Cat litter – what to choose, types

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Before a cat appears in our house, we must ensure that its natural needs are met. In addition to the obvious issue of nutrition, in the case of purrs, the other side of the coin is also extremely important: the litter box, or rather its filling. Which cat litter is the best? What to consider when choosing them? Economic considerations, cat preferences, and maybe something else?

There are several main types of litter on the market: natural plant fibers (wooden, corn), bentonite clay, and silicone or gel ones. Manufacturers come up with more and more variations: clumping or non-clumping, aromatic, with different granulation.

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Litter made of natural plant fibers

They are produced from waste, e.g. from wood processing plants or from corn fibers, which are agricultural waste. They biodegrade quite quickly, so they do not pose a threat to the natural environment. They are also quite cheap.

The advantage of this type of material is that it can be disposed of by flushing it down the toilet. So we don’t have to throw them into the garbage. In this way, we reduce the amount of work and the amount of ubiquitous dust. Such litters come in two variants:

  • clumping – you can pour more substrate into the litter box, and its granules will stick around the cat’s dirt. By selecting the resulting lumps, we extend the time between complete litter changes. They absorb odors very well.
  • non-caking materials which disintegrate under the influence of moisture. In this case, we sprinkle the cat’s toilet with a small amount of bedding, and we clean the litter box at least every other day.

Bentonite litter

Bentonite is a natural raw material of volcanic origin. It has a wide range of applications, from the construction industry to horticulture, to cosmetics and medicine. It has strong absorbent properties and increases its volume in contact with water. It is the main component of fuller’s earth, which has been used as a cleansing agent for hundreds of years. No wonder that it is also used as input material for litter boxes.

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On contact with cat excrement, it forms a kind of gel that can be removed with a spatula by partially cleaning the litter box. It also absorbs odors quite well. However, compared to other types of hygiene flooring, it is very dusty. For long-haired cats, products with a larger granulation are recommended, which reduces the spread of soil particles on their paws and subsequent cleaning throughout the house.

Silicone litter

They are hygienic products that absorb odors quite well. Hygroscopic, they can be thrown into the toilet. On contact with a large amount of water they “fizz”, that is, they dissolve. If the cat’s paws are wet, litter particles can stick to the fur, which is uncomfortable for the pet. The granules do not stick to the faeces, which can be easily removed from the litter box with a spatula. So the litter stays in the litter box, and this affects the economy of the product. However, compared to bentonite and biodegradable substrates, it is the least economical. It is a plastic material, so a large percentage of cats are difficult to get used to using this type of cat litter.

When making a decision: odorless or fragrant, we often follow our own preferences, not the choice of the cat. On the other hand, if the cat does not like the smell of the litter, it will not use the litter box. From the pet’s point of view, the best litter is unflavoured.

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About this category

Animal at home is a project derived from the Polish portal dedicated to domestic pets, which I run. This blog category features the best articles I have created with pet experts. Together, we help educate their current and future owners.

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Jakub Markiewicz
Jakub Markiewicz
Hi, I am the author of the blog and series of thematic portals since 2013. I have nearly 15 years of experience in working in the media, marketing, public relations and IT. If you are interested in cooperation, you would like me to write about something or test a product - let me know.