Cat Litter 101: Your Complete Guide to the Best Cat Litter
- What is cat litter?
- Is It biodegradable?
- 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
Cats are possibly the most lovable pets in the world.
Not only are they clever and adorable but also exceptionally very loyal.
They’re also very sweet and playful, and a major reason most pet owners find cats easier to take care of is because they are rarely rowdy like some breeds of dog.
However just because most people say that cats are more relaxed pets to care for doesn’t mean they can’t be a handful.
(Recommended Cat Litter) World’s Best Cat Litter, Quick-Clumping Formula
Top 3 Best Cat Litters Comparison
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 soon, it might help to research what it is you need to do to take care of a cat properly.
You need to know what you are getting into and what kind preparation you need to make beforehand.
We suggest you know 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 so you can 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 a walk to do their business outside. However, this doesn’t always mean your new cat will take the outdoors straight away and to help you with this predicament; cat litter is the best solution.
This guide contains all sorts of relevant information relating to 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.
What is Cat Litter?
Cat litter, usually found in a litter box is 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 useful for keeping your home clean.
Cat litter is made mostly of granular or sand-like material that absorbs odor and moisture.
Litter is soft and smooth for cats to ‘dig’ into so they can cover their feces efficiently using their soft paws.
High-quality 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 is often also 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 litter to keep their pets from going outside to do their business, whether they’re housebound for one reason or another too young to play outdoors yet.
Litter also reduces the mess that you have to clean up if the cat already knows where to poop and pee.
Having a cat litter box in your home 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 can be biodegradable.
Other biodegradable cat litters are made using all natural products such as wheat, corn and soybean are also available.
You can place these types of cat litter in your compost bin after your cat is done using it.
These types of litter products are great alternatives to conventional cat litters made with silica and other materials.
Another reason these natural-based litters are recommended is because some cats aren’t very good with discerning whether a new object is food or not.
As such, they can sometimes mistake cat litter as edible.
Pet owners who fear that their cat will ingest the contents of their litter box can use biodegradable materials as these are likely to be least toxic when consumed.
What is the Difference Between Clumping and Non-Clumping Cat Litter?
There are two main types of cat litter, clumping and non-clumping. Non-clumping has been around since cat litter was first released on the market and is still available in pet stores today, while clumping is the more modern and slighlty more effective alternative.
Non-clumping cat litters use clay to absorb urine and feces.
This type of litter are relatively inexpensive and are easy to find in most stores or online.
Once a non-clumping cat litter becomes soiled, you will find that most of your cat’s pee and feces will be found at the bottom of the litter box.
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 meaning you sometimes need to replace the entire litter box 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 (as the name suggests).
It also does the same when cats pee.
This makes the waste easy to remove and keeps the rest of the cat litter clean.
This means there is 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 slightly more expensive than non-clumping ones, but being easier to clean is one of their significant benefits.
Today the most popular variety of cat litter is definitely the clumping variety purely because it is so easy to clean.
This type of product is one we focused heavily on with our product reviews below as we are more happy recommending it as the best type of cat litter.
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 other factors that could have affected this kind of occurrence and not just that ingredient related to cat litter.
What could 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 is recommended. As such it is essential to clean cat litter regularly.
Although not toxic, pregnant women, children and people with respiratory problems are also advised not to be around areas where cat litter is also placed.
This is because their immune systems might be vulnerable to the dust particles that cat litters sometimes emit.
As such, it is also vital to place cat litter in places that are well ventilated and rooms that are not often used, this also offers your pet a bit of well needed privacy.
Is It Safe to Flush Cat Litter?
It is highly advisable not to flush cat litter, especially the clumping variety, down the drain or the toilet.
These type of cat litter is 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 correctly, 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 litter in a compost pile.
Top 10 Best Cat Litter Reviews
In this section, you will find reviews 10 of the best cat litter products available online.
1. (Recommended) World’s Best Cat Litter, Quick-Clumping Formula
This huge bag of cat litter is made of all natural ingredients making it an excellent biodegradable option. Not only that but it is also naturally absorbent and 99% dust free.
The 20-30 pound bag from World’s Best is made of whole kernel corn.
It offers quick clumping for easy scooping of your cat’s urine and feces which we found incredibly easy to clean up.
The smell of this cat litter is similar to natural wood fibers and was just one of the aspects of this all natural litter that we found cats seemed to love.
It’s also a bonus knowing you’re helping the environment when you use this natural and biodegradable product.
World’s Best produce some of the very best cat litter products around, and we found this to be the most effective of all the litters they manufacture.
One tip we have with this litter is to store it 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 the price found online.
Not only that but we found this much cat litter to be incredibly long lasting making the product excellent value for money as well.
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.
