Tips For Switching Cat Litters
Any time you need to make a change to your kittens litter, its important to do it gradually. Suddenly changing the type of litter youre using can confuse your kitten, and he might reject the new litter.
Instead, gradually add in some new litter, and add a little more each day. At the same time, dont replenish the old litter, so little by little, the box will consist of more new litter than old. Taking this approach can help keep the box smelling and feeling familiar to your kitten, giving him time to get used to the new litter instead of becoming afraid or confused.
Choosing the right cat litter for your kitten may seem simple, but its actually an important step in keeping him healthy. A quality litter thats nonclumping and free of dust and fragrances is best for kittens under four months of age. As your kitten grows up, you can consider introducing a clumping litter if youd like. Until then, its best to stick with one of the kitten-safe litters suggested above. They offer you plenty of choices while ensuring that youre using a product that prioritizes your kittens health.
How Does Clumping Litter Work
The clay particles absorb the moisture when your cat urinates or defecates in the clumping litter. These particles then start to bind together, forming clumps of solid waste.
I realized that clumping cat litter made my work easier. Instead of cleaning the entire cat litter box, I just scoop out the solid clumps leaving the clean litter behind.
The significant distinction between non-clumping clay litter vs. clumping litter is that the latter forms clumps of solid waste in contact with moisture.
Its worth noting that clay makes both clumping and non-clumping cat litters.
Due to its efficiency in absorbing moisture, clumping cat litter is sometimes used to soak up oil spills in the garage.
Which Type Of Cat Litter Is The Right One
Clumping litter, silica litter, biodegradable litter or non-clumping litter? It’s certainly not easy to choose the right variety from this large selection.
Cats aren’t just outright individualists in terms of food, but they have their own preferences and dislikes when it comes to litter boxes too. Many cats are used to a certain product and can comply or turn unhygienic with a change in the type of litter.
Clumping litter is made up of small grains of clay that form clumps as soon as they come into contact with cat urine. These clumps of urine are removed from the litter box with a scooper. This means that the rest of the litter box filling remains clean for a relatively long time and doesn’t have to be changed as frequently.
Non-clumping cat litter varieties absorb urine without forming clumps. They are based either on clay minerals or silica gel . If you use non-clumping cat litter, you merely have to remove cat faeces once a day.
Attention: you definitely shouldn’t use clumping litter with young cats. If kittens nibble at the litter, it can lead to life-threatening clumps in their stomach!
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Take Into Account Your Kittens Litter Preferences
When you first become a parent to your new kitten, you should ask the shelter or breeder what type of litter they have been using as this is a great first option. If they have been using the litter with no issues, then try using the same type when they come home. If you need to chance the litter, you always have the option of transitioning to another choice later on.
Kittens are clean animals so if your they dont immediately know how to use the litter tray, it wont take long for them to learn. However, if they seem to be struggling with taking to it, then it may be time to change litter types. Your kittens preference for litter types may have to do with them having sensitive paws or one type of litter may simply be what they like better.
Finding the right litter is important, as you dont want your cat to end up rejecting the litter box altogether. So how do you select the right type?
Our Pick: Dr Elseys Ultra
May be out of stock
For your money, Dr. Elseys Ultra forms tough clumps and does an outstanding job of trapping odors. It also produces less dust and is significantly cheaper than many other cat litters we tested.
In tests with liquid waste, Dr. Elseys Ultra formed clumps that were in the middle of the pack in terms of hardness, and that were on the flat side, making them less prone to sticking to the bottom or side of the litter pan. Wirecutter staffers report that the clumps held up well during scooping, sometimes breaking into large chunks if they were being excavated from a corner or side. They never crumble into oblivion, said Wirecutter senior staff writer Kimber Streams, whose cats have used it for six years.
Our long-term testers said Dr. Elseys Ultra does a great job of masking waste odors. The litter itself smells neutral and isnt overwhelmingly fruity like the Purina Tidy Cats 24/7 Performance. In our control tests, Dr. Elseys Ultra masked the odor from stinky ammonia and pungent hing so well that we could smell only the clay litter when the waste stand-ins were just partially covered by litter.
Though tracking was tough for us to test at the cat cafe, Dr. Elseys Ultra has grains that are on the larger side, meaning it should track less than some of the competition. Our staffers long-term experience experimenting with litter bears that out. It tracks a bit, but not as bad as other litters Ive used, Streams said.
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Low Mess Or Low Tracking
Each time your cat leaves his litter box, granules or pellets may stick to his paws, which he can then scatter around your house. So, if you want to keep your floors clean, you should look for a low-tracking cat litter.
Generally, cat litters that are made of fine sands or granules track more than those that are made of large granules.
