In my decade of proudly owning a cat, I’ve realized that some cat litter stinks up your entire condominium, some erupts in a cloud of mud everytime you scoop, and others get caught in your cat’s paws and observe all around the ground. It doesn’t assist that cats are famously finicky and one cat’s favourite litter could possibly be completely off-putting to a different. As Jessica Herman, a veterinarian with AskVet, says, “It may take trial by error to determine what kind of litter your feline pal will take pleasure in.” There are tons of choices on the market, every promising distinctive advantages for you and your cat, from simple cleanup and odor management to minimized mud and superior supplies.
To chop via the advertising and marketing claims, we requested 14 consultants — together with veterinarians, animal-shelter employees, and cat behavioralists who’ve labored with a whole bunch of felines over time — what litter they advocate and which of them they really use with their very own pets. Forward, you’ll discover 9 cat litters (plus a litter-box system and a deodorizer) advisable by our panel of consultants that ought to fulfill even the pickiest of feline mates. Or you possibly can leap to no matter kind of cat litter you’re in search of under.
Hottest cat litters are made out of liquid-absorbing supplies that clump round waste. Some clumping litters are even flushable. For almost all of cats, all of our consultants agree that clumping litter is most handy. “It permits for simple removing of urine and feces and also you don’t need to dump the entire field of litter — simply scoop up the half that’s dirty after which exchange as wanted,” says Carly Fox, a senior veterinarian at Animal Medical Middle. She provides that research have proven cats are likely to choose clumping litter when provided a number of choices. There are some cases when you want a non-clumping litter, although, like in case your cat not too long ago had surgical procedure, as clumping litter can persist with incisions.
It’s tempting to decide on a cat litter that guarantees to masks smells, however veterinarians advise in opposition to litter with added perfume. Laura Pletz, a veterinarian and the media director at BluePearl Pet Hospital, says these scents can deter cats from utilizing the litter field. As an alternative choice to fragrances, search for elements like charcoal and baking soda that soak up odor as a substitute of masking it up. Your finest protection in opposition to odor, although, is definitely frequent scooping. “Nobody actually enjoys utilizing porta-potties, and if the litter field just isn’t cleaned usually, that’s the way it smells to a cat,” explains Cathy Bosley, a licensed feline training-and-behavior specialist and administrative assistant on the Greatest Buddies Animal Society Sanctuary’s Cat World.
Some clay cat litters can create numerous mud, which might be irritating to each cats and people. If you happen to’re very delicate to mud (or have a small rest room the place it’s exhausting to dissipate), contemplate different supplies like crystal or grain.
Historically, cat litter has been made out of clay (particularly sodium bentonite), and it stays one of the widespread supplies due to its skill to soak up moisture and clump round waste. The draw back of clay is that it’s not flushable, so some manufacturers have switched to alternate options like wheat, corn, and even silica crystals that additionally clump however might be tossed down the bathroom. Clay additionally takes for much longer to biodegrade than wheat or corn, so one in all these choices could also be higher in case you’re in search of an ecofriendly litter.
Clump or no clump: Clumping | The way it smells: Unscented | Mud ranges: Low mud | Substances: Corn
For a litter that checks all of the containers and may work for many cat-owning households, Bosley and Kerrie McKeon, resident cat knowledgeable on the animal-welfare and adoption group Bideawee, advocate World’s Greatest. “It’s clumping, it’s pure, and I’ve bronchial asthma and allergy symptoms and it doesn’t set something off for me,” says McKeon. “If you happen to scoop it morning and evening, a bag will get you thru fairly some time.” Constituted of corn kernels, it’s a pure choice that’s additionally septic-safe, so you possibly can simply flush away each liquid and stable waste. Bosley provides that out of all of the litters her shelter has tried, this one “cuts down on the odors finest.”
Clump or no clump: Non-clumping | The way it smells: Unscented | Mud ranges: Low-dust | Substances: Silica gel crystals
As a result of it’s made out of gel crystals, PrettyLitter really absorbs liquids as a substitute of clumping round them. This implies you solely need to scoop stable waste, which you’ll be able to simply flush away. That is the litter I take advantage of at residence after trial and error with a number of different choices. In my expertise, it’s the least smelly and doesn’t generate a lot mud. In comparison with clay and different litter supplies, the crystals don’t persist with my cat’s paws practically as simply, so it doesn’t observe round the home. The crystals additionally assist monitor your cat’s well being, as they modify shade in response to completely different chemical compounds in urine that will point out bladder or kidney illness. Strategist author Tembe Denton-Hurst has been utilizing PrettyLitter for the previous 12 months along with her two cats and says she appreciates the peace of thoughts this function gives between vet visits. “Cats are actually adept at hiding illness till they’re actually at dying’s door, so it makes me really feel slightly higher,” she says.
