Shopping for the right type of Cat Litter isn’t always so easy, there are hundreds or brands and numerous cat litter types. First let’s talk about the basics of cat litter before getting in the various types of litters at out there and the benefits and selling features they provide. Cat Litter is a specially designed and engineered substance that is meant to absorb bodily fluids and clump away fecal matter that they come in contact with. Cats and Kittens are easily trained and they’re poured inside a device called a cat litter box which vary in size depending on the size of your cat, a rule of thumb is the larger the litter boxes the easier it is to train as they like to seek comfort while they’re doing their business, the best out there are those that are housed or feature a covering of some sort.
Now let’s get back to Litter. In the early 1900’s domesticated cat owners didn’t have access to todays modern technology used in litter, most households used sand or dirt or allowed their cats to roam outside their place of living to alleviate themselves as this caused a mess out on the streets and sidewalks as there weren’t any alternatives that existed. Cats urine and fecal matter is known to stench really bad and stain flooring and any and all fibers that their matter comes in contact with and their poo is known to stick to objects if not removed right away. In fact, back then there weren’t too many deodorizers, sprays and stain removers so god knows what they used to get rid of those horrible smella. While cat ownership always remained high there was always an increasing need to solve this issue.
Sometime during the mid-19th century there came about a pioneer by the name of Edward Lowe who came up with the idea and had invented to specially develop a substance known as clay that was an all-natural deodorizing substance, he had coined with the name Kitty Litter. This litter was more than just a natural deodorizer but also provided the ability to clump their sticky fecal matter around the litter and after numerous consumer testing had been conducted it took off like wild-fire and people starting adopting this litter in almost every household.
Fast forward to the 21st century, today with the advancement of modern technology and lots of time there are dozens of options available in numerous substances. Let’s take a deep dive into the major clumping categories that exist today to find the best out there.
Clay Cat Litter: (Also known as Bentonite Clay Litter)
As opposed to the Clay Cat Litter invented almost a hundred years ago, todays version of clay is much different with tremendous improvements and a substance called Bentonite Clay. Clay Cat litter is what we call granulated which means they’re blended into a powder substance and soft in nature. Today’s version of bentonite clay litter used various binding materials such as starch which further assists when binding to feces and with further improved liquid absorbing and odor removing properties. Clay is one of the best when it comes to its ability to absorb urine or liquids as the inner Sodium Bentonite substance can absorb up to approximately 14 times it’s mass in fluid, that’s right. They’re great for owners looking to limit their trips to their local pet stores.
Bentonite Kitty Litter is also known to dry relatively quickly and there are numerous versions of clay litter some are unscented with added all-natural ingredients and mixtures and certain cat litters are available in an array of fragrances such as eucalyptus, green apple you name it and it exists. Since Cat Litter is granulated some owners believe that they may pose a significant health risk as various silica dust particles may get into the lungs and cause respiratory illnesses and infections since cats like to scratch around not to mention when ingested Clay can cause numerous health ailments that can cause long-term damage their digestive tracts and cause lots of bloating and gas-related issues. There are also certain chemicals in fragrances that aren’t all natural that can pose added health concerns and risks. Clay is also derived through a process called mining which is not so beneficial to the environment. They’re also messier than say a litter options that are less in granulation such as corn and wood-based litter.
We often suggest when shopping for Cat Litter to read the ingredients and try to buy something with fragrances that don’t have any or limited chemicals that aren’t as harmful, always do your research and read the labels on the packaging, While litter of this type is always made commercially available that doesn’t mean they’re great for your cat. Always weigh your options with a grain of salt. While there are many pros there are also cons. There’s also another option if you’re looking for a safer solution and you want something that’ll last in the clay family you should look into Non-Clumping Clay Cat Litter, basically this form of Cat Litter is less in chemicals but doesn’t have the same clumping properties as your typical clay litter, this option doesn’t have the chemical Bentonite that is widely used to clump around fecal matter, this option is typically less in cost and you’ll have to constantly scoop around the litter manually and on a more frequent manner to cover the feces. This option doesn’t absorb odors as well but it gets the job done nonetheless. Some Cats and Kittens enjoy this version of litter so it’s always a great idea to test it out at first.
