Cat Litter 101: Your Complete Guide to the Best Cat Litter
Cats are quite possible the most lovable pets in the world. Not only are they clever, adorable but also extremely very loyal. They’re also very sweet and playful and a major reason most pet owners find cats easier to take care is because they are rarely rowdy like some breeds of dog. However just because most people say that cats are easier pets to care for doesn’t mean they can’t be a handful.
In a Hurry? Compare The Top 3 Best Cat Litter Products
Cats can make just as much mess as dogs and other pets. They also require a lot of care, toys and equipment if you are to care for them properly. If you are thinking of getting a cat anytime in the near future, it might help to study thoroughly what it is you need to do in order to take care of a cat properly.
You need to know exactly what you are getting into and what kind preparation you need to make beforehand. It would be great if you could research what type of cat you want to get, where you are going to get it, and what products, such as cat nail clippers you need to have at home that will help take good care of your new pet from day one.
One of the most common things that new cat owners worry about is cleaning up after their pet. Unlike dogs for example, cats do not need to be walked in order for them to do their business outside. To help you with this predicament, a cat litter is the best solution.
This guide contains all sorts of important information about cat litter and what you should know before making a purchase. It contains details on the different kinds of cat litter available, how to use them and how to train your cat to get in them. This guide also contains in depth reviews for the top 10 best cat litters on the market and what benefits they offer, making it easier for you to find the right cat litter product for your pet.
We’ve also broken the guide down using the contents table below making it easier for you to navigate to the sections you need.
- What is cat litter?
- Is It biodegradeable?
- Clumping vs non clumping
- Can cat litter be toxic to humans?
- Is it safe to flush?
- Cat litter reviews
- Training your cat to use a cat litter box
- Cleaning a litter box
Anything you could wish to know about cat litter is here so let’s get started.
What is Cat Litter?
Cat litter, litter box or litter tray as it is sometimes called, is a box that can be used to collect a cat’s urine and feces. It is used by cat owners who do not want their cat to roam outside the house for fear that they will get into an accident or become victims of outside dangers. It is also often used when raising a kitten who is still too young to venture outside.
Cat litter gives cats a place where they can do their business while inside the house, and is also extremely effective keeping your home clean when raising kittens that are not allowed out the house at all.
Cat litter is made mostly of granular or sand-like material that absorbs odor and moisture. They are soft and easy for cats to ‘dig’ into so they can cover their feces effectively using their soft paws. Cat litter also often contains materials that can absorb odor such as ammonia or baking soda.
The most common material used in creating cat litter is clay. Cat litter can also be made with recycled pellets made out of paper and other silica based materials. Silica often comes in a gel like form that can absorb moisture. You’ll notice those tiny, white packets inside new bags or shoes that you buy. They all say the same ‘Desiccant – Do Not Eat’. These are made to absorb moisture and lead it away from your new purchase. The same ingredients are used in creating some types of cat litter boxes.
Cat owners should use cat litters to keep their pets from going outside to do their business. It also reduces the mess that they have to clean up if the cat already knows where to poop and pee. Having a cat litter ultimately eliminates the need to clean up after your cat, saving you time and effort but also keeping your home clean and free of unpleasant surprises.
Is Cat Litter Biodegradable?
A cat litter made from recycled pellets and paper is proof that it is biodegradable. Other biodegradable cat litters that are made using all natural products such as wheat, corn and soybean are also available at most pet stores. You can place these types of cat litter on your compost bin after you are done using it. These types of cat litter are great alternatives to conventional cat litters made with silica and other materials.
Some cats aren’t very good with discerning whether a new object is food or not. As such, they sometimes mistake a cat litter box as food. Pet owners who fear that their cat will ingest the contents of the litter box can use biodegradable materials as these are most likely to be least toxic when consumed.
What is the Difference Between Clumping and Non Clumping Cat Litter?
Non clumping cat litter is one of the most common types of cat litter ever made. It has been around since cat litter was first released in the market and is still available in pet stores today.
Non clumping cat litters use clay to absorb urine and feces. These are fairly inexpensive and are easy to find in most stores or online. Cats also seem to prefer this type of cat litter. Perhaps it is because it closely resembles natural soil. Non clumping cat litter sometimes contains baking soda or charcoal to control any unpleasant odors.
Once a non clumping cat litter becomes soiled, you will find that most of your cat’s pee and feces can be found at the bottom of the cat litter. As such, these types of litters sometimes require you to clean them once or twice a week. Because they do not clump up, it can also be hard to remove the feces. You sometimes need to replace the entire thing in order to keep it clean.
When a cat uses a clumping cat litter to poop, the clay in the litter box wraps around it to create a clump. It also does the same when cats pee. This makes it easy to remove and keep the cat litter clean. No need to remove the entire contents of the cat litter just to clean it up. Simply take out the clumps and leave the rest of the litter behind. Clumping cat litters are more expensive than non clumping ones.
Is Cat Litter Toxic To Humans?