And this is where the predicament lies: cats prefer fine, sand-like litters. This can be attributed to the fact that larger litters often get stuck between their sensitive paws, which makes them uncomfortable.
And of course, we can also say that its part of their inclination to want something that resembles the fine sands in the wild.
Hence, you may want to manage your expectations when sticking with your personal choice of a low-tracking litterover your cats preference for finer litters that tend to mess or track a lot.
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When Should You Switch Litters
If your cat is using the litter box, and the litter youre using right now is reasonably priced, clumps well, and doesnt smell terrible with regular scooping, keep using what youre using. Even our favorite litters can only do so much.
Its common for about 2 percent to 4 percent of cats to reject any given litter, according to Ray Brown, of Arm & Hammers parent company, Church & Dwightbut if your litter leaves room for improvement, chances are good that your cat will go along with the change. Ease the transition by mixing in some of the new litter with the old for a week or two, or follow the transition instructions on the box, if they differ.
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How Can Cat Litter Be Disposed Of
Even if it seems obvious, used cat litter should definitely not be disposed of in the toilet for humans. Clumping litter in particular can permanently block drainpipes. The correct method is to always throw out cat litter with the household waste. An exception are some types made from plant fibres, which can be disposed of in the organic waste bin or even the toilet.
If you don’t wish to dump cat faeces and urine straight into the rubbish bin, you can use dog poop bags, which even come in biodegradable varieties.
Alternatively, choose a disposal system for cat litter. These special rubbish bins can be sealed so tightly that neither germs nor odours can escape.
Clumping Cat Litter Versus Non
You probably know that there are two main types of cat litter: clumping and non-clumping. But you might not know which is best. The truth is there isnt a simple answer to that, and its about finding whats better for you and your cat.
Here we take a look at the pros and cons of both types of litter, and why its important to get it right.
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So What Is The Best Cat Litter
There really is no clear answer to which type of cat litter is the best. The choice between clumping and non-clumping litter is a personal decision that will depend on what you want in a cat litter and what your cat prefers. Many cats appear to prefer clumping litter because it is easier for them to push aside, but some cats prefer non-clumping clay.
Both clumping and non-clumping cat litters do produce some dust, although there are formulations of both types that are designed to decrease the amount of dust in the litter. Litters can also be a concern for pet owners if the litter is ingested. This will depend on the litter material and the amount of litter ingested. Generally, it takes a lot of ingested litter to cause a problem and it is often more of a concern for dogs that like to raid the cat litter box than it is for the cat.
Choosing the litter that your cat prefers makes it less likely that litter box avoidance issues and inappropriate elimination will become a problem for you. Your preferences combined with your cats preferences will determine what the best cat litter is for youand which litter you will want to stick with.
Choose A Litter That Is Kitten
Kittens learn and explore in the same way human babies do–with their mouths. This means that you’ll need to choose a litter that is safe for kittens so that they don’t consume something toxic or dangerous. Kittens should not be given litter products that contain fragrances, harsh chemicals, or clumping properties. While clumping litter might be the standard for adult cats, it’s a risk to kittens if ingested, and should not be provided until the kitten is at least 2-3 months old and well accustomed to the litter box.
Instead, opt for a natural, pellet-based litter that is less likely to be inhaled or ingested by a young kitten.
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Also Great: Arm & Hammer Cloud Control Clumping Litter
*At the time of publishing, the price was $15.
We like the Arm & Hammer Cloud Control Clumping Litter because it does a good job of trapping odors, and it has tiny litter granules that clump better than those of most cat litter brands we tested. Also, the Cloud Control litter doesnt gunk up the bottom of a pan, and it produces virtually no dust. But those tiny granules may track throughout the home, and the Cloud Control litters traditional cardboard-box container can be a hassle to carry and open.
Even though Dr. Elseys Ultra had the best odor control, the Cloud Control litter did the best job of making tighter, defined litter clumps that were the easiest to scoop and clean during our tests.
In our tests, the Cloud Control cat litter trapped stinky ammonia and sulfur-like hing odors better than the competition, and only a faint stench remained when we were sitting next to the dirty litter only Dr. Elseys Ultra beat it in this area by completely trapping the odors. The Cloud Control cat litter quickly negates odors if your cat regularly buries their waste, but itll take a few minutes for the smells to dissipate if your cat is rude and never covers things up.
The Cloud Control litters smaller granules are easier to scoop and clean, but those tiny specks are also more likely to stick to your cats paws and track throughout the house. Invest in a good cat litter mat, like the Easyology Premium Cat Litter Mat, which traps fine granules better than any mat weve seen.
