Choosing the right cat litter

If your kitty is snubbing her tray, she may not like the cat litter you’re using. Find out what to avoid and look for when selecting a product.

Does your cat steer clear of her litter box? Inappropriate elimination has many causes, both physical and behavioral (and these need to be ruled out first), but one problem might be the cat litter you’re using.

There are dozens of cat litters on the market, but a good place to start is by crossing off your list all litters that are clay-based, and that attempt to control odor with fragrance, which can be a real turn-off for many cats. The next step is to learn how to recognize a high quality, natural product that does the job right, and that your cat will like.

What makes a good cat litter?

The best cat litters are not only healthy, safe and attractive to felines, but also convenient and as mess- and odor-free as possible. “Characteristics to look for include good deodorization properties (without the use of fragrance), and good urine clumping with easy waste removal,” says Mark Ventura of Arm & Hammer. “It shouldn’t track or be dusty, and it needs a cat-friendly texture to minimize rejection.”

“Odor control is paramount for most cat parents,” says Sean Sterner of Blue Buffalo Company. “You want something that will control litter box odors and be long-lasting. If a particular material doesn’t have great absorption qualities, you’re going to have to use more of it to get the job done. And how easy is it to clean your litter box? Are you literally scraping litter off the sides and bottom? You want something that is easy to use.”

Shannon Supanich of Pioneer Pet Products agrees. “If the fragrance or texture is an issue with a cat, he will avoid the litter box,” she adds. “Odor control is most important. The best way to eliminate odors is for the litter to fully and completely absorb all the moisture. Strong clumping action is key. Clumping absorbs odors and helps keep the litter box cleaner when scooped. However, clay litters are very dusty and can lead to respiratory problems, so look for a natural alternative.”

What are the options?

When it comes to safe, natural, easy-to-use cat litters, there’s more to choose from than ever before. Here are some examples:

• “Our formulas are made by harnessing the natural absorbency of corn for odor control, quick clumping and easy scooping,” says Karen Schaffer for World’s Best Cat Litter. “The result is a lightweight, dust-free litter that’s cat-, people- and planet-friendly.”

• Arm & Hammer’s Clump & Seal Cat Litter is made with micro-sealing granules, derived from mineral and plant sources, that eliminate odor. “Proprietary clumping and binding ingredients allows the micro-particles of this finely-textured litter to coat the surface of feces and form very hard urine clumps,” explains Mark. “This technology seals in and destroy odors.” The product also minimizes dust and tracking.

• “Walnut shells are an extremely fibrous material that provides excellent odor control and is incredibly absorbent, which makes our litter very long-lasting,” says Sean of Blue Buffalo’s BLUE Naturally Fresh litters. “Walnut shells are annually renewable as well as biodegradable.”

• Another natural, biodegradable litter choice is Pioneer Pet Products’ SmartCat All Natural Cat Litter, which is made from grass. “It is virtually dust-free and very lightweight – only one-third the weight of clay clumping litters,” says Shannon. “It quickly absorbs urine…and will peel itself away from the sides of the litter box, making scooping easier. The litter traps the odorcausing compounds in the clumps then begins de-watering the clumps to minimize the bacterial growth that causes odors.”

With so many good quality litters to choose from, there’s no need to opt for less than the best. Doesn’t your kitty deserve it?

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