Are you confused by all of the different kinds of cat litters?
The features of different kinds of cat litter are endless and it can take quite a bit of researching to find the perfect cat litter. How do you know which litter will be best for your cat? Are there particular types of litter that you should use for your cat with allergies? What is clumping litter? What is the best cat litter for multi cat households? What are the pros and cons of different types of litter?
The answer to those questions and many others are below.
Different Types of Cat Litter
1.Clay Cat Litter – Clumping and Non Clumping
13.Pine Cat Litter
1. Clay Cat Litter
Clay cat litter is one of the oldest and most popular types of cat litter. It is available in two forms: clumping and non-clumping.
Clumping clay litters are made of clay materials (bentonite clay) that clump together when wet, allowing for easy scooping of both urine and solid waste. This type of litter tends to last longer and keeps the litter box fresher with daily scooping.
Clumping clay litter is easy to scoop from the box because urine and faeces form solid clumps.
The solid clumps are then easy to scoop using a cat litter scoop.
The litter can be scooped as needed instead of discarding the entire box of litter. The box can then be topped topped up with litter.
This avoids having to empty the entire litter box when cleaning.
A pretty good list of pros making it easy to see why it is so popular worldwide.
Clumping clay litter can be dusty.
This dustiness varies from brand to brand and it really is trial and error on your part.
Your idea of dusty might not be my idea of dusty and so on. It’s always helpful to read reviews on the product page.
Non-clumping clay litter is more affordable but requires dumping the entire litter box contents when cleaning, as it does not form clumps. The bentonite clay is present but does not cause the litter material to clump together. The bentonite clay in non-clumping litters still provides absorbency and odor control properties.
2. Crystal (Silica Gel) Cat Litter
Silica cat litter contains tiny silica gel beads. The beads of sodium silicate are dried and highly absorbent.
3. Wood Cat Litter
Wood litter is a more natural litter option, made from compressed wood shavings or pellets, typically from softwood trees like pine or cedar. It is biodegradable, environmentally friendly, and offers good odor control.
This type of litter could be preferred by pet owners seeking a more eco-friendly alternative.
It has a light, natural scent.
Wood is lighter weight than clay litter and easier on joints and muscles for older cats.
Wood litter may track more than clumping clay litters due to small particle size
4. Recycled Paper Litter
Recycled Paper Litter is made from recycled paper or cardboard and comes in paper pellets or a granule form. It is biodegradable and dust-free, making it suitable for cats with allergies or asthma.
Paper litter is made from recycled materials so it’s an eco-friendly option.
It has low dust and is generally scent-free.
Paper litter minimizes tracking around the home compared to clay or silica litters.
It may not absorb odors as effectively as clay.
Pellet litter can be messy if the pellets break down too much.
May not be suitable for multi-cat households due to increased waste.
5. Flushable Cat Litter
Flushable litter is another eco-friendly option, typically made from materials like corn, wheat and plant fibers that are designed to break down rapidly in water. Note: Flushable litter is not able to be used in some states by law.
Flushable litter is more environmentally friendly than clay litter since the contents can be flushed down the toilet.
Flushable litter produces less waste sent to landfills than non-flushable litters.
Even “flushable” litters may not fully break down in septic or sewer systems and could cause plumbing issues.
It does not clump as effectively as clay litter, making it messier to use.
Flushable litter is typically more expensive than clay or silica litters.
It may be illegal to use in your area – check before purchasing.
6. Wheat Cat Litter
Wheat cat litter is made from wheat by products such as wheat scoop or wheat pellets.
Wheat litter is a natural, plant-based alternative to clay.
It clumps urine well and controls odor fairly effectively.
Wheat litter is prone to developing fungus if allowed to get too moist.
Odor control is not as good as clumping clay for faeces.
It tends to be more expensive than clay litter
7. Corn Cat Litter
Corn cat litter is made from ground corn cob particles. Corn cobs are a by product of corn processing, so corn litter is a natural and biodegradable option.
Corn litter is natural, dust-free, and lightweight. It’s gentler on cats’ paws than clay.
It clumps urine well and controls odors fairly effectively.
Odor control is not as strong as clay litters, especially for faeces.
Some corn litters are prone to mold/mildew growth if allowed to get too moist.