Crystal Cat Litter
This type of Cat Litter uses a gel called Silica Gel and they’re basically little gel beads that absorb water. Silica Gel Beads are basically a combination of both Oxygen and Water and a chemical called Silica Dioxide that allows the beads to form, they’re mixed then dried into tiny little crystal-like ball structures. Crystal Cat Litter is one of the better longer-lasting options as depending on usage they typically last from 25 – 35 days that’s right just once a month and they need changing meaning less trips to the pet store. They’re available in Clumping options with Sodium Bentonite and Non-Clumping properties without Bentonite.
Unlike cat litters that are granulated or dusty in texture, this form of Cat Litter is way less messier and poses a lesser health concern as they dust doesn’t get into their lungs and especially if you purchase this form of cat litter without the chemical Bentonite. Gel Cat Litter is typically higher in cost then many other options due to the higher manufacturing costs and the great thing is that they’re also Eco-Friendly made of renewable sources and it’s even biodegradable. We recommend avoiding buying cat litter for kittens as like babies they ingest many objects and it’s not good for ingestion as they can cause intestinal issues. Gel Litter is also lighter in weight making it more convenient when carrying. Some manufacturers even offer a mixture of Clay and Gel litter among other mixtures. They’ll less gentle on the paws as opposed to sand and granulated type litters. They absorb higher concentration of liquids, it’s good to have a scooper handy if you’re avoiding Bentonite. Always read the labels.
Tofu Cat Litter
Tofu Cat Litter is the newest form of Cat Litter on the market and very popular and the safest form of Litter on the market today. Tofu cat litter is typically longer in shape, it kind of looks like goat food or farm food, its extremely light in weight and it’s even safe for ingesting. Tofu Litter was recently invented in the 21st Century, its 100% completely all natural and they have Natural Clumping Abilities, they don’t dig up dirt or dust so it’s safe for their lungs as there are no chemicals nor anything that could possible be inhaled. Tofu Litter for Cats are also safe for Kittens and in-fact they’re high in protein (Still not good for ingesting as it’s processed). They don’t cause any intestinal or ingestion issues and it’s always wise to make sure they don’t have any chemical additives like Bentonite.
They’re completely environmentally safe and they absorb decent concentrations of liquids and they naturally clump around fecal matter better than all other all-natural cat litters around. This type of Cat Litter is typically vacuum packed and some versions of litter are even slightly crushed. They’re heavier in weight and more expensive and they last around 2 weeks or so, but again it’s the safest option out there.
Check this out, not only is this form of litter safe for the environment but they’re Biodegradable and they further biodegrade in liquid so it’s 100% safe for flushing down the toilet in-case you missed garbage pick-up. Simply add some pieces of Cat Litter in water and watch it completely disappear in a matter of a minute. That’s how safe they are for the environment. A fabulous option for those that are only looking for the safest litter around. They don’t absorb scent all that well but, they’re safe. They’re also available in Scented options, perhaps something naturally scented is a good idea or it’s nice to keep an all-natural deodorizer around to give it a nice spray every now and then and have a scooper handy a few shuffles and you’re good to go. Pet Life gives these a thumbs up. We would recommend avoiding buying this form of Cat Litter if your cat is allergic or has any dietary restrictions to Soy.
Corn Cat Litter
Corn-based Cat Litter is another excellent option for both Cats and Kittens, this form of Cat Litter naturally clumps around Fecal Matter and absorbs Urine well. Corn Cat Litter is typically crushed and not granulated and its’s 100% All-Natural that makes is perfect for the environment and one of the most popular and frequently purchased litter options around. They’re Biodegradable and decompose in the earth.
Corn Litter is also extremely lightweight and so easy to dispose of, some ingredients only list Corn which means you known it’s safe. Since they’re crushed they’re also easier on their paws when sitting or lounging on. Since they clump well naturally, they help assist in the removal of odors. They’re also available in Scented options and in many cases, they’re mixed in with natural Pine wood to provide a nice natural fragrance without any need to add any chemical fragrances. The Corn itself also has a natural yummy smell to them which is great so you don’t need to add any fragrances.
