently seeking her Certified Veterinary Practice Manager Certification (CVPM). Cindy has 26 plus years of veterinary experience, whether it is as a manager, technician, receptionist, or trainer.
Cindy joined the FloridaWild team in May of 2015, where she can further her education in eastern and western veterinary medicine, as well as rehabilitation. She has a great passion to see our patients improve and heal. You never know what you will be doing at FloridaWild each day. It is very exciting.
In her spare time she enjoys spending as much time on or near the water, as well as golf carting. She also loves spending time with her crew at home, Ryley, Shelby, Allie, Jessie, Taz, and 5 birds.
Teresa Cardenas RDH, has been a Registered Dental Hygienist since 1985. She has an A.S. in Dental Hygiene and a B.S. in Science. She has worked in research, many specialty branches of dentistry (Pedodontist, Prosthodontist, General and Periodontics), she has also taught at NYU and Daytona Community College. She currently works at a dental office with human patients three days a week, and the rest of the week she works on her canine clients. In her spare time she volunteers her services at two of Orlando’s Greyhound rescue groups, and is active with her Miniature Pinscher Niko.
Dr. Jossie Higuerey
Dr Jossie Higuerey’s family is from Venezuela but she was born in New York City. She grew up traveling between New York City and Venezuela through high school. From an early age, she had a passion and love for animals - reading all she could about them.
Before she pursued her education in veterinary care, Dr. Jossie went to school for web and graphics design. She received her A.S. and B.S. in Veterinary Technology at Becker College. Dr. Jossie worked as a certified veterinary technician for a few years before applying to veterinary school. She was accepted to Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, where she spent two and a half years on a tropical island that felt like paradise. She finished her clinical years at the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine.
After graduating, she worked at a general practice in Orlando, Florida. Later she worked in a 24-hour clinic on the weekends where she practiced preventive care in addition to emergency care. Following her weekend veterinary care, Dr. Jossie became a relief veterinarian throughout Central Florida. It was at this time she became interested in alternative medicine and took her first course in Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine at the Chi Institute in Reddick, Florida. In her travels, she came across FloridaWild Veterinary Hospital and felt she had finally found a place she could settle in and call home. She is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree at the Chi Institute for Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine and she loves everything about it!
Dr Jossie enjoys spending time with her cat, guinea pig, bearded dragon, red footed tortoise, cockatiel, two hermit crabs and five dogs. She enjoys staying active and even doing needlecraft during the little down time she has.
"I have been far and wide to many clinics - I feel truly blessed and honored to have joined such a wonderful practice as FloridaWild. I love my patients and I feel like I can help them and their humans lead happier, healthier, longer lives!"
Dr. John Humbert grew up in a small town on the west coast of Florida. He was first introduced to Chiropractic Medicine by his high school football team physician where he saw how chiropractic care helped him compete at his highest level. He attended Palmer College of Chiropractic and then received training for Veterinary Orthopedic Manipulation in 2013. Since then Dr. John has been part of the FloridaWild family.
In his free time he enjoys all things FSU, running, cycling, football, frisbee golf, and long walks with his perfect pups: Maddie and Nola. But most of all, Dr. John enjoys helping his patients reach their health goals so they can live their best lives.
Dr. Pamela Schrager
Dr. Pamela Schrager graduated from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine with High Honors in 1995, winning the Upjohn Award for Proficiency in Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, the W.B. Saunders Small Animal Surgery Award, the Charlie Bild Clinical Proficiency Award in Small and Large Animal Medicine, and the Merck Veterinary Manual Award.
She completed a one-year internship in Small Animal Medicine, Emergency and Surgery at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Teaching Hospital, where she continued to work for almost 2 years as an Assistant Clinical Specialist in Emergency Medicine. At the University of Minnesota, she co-developed and co-taught the clinical emergency rotation for senior veterinary students and won the University Students’ Teaching Award.
She was the Chief of Emergency and Medical Services and Intern Coordinator at a large referral hospital in Washington D.C. for almost 10 years, where she continued to focus on small animal ultrasound,surgery, and critical care, while providing the foundational internship training for many small animal,wildlife, zoo, and marine mammal veterinarians with whom she continues to collaborate and consult.