The model is a part of a brand new technology of so-called “good” litters, in accordance with Rebecca Greenstein, the veterinary medical adviser for pet-sitter website Rover, due to its skill that can assist you observe your cat’s well being. However Greenstein additionally mentions that “whereas these new-wave litter choices are positively a step in the suitable path for conscientious cat house owners, they’re finest used as a screening instrument.” Dr. Gabrielle Fadl, a medical director at Bond Vet, even warns that relying too closely on health-monitoring cat litter like PrettyLitter can result in pointless visits to the vet. “A greater indication of your cat’s urinary well being is your personal eyes and monitoring their habits,” she says, citing extra frequent utilization of the litter field and better water consumption as extra dependable well being cues.
Clump or no clump: Non-clumping | The way it smells: Unscented | Mud ranges: Low mud | Substances: Silica gel crystals
Dr. Maddie Buddendorf, an affiliate veterinarian at URvet Care, says her lengthy work hours used to result in irregular litter-box cleanings for her two home short-haired cats. To fight this, she started utilizing this PetSafe litter at the side of the model’s self-cleaning litter field. Whereas the system works to rake away waste a number of instances a day, Buddendorf says the litter itself will get excessive marks for odor management, plus it’s ultra-long-lasting, usable for as much as 30 days, and can be utilized in any customary litter pan. “As a result of it’s a silica-gel-based litter, it absorbs liquid and odors nearly immediately,” Buddendorf says, including that “it dries out feces, which makes scooping a breeze.” The non-clumping crystals are bigger than the positive granules present in most clay litters, so there’s additionally much less monitoring all through Buddendorf’s home, and it’s simpler to hoover. Though the one proven doesn’t comprise perfume, PetSafe litter is out there in contemporary and lightweight lavender scents.
Clump or no clump: Clumping | The way it smells: Unscented, with odor-absorbing charcoal | Mud ranges: Low mud | Substances: Clay
This litter is about $2 much less per pound than the choice above however differs from PetSafe in that it’s clay-based and accommodates activated charcoal to naturally soak up odors. With three litter containers at residence, Angie Krause, a holistic veterinarian and guide for I and Love and You pet meals, actually likes that this litter gives glorious odor management and is light-weight and simple to hold. Whereas her cats — one in renal failure and one other with irritable bowel illness — use the litter field greater than most, she says this litter is simply nearly as good for house owners of more healthy cats who merely don’t wish to lug round heavy baggage of litter. This additionally affords “the most effective odor management” of a light-weight litter, in accordance with Krause. Veterinarian Elizabeth Bales reaches for the model at her native outlets, and Bosley is one other fan of Tidy Cats litter as a result of it’s unscented and gained’t hassle cats with allergy symptoms.
Clump or no clump: Clumping | The way it smells: Evenly scented with cat-attracting herbs | Mud ranges: Low mud | Substances: Clay
For a cat who isn’t utilizing the litter field — or is studying to make use of one as an grownup — this litter accommodates a proprietary mix of herbs that, very similar to catnip, lures felines in. McKeon guarantees, “I’ve really seen it in motion and it does work.” When her shelter rescued a big group of cats that had by no means used litter containers earlier than, she says they put Cat Entice in all of their containers, and “nobody ended up needing meds to make use of a litter field; all of them finally realized learn how to use it.” Krause agrees this litter is usually a large assist for cats with behavioral points, however she does advise to test together with your vet earlier than buying to make sure your cat isn’t avoiding the field as a result of sickness.
Clump or no clump: Clumping | The way it smells: Evenly scented with odor-absorbing baking soda| Mud ranges: Low mud | Substances: Clay
Identical to people, some kitties are asthmatic and subsequently delicate to mud. For these cats, consultants advocate in search of a low- or no-dust litter. “Think about making an attempt to make use of the lavatory in a mud storm,” says Bosley. “Not enjoyable.” Litter that produces numerous mud when cats dig in it and kick it up may also be disagreeable for people, too. Bosley says Arm & Hammer’s Clump & Seal litter is as shut because it will get to being completely dust-free. Plus, it’s nice for managing odor, she says, because of the addition of baking soda.
Clump or no clump: Clumping | The way it smells: Unscented | Mud ranges: Low mud | Substances: Wheat
In comparison with conventional clay litter, these made out of different supplies like corn, wheat, and grains are extra environmentally pleasant and simply biodegradable. This one is made out of farm-grown wheat and comes advisable by Bosley, particularly for cats who’re delicate to scents or mud. Strategist senior editor Jen Trolio additionally prefers this pure litter a lot that she has been utilizing it for over ten years along with her two cats (they at the moment are 15 years outdated). She appreciates that the model is plant based mostly and doesn’t comprise hazardous chemical compounds like crystalline silica and sodium bentonite, which might be dangerous if a cat has a behavior of consuming litter. “The clumping just isn’t as sturdy as with clay litter, nevertheless it very a lot will get the job finished,” she says. If you happen to plan to maintain backstock of pure litter in a basement or crawl house, Trolio suggests storing it securely (she makes use of a plastic Rubbermaid tote) to forestall critters from nesting inside open baggage.
