Clumping Or Non-Clumping Cat Litter – A Personal Choice

Is all cat litter just alike? Is low priced cat litter as good as expensive one? Some may think so and simply go for the cheapest solution available. As so often it is not only a question of price but rather of personal preference that determines which your and your cat’s favorite litter will be. Let’s take a closer look at the two widely used clay based litters, clumping and non clumping cat litter.

Clay Based Cat Litter – The Basics

Clay litter, regardless if clumping or non-clumping works more or less in the same way: the litter absorbs the cat’s urine and covers the feces. The goal is to bind liquids and to prevent bad odor. To accomplish this even better certain brands contain things like carbon and/or fragrances.

Between clumping and non-clumping cat litter, which one should you choose?

Clumping cat litter has the advantage that the urine clumps the litter together which makes it very easy to scoop those out together with the solid waste. Changing the complete content of the cat litter box is usually only in intervals of four to six weeks necessary. At this point it’s also a good idea to disinfect the box before refilling to prevent bacteria growth. Inbetween simply replace the amount you scoop out daily.

Similar to clumping litter, non-clumping kitty litter may have additional ingredients besides dried and granulated clay. Fragrances, carbon or baking soda may be added in order to keep things fresher and better smelling. Solid waste can be scooped out in the same manner as it’s done with clumping litter but the cat’s urine will only be absorbed by the clay without building clumps. Over time the saturated clay will accumulate at the bottom of the litter box. About once a week this build-up needs to be removed by emptying the whole box. If you have a larger cat or more than one you will have to do this most likely in shorter intervals.

If you want to use a clay based cat litter and forego other options like biodegradable litter or silica gel based products then the best course of action is to try either type, clumping and non-clumping. Cats usually accept both and it is up to you to determine what suits you better, daily scooping and replacing or dumping the litter boxes content in shorter intervals.

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Cat Litter, Things You Might Or Might Not Know

Chances are, if you have a cat or kitten, you already know a lot about cat litter. If not, here is a short overview of todays most-used cat litter types.

Clay-based

Major use of clay-based cat litter first began in 1948 with Ed Lowe’s product named “Kitty Litter”, the name now widely applied to any kind of cat litter. Besides being more absorbent than the previously often used sand or soil it is also not so easily tracked around the house. Some brands of this litter type have baking soda or special crystals added in an attempt to better control odor.

Clumping Cat Litter

…is around since the 1950s. Made mostly from bentonite (calcium bentonite) it was quite an improvement. When wet, this kind of clay forms clumps that are easily removed from the rest of the litter. This way it is no longer necessary for the pet owner to change all of the litter, only the solid pieces can be scooped out and disposed of. Still, for sanitary reasons the entire content of the box should be changed every 4 to 6 weeks.

On the downside there is an ongoing debate about the health risks for your cat and especially kittens that come with the use of clumping cat litter. Besides claims that ingestion of this material may be hazardous to your pet there are concerns that crystalline silica (silica dust, also contained in clumping cat litter) may harm your furry friend. Silica dust, while not proven a real risk to humans, is treated as a carcinogen in California. Fortunately there are alternatives if this is an issue for you.

Silica gel litter

A very convenient form of cat litter is made from silica gel. Silica gel, a granular and highly porous material, is synthetically made from sodium silicate. Thanks to its high absorbency, higher than any other litter, it has excellent moisture and odor control. Four to five pounds can last up to four weeks for an average cat. During this time it is sufficient to scoop out solid waste and to stir the cat litter daily (to avoid urine pooling in the box).

As you can easily imagine the amount of silica gel litter used during a month is significantly lower than that of clumping or regular clay litter (approx. 4-5 lb compared to 20-30 lb). It is also easier to handle because it’s much less heavy than clay litter.