Look to buy versions of litter that are crushed rather larger chunks as the smaller the most likely they won’t effect or cause too many intestinal issues and the smaller they’re crushed the better they are for flushing down the toilet, and speaking of flushing down the toilet, they’re well priced so your money will be put to good use. We would recommend avoiding buying this form of Cat Litter if your cat is allergic or has any dietary restrictions to Corn.
Pine or Wood Cat Litter
Pine cat Litter is always mighty fine. This form of Cat Litter is crushed and less dusty than clay kitty litter. Pine Cat Litter is derived from Lumber Mills as leftover saw dust is collected and then compressed further through machinery into tiny little pellets that is then used or recycled into Cat Litter, they’re collected in bags and then packaged thereafter, a great way to save trees by making use of this byproduct and it’s 100% Eco-friendly. They’re usually very minute amounts of leftover saw dust in each bag but it’s so minimal that they’ll barely get into the lungs and don’t cause any intestinal or lung problems. They do however convert back into a sawdust form after it comes into contact with liquid however that sawdust usually sticks to the urine so it doesn’t disperse into the air as much as Clay does. If you’re looking to be safer then users can also shop for larger wood chips without saw dust since they’re larger although tougher on the paws. Pine Litter is typically circulated every 2 weeks or so per kitten or cat.
Many love the smell of fresh pine wood and the smell completely helps eliminate any odors emanating from both Urine and Fecal Matter with higher absorbency levels and mediocre clumping capabilities. Some are mixed with corn and some versions feature Bentonite or slightly added chemicals that help improve their ability to clump.
Pine Litter is also very light which is great when taking out the trash and they’re inexpensive. Some people can even use any leftover wood shavings for those not interested in buying, but always safer to buy as they’re processed in a way that makes it safer.
Recycled Paper Litter
Cat Litter made of Recycled paper is then recycled and formed into pellets. This form of Cat Litter is fantastic for the environment and they’re usually composed of leftover newspapers and periodicals that the local sanitation department properly recycles. When we recycle paper, we’re helping save the environment and in some cases in ways we never knew.
Paper Cat Litter is 100% Biodegradable and they’re even safe for flushing down the toilet (As is Toilet Paper) and they even absorb water greater than clay. It’s also 100% dust free so it’s a healthier alternative and won’t get into those lungs.
Paper is so light which means it’s a bit messier as those pellets can be popped in and out of the Cat Litter box every now and then but think about the footprint you’re avoiding. They’re safe for both cats and kittens and they naturally clump.
Since Paper doesn’t provide any fragrance it’s scent free which means it’ll leave a stench and since paper is light it’s also transparent which means water or liquids always drip to the bottom of your Cat Litter box as water is heavier in weight than paper and that means you’ll have to constantly scoop the bottom of the litter box every so often. Paper Litter will leave a higher dent in your wallet as opposed to clay but it’s still cheaper than many other options around. Paper Litter isn’t always so easy to find these days but if you’re on your way to the news-stand trying picking up a copy of the Feline Times at your local pet store.
Walnut Cat Litter
Cat Litter that is Walnut based is a fantastic eco-friendly and plant-based Kitty Litter solution for those who are looking for something that is both safe for the environment and natural in smell (Fantastic Natural-Odor killing abilities). Walnut Cat Litter is typically heavier than most litters around but their walnut shells are crushed and they offer high-clumping capabilities and that includes high liquid absorbency capacities.
Like similar corn-based litter, walnut-based litter is biodegradable and compostable. They’re very low in dust but they’re sharper in texture so some cats might find them uncomfortable. Walnut-based litter is great because they last a long time and many cat owners have started gravitating to Walnut for that reason alone. They’re priced somewhere in the middle but it lasts.
