When you are buying litter for the first time, here are a few things to consider. First of all, know that the most important determining factor in which litter you choose will end up being whether your cat likes it or not! If your cat will not use the litter, try a different style until you find one that he does like. One of my cats, Fender, is very picky and will only use Dr. Elsey’s Cat Attract. Second, know all of your options and choose the litter that works best for your lifestyle and your cat!
- Clay Litter-First litters made for indoor use. Dried clay that absorbs urine and allows burying of feces. Can be messy and you will have to clean up clay dust from around the house. Can be more inexpensive than other styles of litter.
- Grain Litter-Natural, biodegradable litter made out of grains like corn, wheat and pine, wood chips, and even citrus peels! Less mess tracked out of the litter box than with other styles.
- Crystal Litter-Silicone based pellets that absorb urine, the moisture from feces, and odors. You can use less of this than other litters because it is super-absorbent. Usually more expensive than other styles of litter.
- Paper Litter-Biodegradable litter made of recycled paper. Very absorbent and good at odor control.
- Odor Control Litter-Uses a scent, baking soda, enzymes, or some other means to attempt to neutralize or overwhelm any odors. There is no substitute, however, for cleaning your litter box often.
- Clumping Litter-Causes urine to clump together so that it can be scooped out easily, vs. non-clumping litter where the urine is simply absorbed into pellets and the whole box will be dumped after some amount of time.
No matter which type of litter you and your cat decide on, the secret to being odor-free and cat-approved is to clean your litter box often. That’s the only foolproof method to success!
Picking a Litter Box
When choosing a litter box, remember that you need at least one litter box per cat. Make sure the box is big enough for your cat to use comfortably.
Be prepared to clean your litter boxes anywhere from every other day to twice a day depending on how many cats you have and to keep down odors to your liking.
You may also like to use a litter mat to help catch any excess pellets or dust on your cat’s paws when exiting the litter box.
Your cat’s litter box should be placed in area that is safe and the cat ALWAYS has access to without fear of dogs, children, or stressful noises.
You can have something as simple as a large rectangular pan that’s a few inches deep as your litter box, to a domed litter box that will give your cat more privacy, or even a self-cleaning litter box. My husband and I felt that a custom litter box works best for us! My husband installed a cat door on the wall leading from our office to our garage. Inside the garage, he built a box around the cat door that houses our litter pans. The top of the box can be lifted for easy access while cleaning.
A Few More Considerations
If you are switching your cat from one litter to a new type, do so gradually. Replace part of his old litter with new litter, and increase the amount every few days until he is using only the new litter. Some cats may have a difficult time adjusting to a new litter and you may find messes outside the litter box. You can try a different litter, you can try to be patient and see if your cat comes around, or you can go back to the litter you know works.
If you have not made any changes to litter, your box is cleaned regularly, and your cat starts to have problems using the litter box, you should go to your vet as there may be a health concern.
You may want to consider using a natural litter with young kittens as they are prone to eat litter. A natural litter would also be safer for a cat who gets litter stuck in his feet and then swallows the pellets when grooming.
Which cat litter and litter box style have you found to work best in your home?