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What are the Different Types of Cat Litter?

By: Dr.Debra Primovic

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What are the Different Types of Cat Litter?

Cat litter is a necessity...and there are many types of cat litter on the market. Your cat's litter needs depends on several factors and there's bound to be one perfect for their needs. Some things to consider when choosing litter are:

  • How frequently you want to change it
  • How sensitive your cat is to dust
  • Whether you prefer scented or unscented litter
  • If you want to scoop litter to clean it
  • Your cat's preferences

    Common Litter Types

    Here are some common types of cat litter:

  • Natural soil is very inexpensive (often free) and easy to find. Depending on the composition of the soil it can be very absorbent; soils that contain lots of sand absorb the most moisture. However, soil contains no deodorizers, does not clump, and is easily tracked. It can also contain harmful organisms such as mites, ticks, and fleas.

  • Clay is very absorbent, inexpensive, and readily available. It comes in scented and unscented varieties. Clay litter typically needs to be changed after 5-7 uses, which can be daily or weekly depending on the number of cats and litter boxes in the home. This type of litter can be extremely dusty and create messes throughout the home as it is tracked.

  • Clumping litter is a type of small grain clay litter that clumps when moistened by urine or other waste. This type of litter has excellent absorbency and is very easy to clean with a sifting scoop. It is very affordable and often has a pleasant fragrance or neutral smell. However, clumping litters can be very heavy and dusty. Due to their clumping properties they are not idea for cats with long hair or those who have recently undergone surgery.

  • Environmentally friendly litters are often made of recycled or natural materials such as newspaper, wheat, corn, or wood chips. They come in forms ranging from small granules to pellets. Natural litters typically have a pleasant smell and are very lightweight. Some formulas are very low in dust and most biodegrade easily after use. However, many do not contain odor-resistant materials and have poor clumping qualities. They also tend to be more expensive than clay litters.

  • Silica crystal litters have become increasingly popular for their exceptional odor control, light weight, and ease of use. Silica is a natural product which resembles small white or clear crystals or beads. This type of litter absorbs a large amount of moisture and can be used for 3 to 4 weeks before needing to be changed. Some types of silica litter contain a moderate amount of dust but others come in low-dust formulas. Drawbacks include silica litter's tendency toward tracking and higher price tag.

  • Flushable litters are a type of natural litter designed to be flushed safely down most toilets. These biodegradable litters are often corn- or wheat-based. While lightweight, they are often more expensive and contain little odor control. They are however very convenient, as waste can be flushed rather than bagged or put in garbage cans.

    What litter is best for your cat depends on what your cat likes, because if they don't like it they won't use it.

    What litters do cats like the best? If you ask most veterinarians it is an unscented scoopable litter such as a clay-based clumping litter. But cat litters are not all alike and your cat might prefer something else. To find the best cat litter for your cat you might have to try a few.

    I hope this gives you more information about the different types of cat litter.


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