Pay close attention to the labels, some Walnut-based cat litters do contain wheat so if your cat has allergies to Gluten that it’s probably best to avoid s with most litters they can stick to paws when moist and cats love to lick their adorable little paws and claws. Otherwise Walnut is pretty safe and they’re also flushable.
If you’re looking for something similar to Walnut Cat Litter than try looking into Coconut Cat Litter as Coconut litter offers the same exact benefits as Walnut and Corn-based cat litter the only difference is it’s typically priced higher in cost and they’re made of crushed coconut shells. Since coconut is scarcer than Walnut or Corn it’s also more expensive in price and that’s why it’s not so popular but non-the-less its considered to be one of the safest cat litters made available today if you’re willing to open your wallet, they also aren’t really great for flushing but they’re light in weight and last well over a month depending on their urine and bowel movements which ranks it up there at the top in terms of safety.
Grass Cat Litter
Ok, let’s stop and think for a minute how does that even work? Well, grass litter isn’t made of actual pieces of grass but rather it’s made of grass seeds. Grass Seeds is among the top Cat Litters made commercially available today it’s extremely popular among cat enthusiasts as grass is 100% completely natural. Not only is it totally natural, it has one of the best all-natural clumping properties around since they’re small little seeds that basically stick to just about anything, they’re about the size in-between a sesame seed and a poppy seed and they won’t harm your cat or kitten if they get ingested, there’s also no powdery or dusty substance and they feel lovely on their paws almost like a massage and many cats even prefer grass over sand. They also have a silky texture and it’s just so easy to scoop and we forgot to mention they’re one of the lightest cat litters made available on the market. We all know they’re Eco-friendly but just don’t flush these tiny seeds down the toilet, they’re seeds hello. They’re firm in texture and they last a long time say over a month. They’re so-so on their ability to absorb (So-So doesn’t mean bad by any means)
The main con of Grass Seed Cat Litter is the expensive costs. You’d think how on earth is that possible? Grass is everywhere it’s in our yard, it’s everywhere we look. Well, the problem is that grass is harder to harvest through it’s processing methods than say many synthetic or easier to harvest plant-based cat litters such as Walnuts, Coconuts and even Clay substances etc. Therefore due to the manufacturing process it’s typically heavier on the wallet however, some might even argue that Grass Seeds are the best cat litter types around for so many reasons explained above. Another downside about Grass Seeds are that they’re really not so great in controlling odor so scoop often. Also, if your cat is allergic to grass than stay away.
The Best Tip You Ever Read:
If you’re in the process of training your cat and you want them to alleviate themselves in a relaxing manner and help promote their ability to release their bowels more easily try sprinkling in some catnip inside their litter box. It’s a great way to relax their bowels.
There are many other kinds of cat litters made commercially available, whatever you buy it’s very important to pay a visit to your local vet to make sure your cat isn’t allergic to Wheat, Corn, Soy, among other foods or even chemicals or dust particles that could be go into their lungs or be ingested. It’s also important to dissert between the various types of litters with pellets that are bad for ingestion with kittens as they constantly lick their paws and most if not all litters can stick to their bottom of their paws or feet and we know how much they love to lick themselves even their paws. So always buy with caution.
Aside for many of the litters made available, many contain Baking Soda, Baking Soda is used in many types of cat litters including those produced with the name Arm and Hammer. We use this for cooking and it’s a chemical used for cleaning. We prefer not to comment on this substance as we don’t have enough research to understand whether this is healthy for cats or kittens due to the lack of science and research. It’s still a chemical, while we understand that scented litter or litter with fragrances have chemicals, we do know that Baking Soda is a fantastic odor eliminator for those that only want to be unscented, that doesn’t mean it’s any better for your cat or kitten. So just be cautious with anything you shop for and we can’t stress enough always do your research.
Our Top Pick (Not such an easy decision to make)
Tofu Cat Litter.
It’s the best out there for the environment, it clumps well, it’s lightweight and it’s not harmful when ingested and they absorb in water and they’re biodegradable and compo-stable. Regardless of price it’s the safest option out there. Test it out and try a bag of our tofu cat litter see for yourself.