There are very few studies carried out that prove cat litter is toxic to humans. Although there have been reports related to pets having died after using cat litters that contained the ingredient bentonite, there are possible other factors that could affected this kind of occurrence and not just that ingredient.
What could possibly be harmful to humans is the amount of ammonia in a cat litter. Cats who do not drink much water can have pee that is more concentrated. These have more ammonia content than usual. If your cat litter box is not often cleaned and replaced, you could be inhaling ammonia more than what is recommended. As such it is important to clean cat litter often.
Although not toxic, pregnant women, children and people with respiratory problems are also advised not to be around places where there are cat litters. Their immune systems might be vulnerable to the dust particles that cat litters sometimes emit. As such, it is also important to place cat litter in places that are well ventilated and rooms that are not often used.
Is It Safe to Flush Cat Litter?
It is highly advisable not to flush cat litter, especially the clumping ones, down the drain or the toilet. These types of cat litter are made to cling together and make clumps. A large clump of cat litter can block your toilet, pipes and plumbing. It might not seem like a problem on the first or second flushing, but the more you do it, the more clumps it will create and block your plumbing.
To dispose of cat litter properly, use a litter scooper to take out the cat litter or the clumped up portions of the cat litter. Place in a bag and throw in the trash outside. If you are worried you are making the environment worse with your bags of cat litter you might want to try to use biodegradable cat litter and place the used up litter in a compost pile.
Top 10 Best Cat Litter Reviews
In this section you will find 10 of the best cat litter products you can find online. A short review and detail about all these products found here can help guide you on which cat litter products to buy.
This 20-30 pound bag from World’s Best is made of whole kernel corn. The huge bag of cat litter is made of all natural ingredients and is biodegradable. It is naturally absorbent and 99% dust free.
It offers quick clumping for easy scooping of your cat’s urine and feces for easy clean up. The smell of this cat litter is similar to natural wood fibers and we found cats love this all natural product. You also help the environment when you use this all natural product. One tip we have is to store in a cool and dry place and make sure to seal product properly to avoid spills and mess.
This 40 pound cat litter is a steal for less than $15. We found that much cat litter to last a very long time making the product excellent value for money. Most cat litters with similar ingredients and features are often more expensive and the Precious Cat Ultra Premium Clumping Cat Litter is also made of all natural clumping clay cat litter.
Unlike other types of cat litter, this product prevents moisture from sitting on the bottom of the litter box for easy clean up. It is also 99% dust free and is hypoallergenic. It does not contain deodorants or perfume and this product comes with medium sized grains. It is also perfect for mechanical litter boxes, something we found particularly helpful when reviewing with our own cat litter boxes.
Another cat litter around the $15 price mark is the Feline Pine Original Litter. This 40 pound cat litter is chemical free and is safe for your cat. It is made of 100% all natural ingredients and is also biodegradable. It is designed to absorb liquid and effectively makes clumps out of your cat’s excrement for easy clean up.
The 100% natural pine removes the unpleasant odors and helps keep your space smelling clean and fresh. It also does not contain dust and additives that can harm your pet. We also found it doesn’t track on your floor and leave a mess after your cat uses it like some other cat litter products.
For pet owners who have a hard time making their cat use their litter box, this cat litter is for you. The Dr. Elsey’s Cat Attract Cat litter contains herbal essences that can help attract cats to the cat litter. It is made of all natural materials and helps in training cats to use the litter box. It is made of hard clumping material which makes it easy to use and clean.
This cat litter is highly absorbent and is 99.5% dust free. It offers superior odor control without using harsh chemicals and preservative agents. This comes in two sizes, 20 and 40 pounds.
This cat litter is 25% lighter than most other cat litters. Though lighter in weight, the Cat’s Pride Fresh and Light Multi-Cat Premium Scoopable Litter is just as absorbent as other heavier cat litters. This lightweight cat litter is scented to control and keep odor at bay. It is made of natural clay that clumps immediately upon contact with cat urine and feces.
This makes cleaning up and scooping the cat litter easy. It is made with dust free materials so that you won’t experience those annoying dust clouds. It comes in three sizes: 15, 21 and 28 pounds. Its price ranges from $10 to $24 depending on the size.
6. Purina Tidy Cats LightWeight 24/7 Performance Clumping Cat Litter
Purina is a well-known brand that offers pet products for both dogs and cats. They have great cat litter products such as this one. As its name implies this cat litter is 50% lighter than other cat litters of the same kind. It has round the clock odor control to keep your space smelling clean.
This clumping cat litter is designed for multiple cats. The product clumps up tightly making scooping and cleanup of cat litter a breeze. It comes in a handy plastic container with lid so it won’t spill easily should anyone happen to bump into it.
7. Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Naturals Litter
The same guys who brought you the ever famous orange baking soda box also provides great cat litter for your pets. The Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Naturals Litter is lightweight and especially made for homes where multiple cats reside. It is made of all natural material and baking soda of course. The baking soda keeps the litter from becoming smelly and stinky.
