The first manufactured cat litter appeared in 1947, and after a short time it has become an absolute must-have for many cat owners. A variety of materials, ways of using it, attractive prices and accessibility of cat litter undoubtedly make it easier to keep a pet.
Choosing a cat litter, first of all you should take into account preferences and habits of your cat. Watching your cat’s behavior will help you understand it the pet likes new toilet or not. If you ignore this point, it may become your trouble: some stubborn cats refusing to use a litter box may consider a carpet or a flower pot more attractive.
Safety of raw materials used for cat litter also should influence the owner’s choice. A careless kitten may swallow delicious smelling granules. Dust flying when the cat is digging may get into the lungs. Flavored and/or silica get cat litter may cause allergies both in pets and their owners. Priority should be given to those products that have labels “environmentally friendly product”, “bio”, “eco”, “not subjected to chemical treatment”, “safe if swallowed.”
Another important factor is the price. There is a number of cat litter varieties sold at bargain prices. However, as a rule, cheap production quality leaves a lot to be desired: cat litter should be changed after every visit of your pet, what significantly increases consumption. High quality cat litter brands don’t require daily change.
According to the properties cat litters can be divided into absorbing and clumping ones. The former consists of absorbent granules that absorb moisture without changing their shape. Besides, a great advantage of such litter type is that it needs to be changed only once a week, if you put sufficient amount into the litter box (a layer about 5-8 cm, usually it is indicated on the package). Clumping cat litter requires constant but partial replacement: granules absorb moisture and form a dense clump, which is easy to remove with a scooper. Poor quality clumping fillers fail to “keep their shape” getting smeared on the container walls.
Cat litters can be made of different materials, each of which has its pros and cons. Some litters can be mixed, as indicated on the package. Granule size depends on the preferences of the cat, but in most cases it plays no special role. However, for long-coated cats large granules are considered to be more suitable, as they are less “sticky”.
A new product in pet industry is a biological cat litter made of wool, grain husks, corn cobs or paper. This ecologically pure product can be disposed of in the sewer and is inexpensive. Cons: light, can be spread around the apartment and sometimes may stick to the cat’s coat.
A cat litter made of chip wood is a little bit more expensive, but also absolutely harmless. Pellets made of pressed wood chips absorb moisture quite well and aren’t likely to be spread throughout the apartment; they don’t stick to the paws and coat and have a pleasant smell. Cons: in large quantities they shouldn’t be disposed of in the sewer, aren’t able to “lock” the smell of mature animals. They work for kittens and neutered animals perfectly, because their urine has no noxious fumes.
Mineral cat litters are produced from various types of clay; sometimes with the addition of other natural materials. There can be both absorbent and clumping. Today it is the most popular type of cat litter available. Relatively inexpensive natural material absorbs moisture and odors perfectly. Most cats like this type of litter. High quality clay cat litters don’t make dust and don’t stick to the paws and coat. Cons: can’t be disposed of in the sewer and sometimes cats may leave white marks on the floor after a visit to the litter box.
Silica cat litter consists of granules which have a very high level of absorbency. They are produced the following way: silica gel (silicic acid salts) gets dehydrated and milled to form granules. In some cases, a chemical treatment is used to increase the adsorption level. Pros: aesthetic appearance (bright crystals make think of cleanliness and freshness), granules ideally keep their shape and don’t leave marks on the litter box, hold moisture well (almost 100% of its weight) and lock the smell, don’t require frequent change. Cons: high cost and the fact that they may be harmful if swallowed. In addition, some cats don’t like silicate litter for a kind of crunch that appears while using the litter box.
Indicator cat litter is the same silica gel granules, but impregnated with cobalt salts. Initial color changes as granules get filled with moisture, what is signal that it is time to change the cat litter.
Buying a new type of cat litter for the first time we don’t recommend choosing a big pack. It would be much wiser to buy a small package to check the quality of raw materials and to make sure you pet likes the new thing.