When owning a cat, one of the most important decisions that you will ever make regarding her long-term health and happiness, will be choosing the right cat litter.
There are many factors to consider when deciding on a cat litter, such as whether or not your cat will like it, whether the litter will be tracked all over your house, and whether it is easy to maintain. A smelly, dirty litterbox is neither pleasant for your cat nor for you.
These days there are so many different varieties of cat litter that choosing the right one can seem quite daunting.
The more traditional cat litter varieties are:
This litter is usually the most inexpensive on the market and is good for cats and kittens. With clay litter you will need to empty the litter box and clean it thoroughly before refilling it again. This litter will clump around solid waste, but liquid waste will sink to the bottom of the box quickly and will make the litter box reek. Another downside of clay litter is that some cats will avoid the litter box as soon as the litter becomes too damp for the liking, so the box will need to be cleaned frequently.
Ground up clay is used to make clumping litter, with special additives mixed in to help the clay to stick together when it becomes wet. Unlike clay litter, clumping litter does not have to be completely emptied as often as clay litter does. Rather, the litter will clump around both solid and liquid waste, which is then easy to scoop up and discard. When you notice that the clumping litter is starting to disintegrate quickly whilst you are scooping, it is a surefire sign that the entire contents of the litter box needs to be thrown out and refilled.
Clumping litter should not used for kittens or around people with asthma as it can be very dusty.
Crystal cat litter is made from silica gel that is hardened into tiny pearls. These pearls then soak up liquid waste and trap it inside the gel. Solid waste can then be scooped up and discarded. Crystal cat litter neutralizes foul odors, and once the crystals take on a yellow hue you will know that it is time to replace the litter. Crystal cat litter should not be used for kittens and can be quite expensive, especially in a multi-cat household.
In today's environmentally conscious world, many cat owners are turning to more environmentally-friendly cat litters as a way to do their part, and their cats, to save the planet.
Non-traditional cat litters:
Corn absorbs the ammonia in a cat's urine and binds it up, trapping any odor. The corn litter will clump around hard waste and in some parts of the USA, can be flushed down the toilet. Corn is a food source and so it is safe to use around kittens, just in case they swallow it.
This type of natural litter is made from naturally processed non-food-grade wheat. It contains enzymes that work to eliminate odors. The wheat litter clumps around both liquid and solid waste. Being a food source, it is also good to use with kittens.
This litter is made using granulated potato starch and soybean meal. It also clumps and will control any litter box odor.
Dried, scrapped pine lumber is used to make pine litter, which naturally neutralizes litter box odor. Some varieties of pine litter will clump, whilst others won't.
A few other natural cat litter varieties are made from bark or wood that is sourced from recycled materials from lumber yards. This litter will also absorb moisture and eliminate strong odor from the litter box.
Before settling on a litter, you may need to experiment with a few different varieties first.
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