What Is The Difference Between Scoopable And Clumping Cat Litter
Many cat litter manufacturers use the terms scoopable and clumping interchangeably when discussing clay cat litters. Scoopable is the ability to remove cat waste, either urine or feces, with a cat litter scooper. Clumping refers to when cat urine is absorbed or dehydrated by clay or silica-based litter granules, and forms hard clumps that are easy to scoop. There are some types of cat litter that are only scoopable, not clumpable, like pine litters and recycled paper litters.
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Non Clumping Cat Litter Is Cheaper
Because there are several materials to choose from, non clumping cat litter is generally cheaper. It is therefore favorable for cat owners on a budget.
Furthermore, some non clumping cat litter such as pine litter is compostable therefore you can recycle it saving on the use of manure and fertilizers for your farm.
Additionally, you can easily make your own non clumping cat litter from recycled newspapers thus saving money that would be used to buy cat litter.
Therefore non clumping cat litter is budget friendly.
Why You Should Trust Us
Im Wirecutters pets writer, and Ive covered everything from the best automatic litter boxes no one should buy to our favorite cat litter mats. Im also a lifelong pet owner and animal-shelter volunteer whos dealt with her share of cat poop, and Im determined to find the best way to control litter box odors without making things worse for feline residents.
Shannon Palus was a senior staff writer who wrote the original version of this guide. She interviewed Alexandra Medley, a veterinarian who had recently graduated from the Ohio State University , and had her survey the vets in her network for answers to Wirecutters toughest litter questions. Shannon also consulted Michael Lund, a vet with the ASPCA Anne Levin, president of the Brooklyn Bridge Animal Welfare Coalition and manager of the Brooklyn Cat Cafe and Ray Brown, VP of household R& D at Church & Dwight, the company that owns Arm & Hammer . She tested the top-performing cat litters at Brooklyn Cat Cafe, where dozens of cats provided their, er, input.
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Drawbacks Of Clumping Cat Litter
- It is initially more expensive: The initial cost of a back of clumping litter will cost more than a non-clumping one. This is because they contain bentonite clay, which is an expensive natural absorbent. However, over the long term, you use less, potentially saving money.
- Tracking: Clumping litters tend to track more than non-clumping ones. The clumps can stick to your cats paws and be carried out of the litter tray.
- Cat health problems: When cats use the litter box, they lick themselves clean, and in the process, they may ingest the hard clumps. These clumps coat the cats internal organs, which leads to issues like lethargy, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Flaws But Not Dealbreakers
The most obvious downside of Dr. Elseys Ultra is its container. Though this litter is sometimes sold in small boxes, the lowest price is found on a 40-pound plastic bag from Amazon. Out of all the containers that litter comes in, a plastic bag is the hardest to seal, and isnt as easy to stow away as a box or a plastic bin.
That 40-pound plastic bag is twice as heavy as other litters, which come in 20-, 30-, or 40-pound cardboard-box containers that are easier to lift and store. Pet owners with minimal arm strength may have difficulty pouring Dr. Elseys Ultra into a pan, so we recommend transferring some of the litter into an easy-pour container or using a large kibble scooper that you store in the bag. Or you can grab one of Dr. Elseys 18-pound bags, which cost 7 extra cents per pound.
Dr. Elseys Ultra fell in the middle of the pack in our cleanability tests because it can leave sticky messes at the bottom of the pan. Its average-size granules dont pack as tightly as tinier granules, like those in the Arm & Hammer Cloud Control Clumping Litter, so more moisture can get to the bottom of the litter box. Dr. Elseys Ultra performed about as well as two cheaper litters we tested: the Arm & Hammer Super Scoop Clumping Litter and the Frisco Scoopable Cat Litter. If you are willing to pay a premium for harder clumps that wont stick to the bottom of a dirty pan, try our other pick, the Arm & Hammer Cloud Control Clumping Litter.
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Is Clumping Litter Safe For Kittens
There are horror stories about cats eating clumping litter and having it form clumps inside their stomachs, but this isnt something most people need to worry about, said Medley. If your cat is eating litter, take them to the vet: It could be a sign of anemia or pica, the desire to eat things that are not food. Plus, in small quantities, sodium bentonite isnt dangerous for animalsits even an ingredient in some animal feed.
Some people are especially worried about kittens eating clumping litter, because kittens have smaller stomachs and may be more curious. Though some brands recommend using non-clumping litters until your kitten is 4 months old or so, others, like Cats Pride, note that theres no evidence that sodium bentonite has actually caused harm to a kitten this is a conclusion supported by vets Medley and Lund, as well as by everything we found when scanning the literature and reading many Internet forums. In my 7 years experience as a vet Ive not seen a foreign body from a kitten who has ingested clay clumping litter, said Lund. If youre concerned and would still like to use clumping clay litter, monitor your kittens behavior and check in with your vet if something seems amiss.