Choosing Cat Litter
One of the first essential purchases when welcoming a cat or kitten into your home is their litter box. However, choosing the right type of litter may not be so straightforward, as there are several options available. Our tips will help you make an informed decision.
Varieties of Cat Litter
There is a plethora of cat litter available, with differences in cost, eco-friendliness, cat comfort, odor control, ease of cleaning, and maintenance requirements. It's essential to choose one that suits your cat's needs and preferences.
Cats litter comes in various varieties to cater to different cat owners' preferences and the needs of their feline companions. Here are some common varieties of cats litter:
Clay-Based Cat Litter
Clumping Clay Litter: This is one of the most popular types. It forms clumps when it comes into contact with moisture, making it easier to scoop out waste.
Non-Clumping Clay Litter: This type of litter absorbs moisture but doesn't form clumps. It needs more frequent changes.
Silica Gel Cat Litter
Silica gel crystals are highly absorbent and can control odor effectively. They usually don't need frequent changing but should be stirred regularly.
Biodegradable Cat Litters
- Wood-Based Litter: Made from materials like pine, cedar, or other types of wood. It's biodegradable and has a natural scent.
- Corn-Based Litter: Made from corn kernels, it's biodegradable and often clumping.
- Wheat-Based Litter: Made from wheat, this litter is clumping and biodegradable.
- Recycled Paper Litter: Often made from recycled newspaper, it's biodegradable and can be a good choice for cats with sensitivities.
Crystals and Crystal-Based Cats Litter
These are often made from sodium silicate. They have excellent moisture-absorbing properties and help control odor.
Natural and Flushable Cat Litter
Some litters are made from materials like clay or wood but are marketed as flushable. They should be used with caution as flushing any cat litter can pose environmental risks and plumbing problems.
Scented Cats Litter
Some litters have added scents to help control odors. However, some cats may be sensitive to these fragrances, so it's important to monitor your cat's response.
Hypoallergenic Cat Litter
These litters are designed for cats with allergies or sensitivities. They are often made from materials that are less likely to cause adverse reactions.
Clay-Free Cats Litter
Some cat owners prefer to use litters that do not contain clay, silica, or other minerals due to environmental or health concerns. These litters are often biodegradable and made from natural materials.
Pellet Cat Litter
These litters consist of small pellets made from materials like recycled paper or wood. They are less likely to create dust but may require more frequent changing.
Bentonite Clay Cats Litter
This type of cats litter is made from sodium bentonite clay and is known for its clumping ability and moisture absorption.
The choice of cat litter often depends on factors such as your cat's preferences, any allergies or sensitivities your cat may have, your environmental concerns, and how often you are willing to clean and change the litter. It's a good idea to try different types to see which one works best for both you and your cat.
Clumping Cat Litter
Clumping litters are often made of clay and are known for their excellent urine absorption. How do they work?
When the cat urinates, the litter forms solid clumps. This makes it easier for you to spot and remove soiled areas, resulting in efficient cleaning. Clumping litter is available in various materials, including mineral, silica, and plant-based options.
While clumping litter may be a bit more expensive initially (around 15-40 $), it quickly pays off as it enables clean and swift cleaning, minimizing the loss of still-usable litter. As a result, it lasts longer (about 3-4 weeks) compared to non-clumping litters because you don't have to throw away the entire box each time. It also helps control odors.
Plant-Based Cat Litters
Plant-based cats litter is made entirely from natural plant-based materials. It produces less dust than other types of litter and has a notable ecological advantage. While silica and mineral litter have an environmental impact because they don't degrade in landfills and can't be recycled or treated, plant-based litter doesn't share these drawbacks.
In addition, the starch within its fibers creates less pronounced odors. However, some cats may not appreciate this type of litter, often due to the texture it creates on their paws.
Plant-based litter is less absorbent than other options and needs more frequent changing. Nevertheless, it's biodegradable and can even be flushed down the toilet, providing a natural fertilizer for your garden.
Mineral Cat Litter
Mineral cats litter is the most common and cost-effective option. These litters are made of clay and silica, which absorb your cat's waste. While white and green clay mineral litters are relatively cheap, they don't offer the same safety standards for your cat's health.
They release dust due to the accumulation of particles and can be dangerous for cats with respiratory problems. Frequent cleaning (at least twice a week) is necessary. Mineral litter doesn't effectively control odors and is not clumping.
Silica Cat Litters
Silica cat litter, also known as crystal or pearl litter, is made from a natural and microporous mineral called zeolite. It has excellent liquid drainage capabilities, and bad odors are mostly absent if you follow the recommended usage conditions for this litter, although it can be more demanding in this regard.
You need to scoop out your cat's waste daily, and the silica needs to be changed when all the crystals have turned yellow. The initial cost is attractive, but it doesn't last long, typically needing replacement every two weeks. It is advisable to use an open litter box for proper ventilation.
Cat litters come at various price points, ranging from 10 to over 40 $. However, a lower initial price doesn't necessarily mean a lower overall cost of maintenance. Often, the opposite is true.
Clumping and plant-based litters, despite their higher initial cost, offer long-term benefits. They require less maintenance, produce almost no odors, and, in the case of plant-based litter, can benefit your garden.
price of Cat Litter
The price of cat litters can vary widely depending on the type of litter, brand, quantity, and where you purchase it. Here's a general price range for various types of cat litter:
Clumping Clay Litter
- - Budget: Basic clumping clay litters can start at around $10 for a 20-pound bag.
- - Mid-Range: Mid-range options with improved odor control and clumping ability can cost between $15 to $25 for a similar-sized bag.
- - Premium: High-end clumping clay litters with advanced features may cost $30 or more for a 20-pound bag.
Silica Gel Cat Litter
Silica gel litter tends to be more expensive. Prices can range from $15 to $30 for a 4-8-pound bag.
Biodegradable Cat Litters
- - Wood-Based, Corn-Based, and Wheat-Based: Prices can vary, but you can find options in the range of $15 to $25 for a 20-pound bag.
- - Recycled Paper Litter: Recycled paper litter often falls within a similar price range, around $15 to $25 for a 20-pound bag.
Crystals and Crystal-Based Cat Litter
Crystal litters can be on the higher end of the price spectrum, typically ranging from $15 to $25 for a 4-8-pound bag.
Natural and Flushable Cats Litter
Prices vary, but you can find natural, flushable litters in the range of $15 to $25 for a 20-pound bag.
Scented Cat Litter
Scented litters often cost about the same as their unscented counterparts, but you might pay a slight premium for added fragrance.
Hypoallergenic Cats Litter
Hypoallergenic litters may be in the same price range as premium clumping clay litters, starting at $30 or more for a 20-pound bag.
Clay-Free Cat Litter
Clay-free litters can vary in price, but you can find options in the range of $15 to $25 for a 20-pound bag.
Pellet litters tend to be similar in price to other biodegradable options, around $15 to $25 for a 20-pound bag.
Keep in mind that these are approximate price ranges, and actual prices may vary depending on your location and the specific brand or retailer you choose. Buying cat litter in larger quantities can often be more cost-effective in the long run.
Additionally, some brands may offer sales or discounts, so it's a good idea to compare prices and take advantage of deals when available.
photo credit: amazon/ aliexpress/ shein