Types Of Cat Litter: Pros and Cons
A cat litter enables your cat to dispose of her waste in one place, making it easy for you to clean up and remove odor from your room. So, buying a cat litter is like getting your feline kid a `private washroom.'
But cat parents have a problem. The market is flooded with cat litter made from original materials, each with unique characteristics.
And if as a parent, you want to know which cat litter is best for your little ones, then this post is just for you.
We shall provide you with information to help you choose the litter that will make your cat and yourself comfortable in the house.
But first, let's look at the cat litter characteristics to consider in selecting a cat litter for your cat or kittens.
Properties of Cat Litter
Cat litters have attributes you may like or dislike depending on the cat's age and health condition, as well as your health condition and the time you allocate for cleaning up the cats' waste. Suitable cat litter is one that you and your cat will love.
Here are some key attributes of cat litter.
Cat Litter Fragrance and Odor Control
Manufacturers may add scent agents such as perfumes or deodorizers to the litter to cover the litter box odors of feces, urine, or mold. But you may also get unscented litter which keeps the smell of the material it's made of, whether wood, clay, wheat, corn, etc.
Alternatively, the litter may be unscented but has odor-absorbing additives like carbon or baking soda, which then will make the litter smell like those odor-absorbing materials. A study by Dr. Jacqueline Neilson, DVM, showed that cats do not prefer any scent.
However, where the litter has odor-absorbing additives, the cats prefer carbon over baking soda.
Litter dust is a potent respiratory irritant for cats. More so for the cats with asthma. So if you have an asthmatic cat, it's a good idea to use a litter that is as "low-dust" as possible.
Environmentally friendly cat litter benefits the planet your furry friends, your home, and you. Manufacturers make cat litter from natural and renewable resources like wood, paper, corn, or grass. The litter is biodegradable, hence it's lighter and easy to dispose of by flushing or composting.
Clumping cat litter will cluster when wet and form a solid mass distinct from the other litter in the box. You can scoop out and dispose of the solidly clumped material without changing all the contents of the litter box.
For non-clumping litter, you dispose of all the used litter at once.
Non Tracking Cat Litter
Tracking litter types stick to your cat's paws, hence get scattered all over the floor dirtying your house. They are pretty difficult to clean.
But for non-tracking litter, every grain remains in the litter box.
Types of Cat Litter
Cat litters are made from synthetic and natural materials and have unique properties. We shall look at the pros and cons of the cat litter options available in the market this year.
Clay Cat litter
A clay litter is among the most common cat litter. It's made of large or fine clay particles. These particles absorb urine, which softens the clay into fine particles. You can have either scented or non-scented clay cat litter.
- Relatively cheap
- Readily available
- Dusty and can cause asthma to both the cat parent and the cat
- Easily tracked because it sticks to cat paws
- Heavy to carry both before and after use
- Difficult to dispose of. You can't compost or flush clay litter
- Short-lived. You'll need to replace it often because of its poor ability to absorb urine and suppress odor.
- Not biodegradable, hence unfriendly to the environment
As the name says, this is a litter from the pine tree. Pine litter is among the best for preventing foul odors. It's also quite convenient for cats since it's soft and absorbs urine quickly. Pine litter is light and has minimal dust.
The litter comes both as the clumping variety made from small ground particles or the non-clumping type as pellets.
- Low dust hence safe cats and cat parents with respiratory allergies
- Flushable because pine disintegrates easily
- Safe for cats recovering from surgery, infection-prone cats, and kittens
- Traps urine and ammonia odors
- Cats may hate the smell of pine and refuse to use the litter even after training
Silica Gel Litter
Silica gel litter is attractive and quite popular. Some cats may naturally prefer it to clay litter. Just like pine, it has an excellent ability to control odor. It keeps more urine than the clay litter. Silica litter can dehydrate feces, thus preventing mold and bacterial growth. This makes it more economical since you don't need regular scooping.
- Almost dust-free
- High ability to control odor
- High ability to absorb urine
- Requires less cleaning
- Not heavy, Light to handle
- Expensive to buy
- Spills are hard to clean because the tiny crystals spread further into the room
Wheat Cat Litter
Wheat cat litter is one of the new varieties of litter fabricated to provide odor control and make box cleaning quick and easy for cat parents. It's made from processed wheat. It forms clumps that make scooping easy. It's also outstanding since you can flush it easily.
Wheat litter is edible, hence cannot cause health issues in case cats ingest it. This feature makes it safer for kittens and cats with health issues.
- Edible hence safe for kittens and mature cats that accidentally ingest some
- Safe to flush
- Cats transition readily to wheat litter from other litter box fillers
- Less dusty compared to clay litters
- Suited for use as compost
- May cause allergies to some cats
- Difficult to clean up when tracked
Walnut Shell Cat Litter
Walnut cat litter is made from walnut shells ground into small granules, making it more durable and a good urine absorbent. The litter has low dust content.
Walnut shell litter is biodegradable and low-tracking. Since it comes in different varieties, you could choose the unscented one. It's also more affordable compared to silica gel litter. Walnut cat litter works like the clumping clay litter.
- Clumps well
- Excellent odor control
- Highly absorbent
- Completely biodegradable
- Contains some dust
Corn Cat Litter
Just like walnut shell litter, corn cat litter is biodegradable. Corn litter is made from corn kernels, making it lighter than clay litter. It has various varieties; some are scented and contain attractants for cats.
It's among the natural litter.
Just like wheat, it's edible to cats. Ingesting won't pose a risk but keep an eye for dogs. Their love for corn may lead them to eat up the corn cat litter.
However, it has disadvantages which concern pet owners. It has a low clumping ability, making it less economical.
The most serious issue about corn cat litter is that corn promotes the growth of mold aflatoxins when wet.
These aflatoxins can pose a significant risk to pets. Although most companies have declared their product free from aflatoxin, many pet parents prefer using other litter forms.
- Has less dust compared to clay litters
- Environmental friendly
- A natural cat litter
- Can attract bugs such as pantry beetles and meal moths
- Can develop aflatoxins
Paper Cat Litter
Paper cat litter is great for cats with injured paws because the litter material is soft hence prevents more injury.
Paper litter is made from old papers which are processed into granules or pellets. It has a low clumping ability and can create odors.
Its absorption ability is also low compared to other litters. So, you can use paper cat litter for only a short time.
The good thing is that they don't emit dust or irritate wounds. They also don't contain scents that may irritate the cat.
- Environmental friendly
- Suitable for kittens
- Some cats don't like its texture
- Poor odor control
- Has low tracking
Grass Seed Cat Litter
It's made from dried grass seeds. Among litters, grass seed cat litter is rare to find. Grass seed litter is natural and therefore more preferred to other forms of litter. It's biodegradable and easily clumps, thus easy to scoop.
It has advantages over other types of litter because it's chemical and dye-free. In addition, grass seed cat litter contains less dust and is naturally softer than clay litter.
- Excellent clumping
- less dusty
- Good odor control
- Easy to scoop.
- Natural, organic, and unscented
- Soft texture
- Environmental friendly
- High tracking
- May cause allergy
As a good cat parent, you need to ensure your cat kiddies are comfortable and well cared for. A suitable cat litter will ensure your cats respond to the call of nature in a clean and safe environment. You and your pet will live in comfortable and clean surroundings.
Various types of cat litters exist in the market today, each with its unique characteristics. From the ones discussed above, you could choose the litter type that best suits your needs and interests. Consider the health condition of your cat as you shop for her litter. Also, your preference may depend on quality and price. But whichever the case, always ensure your cat gets the best. She deserves it.
Have you had any trouble selecting a cat litter? Let us know in the comments section below.