Cat Litter – Which one could work for you?
Let’s talk about litter – cat litter.
And don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you all the details about cat faeces or describe the different ways it can smell – I think we know enough about that! Instead, I’m going to discuss the different types of cat litter you can buy and explain the pros and cons of each so that you can figure out which litter will work best for you – and more importantly, your cat(s).
Cat litter might not seem like that big of a deal to you, but using a litter that works how you want it to can make it much easier.
What are the different types of Cat Litter?
Let’s discuss the nine types of cat litter and to be honest, I hadn’t heard of a few of them!
Some of the cat litters we will discuss are eco-friendly, biodegradable, compostable or, even made of 100% natural, plant-based material. So with that in mind, I’m sure you will find one to suit your needs. Whilst it’s obviously all about personal preference, it’s a good idea to prioritise what your cats want. For example, sometimes cats will reject certain cat litter because of the texture. This is because they want something that feels comfortable and safe for their paws to stand in and dig with.
So, let’s begin with the cat litter options.
1. Clay Cat Litter
The first cat litter I’ll talk about is clay litter, which is probably what you imagine when hearing the words ‘cat litter’. It’s one of the earliest cat litters to be used, with records suggesting it was first used in 1947.
What is Clay Litter?
The traditional clay litter is formed when the clay is crushed, dried in a kiln and then crushed again.
What are the benefits of Clay Litter?
Clay litter can absorb its own weight in urine and it also separates the urine whilst having some natural odour control too.
What are the limitations of Clay Litter?
Unfortunately, the dust from clay litter can be inhaled which can ultimately cause irritation, allergic reactions or possibly asthma attacks – so it’s not suitable for cats that experience breathing issues.
2. Walnut Cat Litter
Walnut cat litter is great for cats and great for the planet too. It’s an eco-friendly, biodegradable and clumping litter – amazing, right?
What is Walnut Litter?
Walnut litter is made from all-natural walnut shells.
What are the benefits of Walnut Litter?
Walnut litter is good for neutralising odours and is often said to do this better than clay, pine, corn and wheat litters (something to keep in mind). Unlike clay cat litter, walnut litter is virtually dust-free meaning that it is much safer for cats with respiratory conditions. There are also no added chemicals used in deodorising this litter and it can absorb urine three times better than clay litter!
What are the limitations of Walnut Litter?
To be completely honest with you, I can’t really find any limitations! Whilst doing my research, it seems to be that walnut litter is an ‘A star’ cat litter.
3. Tofu Cat Litter
Like walnut cat litter, tofu litter is a biodegradable litter that can be flushed down the toilet – how convenient! Being a cat-sitter, I have realised that it is very common for cat owners to keep their cat(s’) litter trays in their bathroom, which makes this litter very appropriate.
What is Tofu Litter?
Tofu litter is made of food-grade soy pulp, that would otherwise end up in landfills.
What are the benefits of Tofu Litter?
Tofu litter is one of the longest-lasting, easiest to clean and odour-absorbent cat litters available on the market. The 100% raw material has a great clumping effect, making it very easy to scoop. It is also non-toxic for pets and humans if consumed, although I wouldn’t recommend you test that.
What are the limitations of Tofu Litter?
Similarly to clay cat litter, tofu litter can sometimes cause respiratory issues and I say sometimes because it seems to depend on the brand. Some brands of tofu litter can be rather dusty which can of course cause an asthma attack on your cat if inhaled too much.
4. Silica Gel Litter
Silica gel litter is a mineral-based product that is 100% natural – it is a crystallised litter formed from a silica gel.
What is Silica Gel Litter?
Silica gel litter contains quartz sand and minerals that are formed into tiny pearls.
What are the benefits of Silica Gel Litter?
The biodegradable litter has a unique atom structure which means it can hold on to a large amount of liquid (in this case, urine). It is also very good at neutralising odours. Whilst this litter obviously hasn’t been designed for consumption, if your cat was to digest a few of the pearls, they are more than likely to be completely fine and have no reaction, as this litter is non-toxic and safe if it gets on their fur too.
What are the limitations of Silica Gel Litter?
Even though silica gel litter is great at holding onto large amounts of urine, it might not last as long as it should. Especially if the litter tray is heavily used (maybe in a household with more than one cat), the silica gel crystals can break down prematurely and create dust – and we know what dust means. As we discussed earlier, dust can cause irritations, allergic reactions and asthma attacks in cats.
