Litterbox problems are commonly cited as a reason for rehoming or abandoning pet cats. It’s sad enough that pet parents give up their pets just because cleaning up after them becomes inconvenient, but the worst part is, litterbox usage issues are often solvable with a simple change of litter. Yet, some owners don’t even take the step of trying different types of litter before rehoming a cat.
Whether you’re getting a new cat or have a cat already but aren’t sure his litter is meeting his needs, you can benefit from examining different litter types.
Traditional Clay Litters
Most cat parents use a clay litter, either scoopable or non-clumping. The advantages of clay litter include affordability and a variety of brand choices. This type of litter isn’t suitable for cats recovering from declawing. Some cats don’t like its hard texture, preferring a softer litter.
Don’t use clumping clay litters with kittens. If they lick this type of litter off their paws, it could cause an intestinal blockage. In addition, I prefer not to use the perfumed type of clay litter at all. Most cats don’t like the scent, which is designed to be pleasing to humans, not cats. Every thing the cat doesn’t like about its litterbox is one more card stacking the deck against a lifetime of consistent litterbox use.
Overall, clay litter is my least favorite type of litter; however, I do like one brand, Kitten Attract, which uses a pheromone attractant to encourage litterbox use. Young kittens who aren’t completely reliable with litterbox use often use the box more consistently when Kitten Attract is the litter of choice.
I group corn and wheat litter together because both are technically edible, both are clumping, both are biodegradable, and both are flushable. Essentially, corn and wheat litter are the same; it’s a matter of personal preference to choose between the two. I use Swheat Scoop (wheat) because I didn’t care for the corn chip smell World’s Best Cat Litter (corn) left in my house. However, some people think World’s Best Cat Litter smells great.
I prefer this type of litter over others. It’s convenient to be able to flush it, and I like knowing that it will biodegrade over time. Plus, if my dog is naughty and snacks from the catbox, I know food product litters won’t seriously hurt him. The only drawback is that odor control seems to be inferior to some other litters; however, adding some baking soda helps a great deal.
Feline Pine is the most common wood chip litter. Some cat owners love it, but I’m not a fan. Wood chip litters are expensive, don’t biodegrade as well as wheat or corn, and the aromatic oils in pine make it dangerous for small pets like hedgehogs or guinea pigs living in the same home. However, if you have cats only and love the smell of pine, this might be a good choice, and it’s still less harmful to the Earth than clay litter.
Paper Product Litters
Carefresh, Yesterday’s News, and various other pet litters are manufactured from recycled paper. These litters are suitable for cats recovering from declawing or other surgery. Paper litter provides less odor control than other options, but when the box is kept clean, can be an excellent choice. Older cats with a touch of arthritis may prefer paper litter because it’s softer than clay and isn’t grainy, and thus is gentler on their paws.
Behind wheat/corn litter, paper litters are my second choice for my own cats. If you don’t like the food product litters or have a pet allergic to wheat or corn, consider paper litter.