In a earlier model of this story, Heike Klassmann, an adoption-seminar chief with Anjellicle Cats, advisable Weruva’s Traditional Contemporary Scented Clumping Wooden Cat Litter, which blends naturally odor-controlling hinoki (cypress) wooden and inexperienced tea. Just like the sWheat choice above, it’s flushable and doesn’t comprise sodium bentonite.
Clump or no clump: Clumping | The way it smells: Unscented | Mud ranges: Low mud | Substances: Clay
Each Stray Cat Social Membership founder Scott Bleicher and Zay Satchu, co-founder and chief veterinary officer at Bond Vet, advocate this litter for multi-cat households. “When you have a couple of cat in the home, it is best to contemplate a number of containers. Ideally, pet house owners ought to have one field for each cat plus one,” explains Satchu. Bleicher says he can reside with as much as ten cats at a time (each his personal and fosters) — and is aware of full properly that extra cats means extra litter upkeep and extra potential complications. Like most consultants, he prefers clumping litter as a result of it’s “the simplest to scoop and the most effective at containing odors,” and significantly likes this “multi-cat power” formulation. He notes that it “accommodates one ingredient — pure clay — [and] no added dyes, perfumes, or chemical compounds,” making it extra more likely to work for a gaggle of cats with completely different wants and preferences.
Clump or no clump: Clumping | The way it smells: Unscented | Mud ranges: Low mud | Substances: Clay
Tazz Latifi, a licensed pet nutritionist and retail guide, recommends the paw-sensitive litter from Dr. Elsey’s for senior cats. It has finer granules than the opposite choices on this checklist, giving it a sandlike consistency, which Latifi says is helpful for aged cats, particularly these experiencing age-related well being circumstances or decreased exercise. “It could be annoying for them to step into the litter field, and relying on the kind of litter, it might be irritating to their paws due to sensitivity as they become old,” she says. Along with paw soreness, joint irritation also can trigger senior cats to really feel uncomfortable whereas standing on denser litters like pellets. Latifi says this light choice has all the benefits of a clay litter, like quick clumping and minimal mud, however can assist forestall undesirable house-soiling.
Clump or no clump: Non-clumping | The way it smells: Unscented | Mud ranges: Mud-free | Substances: Zeolite pellets
Dr. Fadl owns two cats, one in all which has cerebellar hypoplasia, which impacts motion and mobility. Due to her cat’s situation, Fadl makes use of the Breeze litter-box system to get rid of mud and undesirable monitoring round her residence, which additionally makes it “an ideal choice for cats which have respiratory points like bronchial asthma,” she says. And in contrast to the opposite litters on this checklist, this one makes use of pellets to separate stable excrement from urine, which trickles via a grated tray to an absorbent litter pad that’s locked away in a drawer under for simpler cleanup. She recommends altering the pellets a minimum of as soon as a month however says they are often washed and reused, so that you’re not buying new litter as usually as a conventional field system.
This isn’t technically a litter, however since contributor Julia Gomez Kramer raved about this odor eliminator, we felt the necessity to embrace it for the cat house owners who don’t need their properties to scent like their cats. Kramer, who has two cats named Tuna and Salmon, had tried odor-absorbing balls, deodorizing powders, and even charcoal filters earlier than. However this deodorizer was the winner: “After I use it, the litter field smells extra like nothing than something,” she says.
• Elizabeth Bales, veterinarian
• Scott Bleicher, founding father of Stray Cat Social Membership
• Cathy Bosley, licensed feline training-and-behavior specialist and administrative assistant on the Greatest Buddies Animal Society Sanctuary’s Cat World
• Maddie Buddendorf, affiliate veterinarian at URvet Care
• Tembe Denton-Hurst, Strategist author
• Gabrielle Fadl, medical director at Bond Vet
• Carly Fox, senior veterinarian at Animal Medical Middle
• Rebecca Greenstein, veterinarian and medical adviser at Rover
• Jessica Herman, veterinarian with AskVet
• Heike Klassman, adoption-seminar chief with Anjellicle Cats Rescue
• Angie Krause, veterinarian and guide for I and Love and You
• Tazz Latifi, licensed pet nutritionist and retail guide
• Kerrie McKeon, resident cat knowledgeable at Bideawee
• Laura Pletz, veterinarian and media director at BluePearl Pet Hospital
• Jen Trolio, Strategist senior editor
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