Litter Litter Everywhere

Photo credit: Jo Singer

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.







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