Dogs and cats are the most popular pets amongst pet owners. While both dogs and cats are known to be friendly and playful creatures, when you talk about their habits, there is a wide array of differences between the two, including littering habits.
While dog parents have to take their dogs for an evening walk to make them attend to the call of nature, cat parents can be a bit relaxed and install cat litters at home to skip on those cold chilly winter walks in the evening.
Cat litters are used to bury cat urine and feces and turn out to be a blessing for all cat parents who do not like giving thumbs up for daily evening walks. Instead, they can train and develop proper littering habits in their felines to get rid of their waste matter.
Traditionally, clay cat litter was the only option that allows cat parents to get rid of cat feces and urine. But now, cat litters are based on various factors, ranging from odor, absorbing capability, clumping ability, etc.
Moreover, many cats refuse to use cat litter and go outside the litter box. So, not all cat litters are ideal for all cats. Hence, always do some research and then find cat litter that is ideal for your cat.
So, are you ready to welcome some new cat staples to your home? Here is a quick guide where you will traverse through different cat litter types that you can purchase to make your cats comfortable.
Types of cat litter
Based on the added attractants, cat litter is available in scented and non-scented formats. Here is a table to help differentiate both types of cat litter.
Scented Cat Litter
Unscented Cat Litter
|Scented cat litters are made to mask the odor of cat urine and waste, but a few cats may find issues in such fragrance filled cat litters as the strong odor may tend to irritate them.||The unscented version of cat litter does not contain any perfume fragrance. It contains natural extracts that absorb the odor emitted from the cat’s feces and urine.|
Based on how the cat parent clean-up or empty the box, cat litters are available in two variants – clump and non-clump.
|Clumping Cat Litter||Non-Clumping Cat Litter|
|Clumping cat litter forms solid clumps that are easy to remove. As a result, it makes it easier for the cat parents to scoop the waste. They also mask the odor and do not require full replacement as compared to their non-clump litter counterparts.||Non-clumping litter boxes allow the users to dump the contents when the litter box tends to smell or when needed.|
Based on the type of material used for the manufacturing of cat litter, they are categorized as follow:
Clay litter stands as the most popular and widely used cat litter method used by cat parents. They are easily available and convenient to use and thus found in houses with cats. The clay cat litters are available in dust-free and low dust variants & scented and non-scented format. There are a few cat litters that contain attractants to attract the cats to use the litter boxes.
A few of these litter incorporates large pieces of clay, whereas a few are made using fine clay particles. However, the primary purpose of clay is to absorb the cat waste and transform them into soft and damp textures when cats pass out their waste onto the litter.
- The quick clumping ability of clay litter allows easy removal and clean up
- They fight odor efficiently
- They do not require frequent change of the litter
- They have dust particles
- They are non-biodegradable
Silica gel litter
Silica gel litter is trending these days, and slowly more and more cat owners are taking a turn towards adopting silica gel cat litter. Owing to the rising demand, more and more companies are entering this market to design silica cat litter, which is more convenient to use in comparison to its clay counterparts. It also does not force the cat parents to scoop out the waste regularly as it traps the waste within and does not contain any dust particles.
The silica cat litter lasts for a long time and spreads out a pleasant odor that attracts the cats to use them. A few of them also have a monitoring system installed that allows the cat parent to monitor cat health by paying attention to the color indicators. They are comparatively expensive than the clay litter but is worth all the money when you glance at the advantages it offers over the clay litter.
- They can be used in continuation even for a month and do not require frequent change.
- They are dust-free.
- They absorb odor efficiently.
- They are a bit expensive.
- A few kittens may not like the idea of stepping in a litter that gives them a crystal-like feel on their paws.
Pine litter is one of the best cat litter that you can use to keep the cat urine odor at bay. This kind of cat litter is made using pine trees and has low dust extracts. Pine litter is lightweight in nature, is highly absorbing, and softer in comparison to clay litter.
One of the best things about pine litter is that it is eco-friendly and effectively fight the foul odor. Pine litter also has clumping and non-clumping variants. They are available in cylindrical pellets and ground-up pine litters. Users can pick on one as per their choice based on their preference.
- They deodorize the urine smell naturally
- They are made using natural pinewood products and can be used for compost.
- A few cat owners may find the pine scent to be strong.
As the name suggests, wheat litter is another eco-friendly option for cat litter, made using wheat extracts. It can be flushed easily and also controls the odors. They do not contain any added fragrance and perfume that can irritate the cats. When a feline passes on its urine on the wheat litter, the same gets transformed into sawdust and can be easily be gouged out from the litter box.
- They absorb the odor
- They are dust-free in nature
- They are also earth-conscious and environmentally safe
- They may not form firm clumps equivalent to their clay counterparts and needs careful storage to save them from pests
Though grass litter is not available in abundance, it is another alternative that you can consider using over the traditional cat litter. They are lightweight and soft and have low dust particles. Talking in terms of appearance, it looks similar to the pine litter and is available in a dried format. They are biodegradable substances and are an eco-friendly option to consider to develop good littering habits in your cats. Grass litter does not contain any added chemicals or dye. They clump the waste to allow easy removal from the litter box.
- They have an excellent clumping capacity
- They are low in dust particles
- They have great odor control and soft texture
- They are easy to scoop
- They tend to be expensive
For cats who have undergone surgery and are in the recovery phase, paper litter can be a bit soothing for their paws. Paper litters are made using shredded papers and recycled materials and have less or no dust constituents. The lack of dust in the paper litter arrangement does not irritate the cats and their wound when they step inside the litter for a leak.
