The scoop on choosing the best cat litter – not as easy you might think

We all know the purpose of cat litter.  But unfortunately, preparing your cat’s potty is not that simple.  Today, cat litter comes in multiple forms and materials from natural clay to crushed corn cobs to polyurethane beads.  So what might sound like an easy decision is no longer as easy as a squat in the box.

So when you ask us, what is the “best” litter for my cat? The answer you will most likely get is, “Well it depends.”

The best way to answer this question is to take a look at what makes cat litters different and the variables that should be considered in making a litter choice.  After all, this is one decision for which you do NOT want to think outside of the box!

Plastic scoop for cleaning cat litter and a pile of filler on aSIZE OF CLAY GRANULES

The most popular litter is by far is traditional clay litter.  It’s also typically the most economical.

In choosing a clay litter, those with LARGER GRANULES produce LESS DUST, LOCK IN ODOR BETTER and do NOT TRACK AS MUCH as litters that have smaller or finer granules.  So it’s NOT about the quality or price of the clay, but about the SIZE OF THE GRANULES.

For CLUMPING litters, larger granules tend to CLUMP BETTER for easier removal and therefore the litter will LAST LONGER.

Some of the newer corn cob and crushed wheat cat litters also tend to have less dust than many clay litters, but again, it depends on the size of the granules.

FLUSH-ABILITY

If convenience is important — consider the just-mentioned corn cob and crushed wheat litters as many of them can be flushed down the toilet.  Read the package first before you flush.  Also, if you have a septic tank instead of using the sewer, they could pose a problem.  So consult with your septic tank expert first.

ALLERGENS

Most litters are made from some form of natural products.  Clay is from the ground; the aforementioned wheat and corn are from plants.  But even these natural sources can be a problem if you have an allergy-prone cat and the products contain ADDITIVES.  Some litters use a variety of additives to mask odors.  If your cat has known or suspected allergies, check the litter bag for the addition of dyes, and deodorants that might irritate your kitty.

WOUND REPELLENCY

If your cat has had any type of surgery – or is nursing a wound – choose a litter that does not stick to the sutured or wounded area.  There are two:

  • Pellets made from recycled newspaper (like Yesterdays News)
  • Litter made of polyurethane beads / silica

Neither of these will stick to wounded or moist areas on your cat’s body so they are excellent choices following surgery or wound treatment.  The downside is that these products do not offer the same “digging” sensation for cats as do the other litters.  So you may find it challenging to get kitty to use them.

AS ALWAYS, CONSULT WITH YOUR VETERINARIAN ABOUT YOUR PET’S OVERALL HEALTH AND WELLBEING.

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