Biodegradable litter

Biodegradable litter can be made from recycled newspaper, sawdust, plants (for example pine wood pellets or barley) and even dried orange peel. Considering the amount of non-biodegradable cat litter that ends up in landfills (more than two million tons yearly alone in the US) this type of cat litter is certainly a welcome alternative for cat owners that have the well-being of the environment on their mind. Often biodegradable litter is bought because of its flushability or deodorizing effects or for asthmatic cats which can benefit from reduced dust compared to clay litter.

Most biodegradable cat litter is more expensive than the traditional form, however, same sized amounts compared to clay litter last longer which offset the higher price in part.

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What are the Advantages of an Automatic Cat Litter Box?

While everybody knows the more basic, plastic cat litter boxes it is the invention of the automatic cat litter box that exited pet owners everywhere. The self cleaning cat litter box frees you from frequently cleaning up after your cat and the unpleasant smell in your home caused by dirty cat litter.

Thanks to the huge number of cat supplies stores on- and offline it is not all too difficult to find the right automatic cat litter box for your cat and you. Here are two more well-known companies and their noteworthy products.


LitterMaid

Littermaid is one of the most renowned companies offering automatic cat litter boxes. They already have satisfied customers in the millions and the number of users of their automatic litter boxes is growing daily.

One of their products, the Elite Mega Automatic Self-Cleaning Litter Box is designed for larger cats or multiple cat households. Immediately after the cat leaves the box, triggered by a sensor and before the actual cleaning starts an ionic air cleaner eliminates bad odors. Then, after ten minutes a rake moves across the tray clearing any clumps and leaving it clean. Clumps are deposited into an autmatically opened and closed waste container.

Depending on the model, the cat litter box comes with a number of waste receptacles, carbon filters, a paw cleaning ramp, triple action tool and cat privacy tent or LitterMaid Kitty Kabana®.


Scoop Free

Another recommended company is Scoop Free. With Scoop Free’s new no-touch litterbox you don’t need to worry about anyting up to one month. The litter box uses disposable trays, prefilled with FreshStep Crystals that last up to 30 days of use by an average cat.

The FreshStep Crystals neutralize odor, absorb urine and dehydrates solids and a rake sweeps waste into a covered compartment, leaving litter smelling clean and fresh. After a few weeks simply replace the tray with a new one and throw the old away. Overall you save money and time, time that you can spend with your furry friend.

These are just two examples of automatic cat litter boxes. What are you using? Please let us know what you have and what your experience with it is like.

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Cat Litter Boxes – Where to Buy One?

Are you in the process of buying a cat litter box but don’t know where to start? You can compare offers of several companies to find a cat litter box that accommodates the needs of your cat or cats as well as your expectations at an acceptable price. Here are two top picks for high-end cat litter boxes:

Panther, a cat using toilet, photographed in S...


Smarthome

Smarthome’s featured CatGenie Self-Cleaning Litter Box is definitely a choice you should consider if you are looking for a hassle free and automatic cat litter box. The CatGenie Self-Cleaning Litter Box frees you from scooping, touching or changing litter, you won’t have to worry about cleaning a cat litter box ever again.

After each use the box and granules are automatically washed thanks to a connection to a water line, sanitized with a cat-safe solution and dried with AC powered hot air. Liquified waste and cleaning solution are flushed down the toilet or drain safely out of the home. No more dust, odor or germs!

You will enjoy this hygienic and convenient solution and your cat will love the absence of the smell of a dirty litter box.


Fat Cat Creations

The Litter ChestFat Cat Creations is another company with a rather unique cat litter box solution. “The Litter Chest” features classic style with clean lines that fits seamlessly with any home décor at an affordable price. Only you and your cat will know what’s hidden inside this unobtrusive chest.

Never worry again about your guests being offended by the smell or the look of your cat’s litter box. This by itself makes the chest well worth its price.

There are numerous pet supply stores on the Internet that you can check for grat litter boxes and other items. You will most of the time be able to find what you need to keep your cat healthy and happy.

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