What is the best type of cat litter?
With so many options available on the market, deciding which cat litter to buy can often be difficult. Each type of litter has its advantages and disadvantages whether it’s good for the environment, benefits your cat’s health, or suits your personal preference. So what is the best cat litter for you and your cat?
Arguably, one of the biggest questions we get asked is “Should I use clumping or non-clumping cat litter?”
Clumping litter has become a popular option as it's designed to easily remove cat urine and feces without having to change the entire litter box. Others prefer non-clumping litter because it's good at absorbing moisture and odours, can be biodegradable, easy to scoop and dispose of, and is often less expensive.
Choosing between clumping and non-clumping litter really comes down to personal preference and which product best suits you and your cat.
Let’s dive into the different types of cat litters:
- Crystal cat litter
- Clay cat litter
- Natural cat litter
Crystal cat litter
What is crystal cat litter? Often mistaken as clumping litter, crystal cat litter is made from silica gel that absorbs and locks in moisture. Crystal cat litter also has odour control and an antibacterial technology that inhibits bacterial growth for a cleaner, more hygienic litter box.
Not only does a cat’s urine activate the absorption, but the moisture of cat feces also does too, which helps manage bad smells and means you don’t have to clean up straight away.
Crystal cat litter doesn’t need to be changed as frequently, often making it a more affordable option. You will still need to scoop out the cat feces but usually, the litter tray only needs to be fully changed once a month.
Benefits of crystal cat litter;
The con of crystal cat litter is that the silica ingredient can harm your cat if it ingests too much when cleaning its paws. Today we’re seeing more and more brands improve their formulas to minimise the risks to kittens, but we still recommend that you use crystal litter on adult cats only.
Clay cat litter
What is clay cat litter? Clay cat litter is most commonly known as clumping litter and is the oldest and most widely known litter available on the market.
Clay is the preferred option for many cat owners because it absorbs liquid and clumps together easily, making scooping and disposing of litter much more straightforward. Ingredients such as carbo and plant extracts help with odour control and keeping your home smelling fresh.
Benefits of clay clumping cat litter;
- Highly absorbent
- Clumps quickly
- Easy disposal
The con of clay litter is the dust it creates, which can irritate cats or human allergies, and often cats can ingest the clay when cleaning their paws which can be harmful. We’re seeing more brands improve their clay litter with less risk to cats' health but we still recommend that you use clumping clay on adult cats only and not kittens.
Natural cat litter
What is natural cat litter? Natural cat litter is available in a range of plant-based and non-plant-based formulas including corn, wheat, soy, pine, paper, tofu, or grass seed.
Natural litter is highly absorbent and often the preferred option for many cat owners due to the lack of dust, sustainable resources, and because it is biodegradable. Both grain and wood-based cat litter is a great option for those looking for natural odour control, while grain-based options often have natural clumping also.
Benefits of grain-based cat litter;
- Low dust
- Natural odor control
- Natural clumping
Benefits of wood-based cat litter;
- Can clump (in pellet, granule form)
- Natural odor control
Benefits of paper cat litter;
- Recycled material
The con of natural litter is that it can require more work for cat owners due to needing to be changed more regularly than other litters, particularly those that don’t clump. Often this means that cat owners go through more litter which can cause costs to add up.
How to choose the right type of litter for your cat
Now you know more about the different types of cat litter, how do you choose the best type of cat litter for your cat?
It really comes down to your home environment, personal preference, and budget. Consider your cat’s age, health, your health, odour control, litter texture, dust levels, environment, and disposing of. As for the cost, there is no one type of cat litter that is necessarily cheaper than the other. As each type of litter varies in the frequency of needing to be changed and cost per litre so it is best to try them for yourself first to find the most suitable cost-effective solution.
Understanding what matters to you and your cat will help you find the best cat litter.
Ask yourself these seven questions when choosing cat litter:
- Do you have a cat or a kitten?
- Do you or your cat have allergies?
- Are you sensitive to scents?
- Are you after a biodegradable litter?
- How often are you prepared to change the litter box?
- Are you looking for an inexpensive cat litter?
- Does odour control matter to you?
To be honest, cleaning up after our cats is no fun job, but it can be a lot easier to handle and maintain with the right litter. Choosing the right cat litter might take some time - but once you find the best litter for you and your cat, the litter box won’t seem like such a daunting task.
Written by The Pet.co.nz
Written by The Pet.co.nz Team
A team of specialists with backgrounds in animal nursing, animal care, and all things pet related.