The paper litter also does not have any fragrance and can absorb the smell. The downside to this kind of litter disposition does not tend to clump and can’t be used for a long span, but on the contrary, it can take charge of the odor efficiently.
- They do not have any dust particles.
- They are eco-conscious.
- They are available at reasonable prices and are well suited for cats who have undergone surgery.
- They cannot fight odor as efficiently as their other litter counterparts
- They cannot be flushed and may require a frequent change after use.
Walnut litter is made using walnut shells and is the best out of waste kind of litter composition that is eco-friendly at the same time. They tend to be naturally fresh and are available in a multitude of varieties. They have a fine texture and tend to clump quickly. They have a high level of odor control and have less or almost nil dust particles. They can be flushed safely and do not tend to clog.
- They are biodegradable
- They have low dust particles
- They can absorb the urine of cats easily
- They are made using renewable materials.
- Clumping is not smooth as clay litter
Corn litter is another cat litter option that a cat parent can opt for. They are biodegradable and can absorb the urine of cats efficiently. They are made using the kernels of dried corns and are usually scented and lightweight in nature. The corn cat litters have added attractants to attract cats to use it, though a few users have issues with its clumping ability.
- They are earth-conscious
- They are a bit pricey
Should you flush or not flush cat litter?
Flushing off cat litter in the toilet is easy. A few cat parents prefer to scoop out the waste and flush the same in the toilet instead of putting it inside a bag or trash bins. However, experts suggest that cat owners shouldn’t flush off the waste inside the commode as it may contain parasites, namely Toxoplasma gondii, which can be transmitted through the fecal matter of cats.
The sewage further goes to the rivers, seas, and oceans can cause a serious threat to marine life due to the cat waste that goes along with the sewage matter. Though every cat may not be infected with the parasite, as a step of prevention, consider refraining yourself from flushing the cat waste to save lives.
Sitter, pusher, or digger?
When you talk about the toilet routine of cats, they may differ from each other in terms of being a sitter, pusher, and digger. Here is a table to help you understand how their habits differ:
Type of litter to be used
|Sitter||These cats sit on the litter box without making a fuss.||Clumping and non-clumping litter|
|Pusher||Pusher felines tend to make a mess around the box.||Clumping litter stands to be suitable for them as they help in maintaining the trays. A tray liner can also be used to prevent the wetting of the bottom part of the tray.|
|Digger||If your cats dig the litter material till the bottom, then they come under the digger category. It is a sure shot sign that you may be required to fill the litter frequently.||Clumping and non-clumping, both variants can be used for diggers. Litter liner can prove to be helpful for cats who tend to be a digger.|
How to improve your cat’s litter box experience?
When you hit the internet to get cat litter for your cute little furry friends, you may find a multitude of options available. But the catch lies in picking on one that well suits your cat and your budget as well. Also, make sure that you meet the below-mentioned criteria to ensure a good experience for your felines:
Choose the right spot:
Having a pet at home may tempt you to stash the litter box in some spooky space where it does not catch the attention of the people residing at home. But you need to understand that cats are social creatures, and they prefer to pee at a calm place where they can feel safe. So do not keep the litter boxes near machines that make noise or a crowded space. Choose a location that is a bit calm and quiet and allows your cats to eliminate in peace.
No cover box:
A covered litter box indeed hides the cat waste and masks the odor, but the cat odors are strong, and slowly, you will realize that it’s a better option to keep it open. Otherwise, it can get smelly. Also, using a covered litter box may give the cats a feeling of being trapped as they may find it challenging to find an escape if preyed on.
Scoop out regularly:
Developing the habits of using a litter box is a savior for cat parents, but you need to know that cats might refuse using a dirty litter box. So make sure that you scoop out the waste from the litter box regularly. It will not only entice your kitties to use the litter boxes but will also offer odor control and protect your kitty from health issues.
One should replace the litter boxes once a year, no matter how they maintain them. With time, the litter odor passes on to the litter boxes. Also, the scratches accrued on the boxes can become a breeding place for bacteria. Thus it is better to change the box once every year.
Go for an unscented cat litter box:
Scented cat litter aids in controlling the odor and may seem appealing to the cat parents, but it may turn out to be nauseating for the felines as they may not like the fruity smell while doing their business. The fragrance may also force them to go and eliminate in some other place. So, it is always wise to go for non-scented litter boxes.
How to switch on to a different cat litter?
If you have picked on a cat litter variant and are using it regularly for your cats, switching on to a different cat litter needs to be done slowly and steadily. Your cats may adapt to the new litter system if you proceed slowly. One way of starting this transition is by adding a small amount of another cat litter to the old one and making your cats adhere to it at a slow pace. And gradually, your felines will alter their behavior and welcome their new litter boxes. Cat owners can also consider laying down different options in front of their cats to check their preferences.
Cat litters are an essential staple for cats and are highly helpful in developing good littering habits in pet cats. They help in burying the feces and urine waste of cats and also prevents odor. All the afore-mentioned cat litter has the same usage, but they may vary a bit talking in terms of features and masking ability.
So, now since you know the differences amongst them all, what are you waiting for? Pick on one of the above and make yourself and your cats happy with no fussy faces that spot poop and urine stains here and there in the house.