Unlike other types of cat litter, this product prevents moisture from sitting on the bottom of the litter box for easy cleanup.
It is also 99% dust free and is hypoallergenic.
It does not contain deodorants or perfume, and we found being unscented slightly held the litter back from being the best we trialed.
This product comes with medium sized grains is perfect for mechanical litter boxes, something we found particularly helpful when reviewing ourselves.
Another cat litter available for an extremely reasonable price 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, making it biodegradable which as you’ve probably picked up on is a feature of cate litter that we love.
It is designed to absorb liquid and effectively makes clumps out of your cat’s excrement for easy cleanup and when we reviewed the litter that is precisely what it done.
The 100% natural pine removes the unpleasant odors and will help keep your home 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 litter box.
It is made of all natural materials and not only helps in training cats to use a litter box but is also made of hard clumping material which makes it easy to use and clean as well.
This cat litter is highly absorbent and is 99.5% dust free. I
t offers superior odor control without using harsh chemicals and preservative agents which we loved and it comes in two sizes, 20 and 40 pounds.
5. Cat’s Pride Fresh & Light Multi-Cat Premium Scoopable Litter
This cat litter is 25% lighter than most other cat litters, and you can notice this in the size of the grains compared to other products.
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 also 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 of dust-free materials so that you won’t experience those annoying dust clouds. It comes in three sizes: 15, 21 and 28 pounds so there should be a size depending on your needs.
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, and we have reviewed them numerous times throughout our comparison guides.
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 home smelling clean, which did perform as you would expect, just not on the level of some other litters already listed.
This clumping cat litter is designed for multiple cats, so perfect if you have a number of kittens or older cats at home.
The product clumps up tightly making scooping and cleanup of cat litter a breeze.
It also 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 provide excellent cat litter for your pets as well.
The Arm & Hammer Clump & Seal Naturals Litter is lightweight and specially made for homes where multiple cats reside.
It is made of all natural ingredients al and baking soda of course.
The baking soda keeps the litter from becoming smelly and stinky, and we thought it worked well to combat odor.
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 the litter is used.
This is because 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, and Fresh Step is the manufacturer of some of the best odor controlling cat products, not only litter.
9. World’s Best Cat Litter, Clumping Litter Formula
If you’re looking to control the odor that comes from your litter box than this Clumping Litter Formula from World’s Best Cat Litter is a great choice.
This cat litter promises quick clumping that’s 99% dust free and easy to clean.
It also has potent odor control ingredients that can help eliminate odors and any unpleasant smells that come from cat urine and feces.
It is made of lighter ingredients that clump 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 as you remove the clumped up portions and 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 homes clean, and we found it to do precisely that.
It comes with a ten-day continuous and immediate odor control formula that helps give off a fresh smell.
It is made of high-quality clumping material that is easy to scoop and remove.
It is hypoallergenic, 99% dust free, and is excellent 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 bottle. The bottle 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 house remains clean and free of cat excrement.
Choose the one that best suits your needs and budget, and you will have a happy cat and home.
Training Your Cat to Use a Cat Litter Box
Once you have chosen your cat litter, your next task is to ‘potty train’ your pet. But before you start, it’s important that you set up your cat litter box correctly, you would be surprised at just how many people get this wrong!
Just like toddlers, cats have to be trained to do their business in their litter box. Here are some of the best 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 remind them to use the litter box continually.If you suddenly leave on a business trip, this training gets interrupted, and your cat will just forget the things you taught them during the time you were home.
- Close off other parts of the house – close off doors to guest rooms, basement (unless your cat litter is there) and extra bedrooms that your cat can could wander into.This limits their space while you are training your to use the litter tray.This should help your cat find the litter box more easily when other parts of the house are not available for them 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 them at the same time and the same amount of dry and wet food every day.When their food intake has been regulated, their bowel movements will soon follow.
- If your cat is wary of the cat litter do not force them to use it – introduce the new cat litter slowly.You should let your cat be the one to approach the litter if they seem wary and suspicious of the new contraption.Take small steps in training your cat if they seem 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 into bigger trays.A great way to do this is to 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, whatever you choose, pick 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 their thing in the litter box if they find they have to travel far.Make it easy for your cat to find a place to relieve themselves by putting more than one litter box throughout your home.An extra tip is to make sure they are identical.
- Talk to your cat and reward them for doing their business in the litter box – be present when your cat starts to use the litter box and provide them 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 out your home.
A clumping cat litter as reviewed above create clumps around liquids and feces.
These can be cleaned up quickly using a 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 other cat litter remain for some time as it hasn’t been used yet.
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 and brand of cat litter you use.
Having 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 to keep your home clean and offer an excellent alternative to your cat having to go outside every time they need to go to the toilet.