The wood based granules are made from natural wood fibers and other plant based materials making this product biodegradable. It is a clumping cat litter that effectively seals in urine and feces for easy cleaning. Clumps won’t crumble as you are removing them from the cat litter box.
8. Fresh Step Cat Litter Extreme Odor Control
This product is unscented but it is still able to control odor that comes when cat litter is used. It features the CARBON Plus technology which effectively neutralizes odor from your cat’s urine and feces. It blocks strong ammonia odors and is free of perfumes and dyes that can harm your cat.
The clay used in the Fresh Step Cat Litter Extreme Odor Control clumps up tightly to make cleaning up the litter box easy. It comes with a 10-day continuous odor control promise that works round the clock. Fresh Step is the maker of some of the best odor controlling cat litters.
9. World’s Best Cat Litter, Clumping Litter Formula
Control odor that comes from your litter box with the Clumping Litter Formula from World’s Best Cat Litter. This cat litter promises quick clumping that’s 99% dust free and easy to clean. It also has very powerful odor control ingredients that can help eliminate odors and unpleasant smell that comes from cat urine and feces.
It is made of lighter material that clumps up tightly around liquids to make it easy to clean and remove from the rest of the litter in the box. It does not crumble easily as you remove the clumped up portions. It comes in three sizes; 7, 14 and 28 pound bags.
10. Cat’s Pride Unscented Hypoallergenic Cat Scoop Litter
Cat’s Pride made this cat litter to help pet owners control odor and keep their space clean. It comes with a 10 day continuous and immediate odor control formula that helps make your space smell fresh. It is made of high quality clumping material that is easy to scoop and remove.
It is hypoallergenic, 99% dust free, and is great for people who are sensitive to smells and allergens. It is made 50% lighter than other cat litter brands and comes in a handy 12 pound jug. The jug comes with a lid so your cat litter won’t make a mess in case the container topples over.
These ten cat litter products will help ensure that your space remains clean and free of cat excrement. Choose the one that best suits your needs and budget.
Training Your Cat to Use the Cat Litter Box
Once you have chosen your cat litter, your next task is to ‘potty train’ your pet. Just like toddlers, cats have to be trained to do their business in the cat litter. Here are some great tips to help you get started.
- Start your toilet training sessions when you have no immediate travel plans – the idea behind training your cat is that you have to constantly remind him to use the cat litter to do his thing. If you suddenly leave on a business trip, this training gets interrupted and your cat will just forget the things you thought them during the time you are home.
- Close off other parts of the house – close off doors to guest rooms, basement (unless your cat litter is there), extra rooms and other rooms that your can could wander into. This limits his space while you are training him to use the cat litter. He will be able to find the cat litter easily when other parts of the house are not available for him to access. It also makes it easier for you to find your cat.
- Place your cat on a feeding schedule – help your cat get more regulated bowels by feeding him at the same time and the same amount of food every day. When his food intake has been regulated his bowel movements will follow.
- If your cat is wary of the cat litter do not force him to use it – introduce the new cat litter slowly. Let your cat be the one to approach the litter if he seems wary and suspicious of the new contraption. Take small steps in training your cat if he seems nervous or show signs of aversion towards the litter box.
- Kittens need a smaller cat litter box – kittens need smaller boxes because their limbs may sometimes not be able to climb through higher places just yet. Find a box that your cat can grow old with. Some cat litter boxes have top open flaps and others have flaps on the sides. Choose the one your cat can easily climb in.
- Have more than one litter box available – your cat may not yet be able to remember to do his thing on the litter box if he finds that he has to travel far. Make it easy for him to find a place to relieve himself by putting more than one litter box at home. Make sure they are identical.
- Talk to your cat and reward them for doing their business on the litter box – be present when your cat starts to use the litter box and provide him with rewards for good behavior.
How Do You Clean a Litter Box?
Once your cat learns how to use the litter box, it follows that you have to clean it to ensure that it does not stink up your space. A clumping cat litter as earlier mentioned creates clumps around liquids and feces. These can be cleaned up using the scooper. Once you have scooped out all the clumps, you can place them in a plastic container and put in the garbage.
If your cat litter isn’t the clumping type, you must clean the entire cat litter box by removing all its contents at least once a week and cleaning the box. Clean it with warm water and soap to eliminate all bacteria. A strong water pressure from a hose could also help dislodge particles that have clung to the sides of the cat litter box.
How Often Do You Change a Litter Box?
How often you change a litter box depends on the type of cat litter that you use. Some cat litters have clumping formula that lets you just remove the clumps and let the cat litter stay on for some time. Some formulas do not do this so you will need to clean the litter box more often. A good rule of thumb is to change litter boxes at least once a week. This can still vary depending on the formula used in the cat litter.
Having a space where your cats can do their poop and pee easy can make all the difference in a clean home. We hope you can use all the tips and tricks you learned from this guide the next time you have a new cat at home.