Kitty Litter 101

Small scottish kitten next to red plastic litter catThere are many types and brands of cat litter out there, and most cats tend to have their own preferences. You can think of kitty litter like toilet paper; people have their own preferences, and different types have different benefits. Price, effectiveness, and your cat’s personal preference all play key roles in your kitty litter choice. We’ve got the down-low on the four most common types of litter right here.

1. Clay-Based Clumping Litter

Pros: Clay-based clumping litter forms clumps which make scooping easy. Once your cat goes potty, the litter will form clumps around liquid and solid waste, making it easy for you to identify where the mess is and easily scoop it out. This is usually the most common form of cat litter out there, found in almost every popular brand.

It provides for easy cleanup, especially if you have a self-cleaning litter box. Clay-based clumping litter also tends to offer maximum odor control, which is especially nice if your litter box is located somewhere that people frequent. Clay-based clumping litter is the most cost-effective type of litter, averaging at $10 for a 5lb bag. You will only need to entirely replace the litter once a month.

Cons: Clay-based clumping litter can get quite messy and produces a high amount of dust. You’ll notice the dust each time you scoop and replace the litter. This could be an allergen for you as an owner, and potentially an allergen for your cat. Also, clay-based litter is not eco-friendly, as it is not biodegradable, flushable, and usually contains toxins such as silica and sodium bentonite.

2. Clay-Based Non-Clumping Litter

Cat using a closed litter box isolated on white backgroundPros: Clay-based non-clumping litter can provide a solution for those who have issues with the dust that normally comes along with clay-based litter. This type offers dust-free varieties, and is very affordable, also averaging at $10 for a 5lb bag. It provides medium odor control, so is best for cat owners who intend on doing daily scooping.

Cons: Clay-based non-clumping litter lives up to it’s title for the fact that it doesn’t clump, making scooping a bit more taxing. You will need to scoop more regularly, since it doesn’t provide as strong odor control compared to other types of litter. This type is also not eco-friendly since it isn’t biodegradable, is not flushable, and contains the same harmful toxins as clumping clay litter. You will need to fully replace the litter and clean out the litter box once a week with clay-based non-clumping litter.

3. Crystal Litter

Pros: Crystal litter provides a different sort of benefit, in that it is non-toxic for you and your cat. Crystal litter is made from sand, and provides medium odor control by absorbing liquid waste. It is quite affordable as far as litter goes, averaging at $15 for 8lbs. You can find brands that provide great odor-control, but most of the cheaper crystal litter won’t provide adequate odor control.

Cons: Crystal litter absorbs liquid waste, but doesn’t form easily-scoopable clumps. It isn’t biodegradable nor flushable, and doesn’t necessarily provide the best odor control. You’ll need to clean out the

4. Natural/Biodegradable Litter:

Pros: Natural/biodegradable litter offers eco-friendly benefits that other kitty litters don’t. This type of litter is typically made from pine, paper, wheat, or corn, and comes in clumping and non-clumping varieties. One awesome perk of natural/biodegradable litter is that many brands offer a flushable style, taking out a whole step from the typical litter process. If you or your cat have suffered allergies to the dust in traditional litter, this type may be the perfect solution for you. It is dust-free, provides medium to complete odor control, is flushable and non-toxic, provides easy cleanup, and is the most eco-friendly option of all litter. This type of litter averages at $15/20 lbs.

Cons: The only con of natural/biodegradable litter is that it is usually only sold in pet stores, so you won’t be able to grab a bag last-minute at your local convenience store. Some owners may find frustration with the non-clumping kinds, but overall, natural/biodegradable litter performs just as well if not better than synthetic litter.

So now that you’ve got an in-depth look at the pro’s and con’s of all types of litter, you can go out and figure out what type is the best for you and your feline friend. Remember that if kitty isn’t happy with the type you’ve selected, you can always try another kind. Many brands and stores offer full refunds for unsatisfactory products, so feel free to experiment until you find the right one.