5. Diatomaceous Earth Litter
Before you ask, no, I have no idea how to pronounce this one either.
What is Diatomaceous Earth Litter?
This cat litter is made of diatoms, which is a crushed fossil of marine life and it is 100% natural and environmentally friendly.
What are the benefits of Diatomaceous Earth Litter?
Diatomaceous litter is an extremely absorbent, non-clumping cat litter and works very quickly when absorbing urine. Its providers also claim that with occasional stirring in the litter box, it will absorb the moisture out of faeces which can help reduce odour.
What are the limitations of Diatomaceous Earth Litter?
Diatomaceous litter can ultimately be one of the more expensive types of cat litter and with it having larger pebble sizes, it can sometimes be hard on some cats’ feet.
6. Grass Litter
When I talk about grass cat litter, I’m not talking about clumps of your lawn in a litter tray.
What is Grass Litter?
Grass cat litter is a natural type of litter that is made entirely of grass seeds.
What are the benefits of Grass Litter?
Grass litter is extremely absorbent and clumps liquids just as well as your usual clay litter. The clumping also helps to prevent any cat litter from sticking to the sides of your litter tray so it’s very easy to scoop out. This litter is another type that would be suitable for cats that suffer from respiratory problems as it is 99% dust free. As well as this, it is allergy friendly, making it safe for kittens, infection-prone cats and cats recovering from surgery.
What are the limitations of Grass Litter?
A lot of people say that grass litter can cause a lot of tracking (when the cat litter gets stuck to your cats’ paws and scatters on the ground). Although you can minimise tracking by getting a litter mat.
7. Paper Litter
Like grass cat litter, paper litter is pretty self-explanatory too.
What is Paper Litter?
Paper litter is made from recycled paper and usually takes the form of pellets or granules.
What are the benefits of Paper Litter?
Paper litter is eco-friendly, safe for your cat, scent-free and available in a variety of formulations and textures.
What are the limitations of Paper Litter?
Unfortunately, paper litter isn’t great at controlling odours, it doesn’t clump liquids and it can be on the more expensive side.
8. Wood Pellet Litter
This litter is a very common one with our customers – we even use it too!
What is Wood Pellet Litter?
Wood Pellet Litter is usually made from either (or sometimes both) pine or spruce wood, both are types of softwood.
What are the benefits of Wood Pellet Litter?
The naturally ‘woody’ fragrance from the pellets help to mask odour without using any kind of chemicals. Wood pellet litter is also an eco-friendly type of litter and is easy to clean as when urine has been absorbed, the pellets crumble into sawdust and sink to the bottom of the litter tray, leaving the fresh pellets at the top.
What are the limitations of Wood Pellet Litter?
Whilst wood pellet litter is great at controlling the odour of urine, it is not effective at controlling the odour of faeces. Also, some people will see the ‘non-clumping’ effect to be a downside. The pellets can sometimes hurt some cats’ paws too – elderly cats, overweight cats and large breeds are particularly prone to having sensitive paws.
9. Corn Litter
Finally, the last type of litter – corn cat litter, which is an innovative new type of litter.
What is Corn Litter?
Corn litter is made of 100% natural plant-based material, without any chemical additives.
What are the benefits of Corn Litter?
Because it is made from purely organic materials, corn litter is compostable, biodegradable and can be flushed down the toilet – another very handy one for those of you who keep your litter trays in the bathroom.
What are the limitations of Corn Litter?
You do have to be careful with this litter. Corn and wheat can develop a fungus called “aflatoxins”, which can be fatal to your cats. Aflatoxins can grow in dehydrated corn/wheat when it gets damp in urine or humidity, which can then turn into deadly mycotoxins. Unfortunately, there is no antidote for aflatoxin poisoning in cats. The only treatment is normally to remove the source, which in this case, would be the litter.
There we have it! Nine different types of cat litter, with a detailed description, providing you with the pros and cons of each.
Which of these cat litters do you prefer? After reading this blog post, do you think you might switch to a new type of cat litter? Share this post on social media and let us know your thoughts!
Information in this post has been created by research and opinions of My Three Cats. We do not provide medical advice. If your cat experiences any issues regarding cat litter, please get in touch with your vet immediately.