Types of Cat Litters

Non-clumping cat litter is one of the first types of cat litter that was developed. They replaced the traditional sand litter that was used for cats and have been around for a long time. Non-clumping litter is made from calcium bentonite, a type of clay. It can absorb fluid equivalent to its own weight. After soaking up its own weight in fluid it becomes saturated. Given the weight of liquid this can happen rather quickly.

Once they are saturated, the litter needs to be removed and replenished with fresh litter. They are difficult to clean because they don’t form into clumps. Non-clumping clay is also non-biodegradable. This type of litter is fairly inexpensive and should be replaced each week. You’ll also want to scoop out any piles often to keep the smell down.

Clumping Clay 

Clumping clay litters are made from sodium bentonite. The main difference between this and non-clumping litter is that sodium bentonite forms clumps when it comes in contact with moisture. 

This separates it from other litter in the box. You can easily remove the clumped solid mass without having to empty the entire litter box.

Litter boxes with clumping clay should be scooped daily. Every few days some fresh litter should be added to maintain the litter depth in the box. Though they are natural, clumping clay litters are not biodegradable. They are slightly more expensive than non-clumping clay litter.

It’s not recommended to flush the clay clumps in the bathroom because it can clog your pipes. Because it creates a lot of dust, some cats may not be comfortable using them.

Crystal or Silica Gel Litters

Silica gel litters are made from silicon dioxide and come in granular pellets. The pellets are porous and have the highest absorption rate among all litter types. They can trap large amounts of moisture and also help reduce odor. 

Silica cat litter absorbs urine and also dries out feces. The litter box needs to be stirred daily to ensure the urine gets absorbed and doesn’t pool at the bottom of the litter box. 

The crystals are white and turn yellow when they become saturated. They will start to smell when the crystals are close to the saturation point. These can typically last for a month but they should be replaced as they turn yellow to keep the litter from smelling. Silica cat litter doesn’t require you to change the litter as often. This type of litter is more expensive than clumping and non-clumping clay litters, but should keep the smell down longer. 

Biodegradable Litter

Biodegradable cat litter is made from natural plant resources like recycled corn, pine and wheat. They contain much less dust benefitting cats that have respiratory conditions or are sensitive to smell. 

Though these do not clump they are comparatively safe for the cats unless they are allergic to the ingredients the litter is made of. Their natural and biodegradable features make them environmentally friendly. This is one reason why they are considered a great option for cat litter by pet owners.

Disposing used cat litter is a major concern. Every year thousands of tons of cat litter are dumped in landfills. Biodegradable litter prevents further increase in this mess. They can be disposed of safely in the trash and can even be flushed. There are many ways you can dispose of biodegradable cat litter. You can bury it under the soil or tie it in a biodegradable bag and put it in the garbage.

Biodegradable litter is more expensive than other types of litter but some of them like pine litter can last longer than clumping and non-clumping clay litter. It’s also important to note that they have been made by recycling waste materials of natural grains. This is beneficial for the environment because they don’t require the clay to be extracted from mines to make cat litter.  

Which Type of Litter is Best for Your Cats?

There is no fixed way to know this without experimenting with different types of litter. Cats need good bathroom hygiene and also tend to be selective about their litter. The only way to check which type of litter your cat likes is by buying different types of litter. Fill up multiple litter boxes with different types of litter and line them up. Let your cat select which one they like most. 

Once you find out which type of litter your cat prefers it’s important to stick to it. Cats don’t like big changes in their litter boxes. 

There are also some scented and unscented varieties of litters in the market. It may seem tempting for many pet owners as they promise to reduce the smell caused by poop. A number of cats don’t like scented litter, which can be a problem for anyone who wants something to cover odors. We like using baking powder mixed into litter to help absorb odors.