8. Grass Cat Litter
Grass litter is another natural option that offers excellent clumping properties and is biodegradable. Grass cat litter is made from various dried grasses such as wheatgrass, oat grass or barley grass. The dried grasses are processed into litter.
9. Scented Cat Litter
Scented cat litter has additional fragrances like lavender or vanilla added to the litter. This is usually clay litter that has been infused with synthetic scents.
10. Unscented Cat Litter
Unscented cat litter does not contain any added fragrances. It is typically just the base litter material like clay, wheat, wood, etc. without synthetic scents.
11. Tofu Cat Litter
Tofu cat litter is made from soybean curds, also known as tofu and is known for being lightweight, biodegradable, and good at controlling odors. The tofu is dried and compressed into litter granules.
Plant-based and natural material makes it a sustainable option.
Clumps urine well due to high protein content of tofu.
Stronger odors are not absorbed as well as clay.
May not be as readily available as other litters.
Requires more frequent changes than clay.
12. Walnut Cat Litter
Walnut litter is made from crushed walnut shells, offering a natural, eco-friendly, and highly absorbent option. Walnut cat litter is made from crushed or powdered walnut shells.
13. Pine Cat Litter
Pine cat litter is made from softwood shavings or pellets. The softwood pine materials are dried and processed into litter.
14. Pretty Litter
Pretty Litter – Pretty Litter is a brand of litter but I have included it here because of the unique properties.
Pretty Litter is a clumping clay litter that changes color to indicate your cat’s health. It starts blue and turns green when wet (normal) or other colors for potential health issues.
Provides a visual health indicator by changing color for pH levels.
Clumps waste like traditional clay litter.
May help catch health issues earlier.
More expensive than regular clay litter.
Color changes don’t replace annual vet check ups.
Cats may try to eat or play with colored litter.
Odor control may not be as effective as scented litter.
Significant Features of Different Types of Cat Litters
Different cat litters come with different features that help cater to the preferences of both cats and their owners. Some of the significant features of cat litters include odor control, absorbency, texture, weight, and scent.
Odor Control: Odor control is an essential aspect to consider when choosing cat litter. Litters with good odor control can efficiently neutralize or suppress the strong smells from cat waste.
Clumping litters, for instance, are known for their ability to trap urine and ammonia odors.
Absorbency: A cat litter’s absorbency plays a crucial role in maintaining a clean and dry litter box. Highly absorbent litters can quickly soak up cat urine and help prevent a soggy litter box. Clay-based litters, for example, are known for their high absorbency.
Texture: Cats tend to prefer certain textures in their litter, which can affect their willingness to use the litter box. Soft textures are generally preferred, as they are gentle on cat paws and encourage digging and burying. Some common textures in cat litters include a sand-like texture, a pellet-based texture, and a granular texture.
Weight: The weight of cat litter can impact the ease of handling and cleaning. Lightweight litters are easier to transport and pour into the cat’s litter box, while heavyweight litters might provide firmer and more stable footing for cats. It’s essential to strike a balance between the ease of use and a cat’s preferences.
Scented vs. Unscented: Cat litters come in scented or unscented varieties.
Scented cat litters typically contain artificial fragrances to help mask odors, whereas unscented litters rely on their natural odor control properties.
Scent preferences can vary among cats, and some may be sensitive to strong fragrances, making unscented litters a more suitable choice in such cases.
Low Tracking: Low tracking litters help reduce the spread of litter outside the box, making clean up more manageable. Non-clay litters, such as wood or paper-based litters, tend to be low-tracking due to their larger size and lower dust production.
Tight Clumps: Some litters form tight clumps when moistened, such as clumping clay litters, which can make scooping waste much easier. Tight clumps can also aid in odor control by isolating waste and preventing it from permeating the surrounding litter.
Environmental Considerations Of Different Cat Litter
Eco Impact of Cat Litter
Traditional cat litters, mainly made of clay, can have a significant impact on the environment.
The extraction of the most clay litters contributes to land degradation, soil erosion, deforestation, and depletion of natural resources.
When disposed of, clay-based litters can take a long time to decompose, adding to the volume of waste in landfills or incineration facilities and emitting greenhouse gases.
The use of non-renewable resources, such as the silica gel litter, can further exacerbate the environmental implications.
