What Is The Best Cat Litter For Your Kitty?
Your kitty uses the litter box multiple times a day, and the dust that accumulates on his fur and paws will inevitably be ingested when he grooms himself. Therefore, many pet parents are concerned about the safety of the litter that they use, and they want to choose the best, and purest, options for their kitties. Other pet owners are concerned about the costs of the cat litter they’ll purchase, or with how eco-friendly the product will be. To address these consumer concerns and demands, there are a variety of manufacturers producing different types, so you can choose the one that’s the best cat litter for your special kitty.
Clay litter, in its clumping or non-clumping form, is the most popular and well known form of kitty litter. It’s known for its ability to absorb urine very well, and for forming tight clumps when using the clumping variety.
Despite its popularity, there is quite a bit of controversy surrounding the use of clay litter. While many pet parents love it, others avoid it completely. For example, because clay is strip mined, it has a detrimental effect upon the environment. And because it isn’t biodegradable, it accumulates in landfills. For pet parents who are trying to lead a “greener” lifestyle, these are good enough reasons to make the switch to a more natural, biodegradable cat litter.
There are also some health concerns, for both people and their cats, when it comes to clay-based litters. Some individuals are worried that the dust may be harmful when inhaled. And sodium bentonite expands when it comes into contact with liquids, so there are concerns that a cat may encounter health problems after ingesting clumping clay litter, which can form a mass in the digestive tract. Many cat owners use clay litter without any problems, but for those who are uneasy about the potential adverse health effects, a different type of litter may be suitable.
Related: Create A Cat-Friendly Home
Plant-Based and Newspaper Litter
As more feline guardians become concerned about the health of their kitties and the environment, popular litter manufacturers have responded by releasing a variety of plant-based options, as well as litter made from recycled newspaper. Commonly made from pine, cedar, corn, walnuts, and wheat, plant-based options provide the same clumping action as clay litter, as well as odor elimination, but you may need to try out a few different brands before finding the product that works best for you. These litters are also biodegradable, so they aren’t as detrimental to the environment as clay litters.
Yet another modern option is silica cat litter, which is commonly referred to as crystal litter. The silica gel is highly absorbent and controls odors, making it a good alternative to clay litter. And this type of litter may also produce less dust. However, many pet parents are just as concerned about ingestion of the silica as they are about clay.
Clumping, Non-Clumping, and Pellet Litter
Many people prefer clumping litter over non-clumping varieties, but again, this all depends upon your preferences, as well as your cat’s preferences. Non-clumping litter is often recommended for kittens, but once your kitty is old enough to make the switch to clumping, you can choose from the many natural varieties or traditional clay options on the market. And there are also natural pellet litters that break down as moisture comes into contact with them, yet produce hardly any dust and can also reduce tracking.
If you do decide to change the type of litter that you are using, give your kitty some time to adjust. Rather than making a switch from one product to another abruptly, gradually add the new litter in with the old so that your cat can become accustomed to it without being stressed to the point that he may avoid using the box altogether.
Lisa Selvaggio is a freelance writer and editor, and our resident cats-pert, with certifications in pet nutrition and pet first aid. An advocate for better treatment of all animals, she enjoys producing content that educates others, helps them understand animals better, and inspires them to help, whether that means volunteering at a shelter, fostering strays, or simply giving their own pets a safe and happy home to live in.
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