This is a question many cat lovers ask themselves and it prompts a slew of other questions - Which cat litter is healthiest? Clumping litter or non-clumping litter? Which clumping kitty litter works best? Which is the most dust free cat litter? Which controls ammonia odors best? Which is environmentally friendly?
We always suggest that the very first and most important question to ask is which cat litter is the one that your cats will use? Better yet - which is the one that your cats will find the most inviting? That one will be the best cat litter for your cats. We’ll hear from some trusted sources below that say this this usually means:
- Clumping litter, so that the box remains very clean with twice daily scooping.
- Truly unscented litter - it should not have any chemical fragrance (these fragrances are for humans, not cats). Most cats find these fragrances overwhelming.
- 99.9% dust free cat litter that is hypo-allergenic.
- All natural litter (one ingredient is best, the less carbon, additives, and blue dots you see the better).
There are many choices on the market. Let’s hear about these choices from the ones who matter - the cats! Here’s a real life test taken from the ASPCA website:
“In 1990, Dr. Peter Borchelt, an applied animal behaviorist, ran three 10-day tests to determine feline litter preference using a comparison of 14 types of commercial litter as well as topsoil mixed with clay litter and playbox sand. Each cat had 6 boxes to choose from; midway through the testing, the boxes were moved to prevent placement preference from overriding litter type preference. In test after test, fine-grained clumping litter was used more than twice as often as its nearest competitor, with boxes of wood chips, grain litter and recycled paper litter going completely unused. Borchelt concludes, “These data support the clinical observation that an important factor in cats’ preference for litter material is its texture, granularity or coarseness...a finely textured clay was preferred to clay with larger particle sizes. But playbox sand, which is also finely textured, was not preferred much more than coarse clay, perhaps because of the weight of the particles.””
The takeaway - cats prefer fine-grained clumping clay.
Now let’s hear from a veterinary expert. Dr. Lisa Pierson DVM notes on her website Catinfo.org:
“I do whatever I can to provide my cats with the most natural and inviting litter available and that happens to be an UNscented clumping clay litter.”
She goes on to note “Always use unscented litters and do not add any deodorizers to the litter or around the litter box. Cats, because of their extremely keen sense of smell, are often put off by scented litters and perfumed environments.”
This advice greatly simplifies the question of ‘Which cat litter should I use?’ since there are limited number of all natural, unscented, 99.9% dust free, clumping clay cat litter brands on the market. We would suggest taking a look at some of the cat litter reviews on the internet, ask a friend, or have a conversation with the company who makes the litter.
Sometimes it’s worth getting a few brands, putting one in each one in it’s own litter box and letting your cat tell you which brand is best for him or her. After all, they are the boss!
A Secondary Issue (please note that we can’t help but be a bit less objective in this section):
A secondary, but very important issue that looms large for us humans is the convenience factor. The inconvenience of cat litter is the 30 ton elephant in the room. Let’s face it, cat litter is a problem. We have to get it repeatedly, it’s very heavy, it requires driving, an investment of time, we often run low, and sometimes we have to just get it wherever we can, changing brands haphazardly on our cats.
This is what we used to say to ourselves: “I am a busy human, but I love my cats so I do it.” However, this comprise is no longer necessary. In fact, don’t compromise - your cat’s will thank you for it!
We started Boxiecat first for cats, and second for humans. Signing up for a cat litter subscription delivery service provides consistent litter box care for your cats - no more running low or running out, and no more switching brands because one store is more convenient on your way home from work. Additionally no more round trips to the store, lifting and lugging, or wasted time. It’s a win-win (if your cats love our litter that is...).
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As always we look to ways of keeping cats comfortable, happy, and using the litter box. Following these and other basic rules of litter box care can help avoid problems from coming up if your cat uses the box well, and help to alleviate problems if your cat already has litter box issues. Please note that some litter box behaviors and avoidance can signs of medical problems - if your cat has litter box issues or you notice changes in litter box behavior, it is important to take your cat to a good veterinarian. Although Boxiecat brand litter is veterinarian recommended, the writers of the article wish to state that we are not qualified to give medical advice.