Standard cat litters can contain harmful additives like fragrance and synthetic chemicals, which can leach into the soil and water systems, affecting ecosystems and wildlife.
Biodegradable Cat Litters
Biodegradable cat litters offer a more environmentally friendly alternative to traditional litters. They are typically made from renewable, natural materials, such as:
A prime example is SwheatScoop Natural Wheat Litter that employs enzymes from renewable wheat crops to counter odors. This product is low-dust, low-tracking, biodegradable, and compostable.
- Recycled paper
Fresh News Recycled Paper Litter is made from reclaimed paper with no added chemicals, making it eco-friendly and safe for the environment.
Ökocat Original Natural Wood Cat Litter uses sawdust and wood shavings, which are by products of lumber production. This option is biodegradable, and it can also be composted.
- Walnut shells
Naturally Fresh Cat Litter, made from crushed walnut shells, is a sustainable alternative, given that walnut trees are a renewable resource.
These biodegradable litters not only reduce the environmental footprint but also maintain a good level of odor control, moisture absorption, and easy-to-scoop qualities.
Issues Related to Different Types Of Cat Litter
It is crucial to choose an appropriate type of cat litter to ensure the health and well-being of both cats and their owners.
Respiratory issues can be a significant concern for both cats and their human companions. The dust generated by some cat litter types, such as clay, can cause or aggravate respiratory conditions like asthma.
It is essential to look for low-dust or dust-free cat litters to minimize respiratory problems.
Other health issues may arise from the use of certain cat litter types. For example, some cats may experience allergies to specific materials, such as wheat or corn litter or walnut shells. It is crucial to monitor your cat’s reaction to any new litter type and be willing to switch if you notice any adverse effects on their health.
Messes can be a common problem for cat owners, especially when using non-clumping litters.
Cats may inadvertently kick the litter out of the box, causing it to scatter around the area.
Clumping litter can help reduce mess by easily removing soiled litter. However, even with clumping litter, some cats may still track particles throughout the home.
Dust and tracking are closely related issues. When cats exit the litter box, they may carry litter particles on their paws.
This tracking can lead to the spread of litter dust around your home, thus contributing to respiratory issues.
Choosing a low-tracking litter with larger or denser granules may help mitigate this issue.
The Impact of Different Types Of Cat Litter on Pets
Different Litter Selection for Kittens
Kittens are more likely to ingest litter while learning to groom themselves, so a non-toxic, dust-free, and unscented litter is recommended.
Clay or clumping litter should be avoided until the kitten is at least four months old.
Instead, pet parents should opt for paper or wood-based litter, since these materials pose fewer risks if ingested.
Some suitable types of cat litter for kittens include:
- Paper-based litter Paper cat litter is made from recycled paper and has a soft texture that’s gentle on kittens’ paws. This litter is biodegradable and less likely to cause harm if ingested by the kitten.
- Wood-based litter: Made from wood shavings or sawdust, this type of litter is eco-friendly and has a natural scent. The soft texture will also be comfortable for kittens to walk on.
Cat Litter Considerations for Cats Recovering from Surgery
When a cat is recovering from surgery, selecting the right type of cat litter is essential for the cat’s health.
Post-operative complications can be minimized by choosing a litter that is gentle on the cat’s paws and incision site.
Pet parents should avoid harsh materials as well as scented litter which can both cause irritation and discomfort. A paper pelleted litter is a good choice in this case.
Important factors to consider for cats recovering from surgery include:
- Low-dust litter: Excessive dust can irritate the cat’s respiratory system and incision area. A low-dust litter, such as paper or wood-based options, provide a cleaner and healthier environment.
- Non-clumping: Although clumping litters offer convenience, they may pose a risk for cats recovering from surgery. Clumping litter can stick to the surgical site and cause infection. Non-clumping litters like paper or wood-based are safer options during the recovery period.
- Aflatoxin-free: Aflatoxins are toxic compounds found in certain molds that can grow on corn and other grains used in some cat litters. Cats recovering from surgery are more susceptible to infections and illnesses, so pet parents should choose litter brands that test for aflatoxins to ensure the safety of their cats.
Allow the litter box to dry completely before adding any new cat litter.
This is important because wet or damp litter can clump together and promote bacterial growth, which may contribute to unpleasant odors and potential health issues for your cat.