She has worked and lectured on advances in emergency care, emergency protocols for working canines,field triage, and animal cruelty prosecution.As she moved on to work at primary care veterinary hospitals, her focus further emphasized nutrition and thorough patient-specific preventive care through all stages of life. She believes that attentive deliberate communication with her clients is essential provide them the best possible care,understanding, and peace of mind.
I love what I do! I continue to be humbled by the trust that my clients place in me, and work every day to deserve that trust. I am thrilled to be part of a team at Florida Wild that shares my commitment enthusiasm, and with whom I can collaborate to provide the best comprehensive care for our patients. --Dr. Pamela Schrager
Dr. Lisa Mason
Dr. Lisa Mason was born and raised in Duluth, Georgia. She completed her bachelor of science in environmental studies at Emory University in Atlanta, GA in 2004. She worked as an environmental educator and wildlife technician at the Chattahoochee Nature Center in Roswell, GA rehabilitating injured raptors and reptiles. It was during this experience that she developed a love of avian and reptile medicine.
In 2008 she was accepted to Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine in Auburn, AL. While at Auburn, Dr. Mason volunteered and worked at the Southeastern Raptor Center again rehabilitating injured raptors. She completed an externship with renowned avian veterinarian Dr. Thomas Tully and zoo and reptile veterinarian Dr. Javier Nevarez at LSU School of Veterinary Medicine. To continue her interest in avian and exotic medicine she completed her preceptorship at FloridaWild with Dr. Holder and assisted with the wildlife and shelter pet cases until her graduation in May 2012 from Auburn with her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree.
After veterinary school, Dr. Mason helped Dr. Holder at FloridaWild as a relief veterinarian then moved back to her home town and worked at Suwanee Animal Hospital for a year, before returning to the FloridaWild family.
Dr. Mason is a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist through the Canine Rehabilitation Institute and Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist from the Chi Institute. She is pleased to offer her knowledge and skills of physical therapy and acupuncture to her patients.
She is also a member of the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management, the Association of Avian Veterinarians, the Association of Rehabilitation Veterinarians, and the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Dr. Mason enjoys spending time with her 3 rescue dogs, Mingus, Clyde, and Timmy and her European Starling, Sassy. In her free time she enjoys walking her dogs, jogging, reading, biking, and spending time with her friends and family.
FloridaWild has been the most perfect fit for me as a veterinarian. I am very passionate about my patients and FloridaWild clients are wonderfully caring individuals who have their pets' best interest in mind. I love coming to work not sure of what I will be doing today: working with wildlife, spaying and neutering rescue animals, performing Canine Rehabilitation, or seeing a new puppy join an existing client's family. My job as a Veterinarian at FloridaWild Veterinary Hospital is the best job I could have. --Dr. Lisa Mason
Dr. Erin Holder
Dr. Holder earned a B.S. in Biology in 1997 from Stetson University in DeLand FL. In 2002 she graduated with honors from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine where she concentrated her studies in avian, exotic and wildlife medicine.
At the University of Florida, Dr. Holder received the prestigious Lerner Family Wildlife Conservation Award, the Bird Fanciers Scholarship and was inducted into Phi Zeta, the veterinary school honor society. She placed 1st in the United States in the National American Association for Zoo Veterinarians Manuscript Competition and presented her research at the International Zoo Convention.
Dr. Holder furthered her studies at the Houston Zoo in Texas, the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary, the Exotic Bird Hospital, Lubee Bat Foundation and White Oak Plantation in Florida. Her medical articles have been published in the Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine and Exotic DVM.
Dr. Holder is a member of the Association of Avian Veterinarians, the Association of Reptile and Amphibian Veterinarians, the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association and the Audubon Society. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine in the Zoo and Wildlife Department.
In 2004, Dr. Holder attended the Chi Institute to gain knowledge in the art of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture. She has successfully integrated this into her busy practice. In 2012, she continued her training with certification in Tui-na, Chinese massage and manipulation therapy.
There is nothing more rewarding than watching an animal walk out that was carried in, seeing my staff grow with knowledge, giving an owner a diagnosis with hope, releasing a raptor back into the wild, or holding the owner's hand while we say goodbye to their beloved pets. I truly have the greatest job in the world. I thank my clients as they are some of the best people I know. --Dr. Holder