Natural Cat Litter: the Pros and Cons

Cat Coming out of Litter Box

If you are a cat owner like me, there is a good chance that cat litter is unfortunately a large part of your life.

While it may seem like just a substance for cats to go potty on, there is actually a lot to think about when it comes to choosing the right kitty litter.

There are many different of options on the market, but today we will focus on the pros and cons of all natural cat litter.

Cat Lying in Cat Litter Box

There are various natural cat litters, but some of the main ones are:

Grass:

This is one of the newest and coolest litters on the market! Completely biodegradable, Smart Cat litter is made from grass grown in the USA. This litter is very soft and lightweight so it’s great for arthritic kitties or ones that have been declawed.

For more information on declawing check out this . This litter is dust free and is clumping!

Pine:

Feline Pine is the best pine litter out there.

Made from the dried reclaimed shavings of the Southern Yellow Pine Tree, this brand is not only helping keep kitties litter boxes clean and fresh, but they are also doing their part to help our planet by only using shavings from lumber yards that plant more trees than they harvest.

Their litter is dust free and they offer both a clumping and a non-clumping version.

Natural Pine Cat Litter

Newspaper:

The most common brand of paper litter is Yesterday’s News.

Made from repurposed newspaper this litter is capsule shaped. It expands when it’s wet and is very absorbent and dust free; however, it isn’t great on odor control.

Walnut:

Walnut litters are made from crushed walnut shells. While these litters are usually relatively inexpensive, they do have a lot of dust and tend to stick to cats paws.

Walnut Cat Litter Bag

Clay:

The least expensive of all the litters, non-clumping clay litter is very heavy and has a lot of dust, but it is very cost effective for multi-cat homes.

These are the five most common cat litters, most of them come in clumping and non-clumping forms. You cat will play a large part in your decision on which litter to choose, as certain smells and textures may keep her from using one or the other.

My favorite of the five is probably Smart Cat’s grass litter, I love that it is all natural, lightweight, biodegradable and soft on kitties paws. The downside to this litter is that some kitties do suffer from grass allergies.

If your kitty is one of the few, Pine litter is a very similar option.

Two Empty Litter Boxes

Some things to avoid when choosing a cat litter are:

Heavily scented litters:

While these litters may appeal to our senses, they can often overwhelm the more sensitive nose of your kitty.

Cat’s can be very picky when it comes to using the litterbox and they like to be able to smell where they have gone before. If the litter is overly scented it could cause your kitty to seek out what they feel is a more appropriate restroom. Often times this will be in a potted plant, zen garden, or an inconspicuous corner.

Once they start going outside the litterbox it can be a challenge to get them retrained, so simply avoid litters that may overwhelm them.

Excessive dust:

Some of the most common litter box fillers are clumping clay litters. Although these smell nice and are usually relatively convenient, they are full of chemicals and quite dusty.

While you may not mind a bit more dust around your house, your lungs and your cat’s will thank you for sparing them.

The dust in clay litters can actually accumulate in the lungs overtime causing respiratory distress later in life. This can be a hard condition to treat, so avoid the problem by choosing a dust free litter.

Crystal litters:

A few months ago, I made the mistake of purchasing the Scoop Free Automatic Litter Box, while it is a great box in theory, the problem is that is is only compatible with their litter which is made of Crystals.

These Crystals are blue and in theory they are track free, absorbent, and odorless.

Green Crystals for Cat Litter

However, after using them for a few months I can tell you none of this is true. I have a multiple cat household and my cats track this litter literally everywhere.

It’s all over the floor in every single room of my 3 story house, I find it in my shoes, my laundry, my bed, and pretty much everywhere in between. With your average litter this would simply be an annoyance, but the crystal litter is fairly large grained and when you step on it it hurts, bad!

If it hurts my feet, imagine what it is doing to the cat’s!

My second issue is with absorbency.

While the litter is relatively absorbent, it turns a nasty yellow orange color as it absorbs making it look quite disgusting after only 2 or 3 uses. While this isn’t necessarily a problem for those with an inconspicuous place to keep their box my house has an open floor plan leaving my boxes in plain sight of guests.

My last issue with this litter is cost. When I purchased the boxes the cost for a 3 pack of litter trays was right around $25 and I went through 2 trays every 7-10 days. This meant that my litter cost was approximately $75 a month. Over just 3 months time the litter has almost doubled with the cost of a 3 pack at $49.

I recently made the switch to Grass litter, and couldn’t be happier!

White Cat with Orange Shading Sitting in Cat Tree

No matter what litter you choose, remember to make the switch slowly by mixing your cats old litter with the new for the first week or so while he adjusts.

Changing litters too suddenly may confuse your cat and cause him to go in a place that he shouldn’t. Be sure to always check out reviews on Amazon.com before purchasing anything and if you like or dislike a product leave a review yourself!

There is no wrong choice when it comes to cat litter, but keep your cat’s preferences in mind so you don’t end up with any accidents!


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