Cats can be super picky when it comes to their bathroom habits and rituals. Fortunately we all know that cats like doing their businesses in litter boxes. Which to be honest is great for us as cat parents. All you need is to buy a litter box, let your clean and self-sufficient cat do its business and at the end – scoop the poop.

Because of their practicality, litter boxes are becoming more and more popular. Recently, great strides have been made toward creating the perfect litter. But what actually is the perfect litter and what makes certain cat litter better than others? Put even more simply, which features are important and which are pure marketing tricks.

With so many types of litters available on the market, it is understandable why cat owners feel confused and challenged when faced with the task of choosing the right product for their pet. To make things slightly easier, we have listed and explained 3 simple tips for choosing the right litter below.

1. Choose a Cat Litter That is Biodegradable

Part of being a responsible pet owner is thinking about the environment. The waste your cat produces has significant environmental impact.

Conventional cat litters made with silica, clay and other artificial materials are hazardous for the environment. Unfortunately the only way of disposing of them is by dumping them in plastic bags or flushing them in the toilet.

Can I flush my cat’s litter?

Flushing the litter is not the smartest option, especially if you are using a clumping litter. Designed to cling together and make clumps, they can easily block your toilet, pipes and plumbing. Only biodegradable litters are safe to flush.

Interesting fact: Experts advise cat owners not to flush their cat’s litters because some cats carry a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii, which is transmitted via the poop.

Sewage treatment does not destroy this parasite and if it makes its way into the ocean, it can pose a deadly threat to sea otters.

The eco-friendly choice

Biodegradable litters are considered to be eco-friendly. Biodegradable cat litters can be made from:

  • recycled pellets and paper
  • natural products made of plant based materials (wheat, corn, soybean)

Tip: You can get rid of your biodegradable litter by composting it. Composting the litter is beneficial for the soil too.  

Beyond being just eco-friendly

Although most cats are picky eaters, some are curious and will not hesitate to try how the new litter box tastes. Biodegradable litter products are the least toxic when consumed. Even if your cat ingests substantial amounts, it will not suffer any consequences.

Additionally, biodegradable litters are flushable, produce low dust levels and do not get tracked through the house.

Are there any downsides to biodegradable litters?

Unfortunately biodegradable litters are more expensive and some cats can be sensitive or dislike their scents. Additionally, natural litters do not always have the clumping and odor-blocking powers of chemically enhanced litters.

2. Choose a Product That Fights Odor

At the top of any cat owner’s wish list is keeping the odor of cat waste under control. It is safe to say that this scores high on the cat’s wish list too. The top reason why cats refuse to use the litter box is uncontrolled odor. Going for litters that absorb odors rather than mask them is the right choice.

Products with effective and efficient odor control not only create barriers to prevent the growth of odor in the litter box, they even draw unpleasant odors from the air around it.

Tip: Wash the litter box at least once a week or if using clumping litter, every other week. Do not forget to wash the scooper too. Use unscented and mild detergent or diluted bleach.

Scented Litter types

Some litters are combined with perfumes and other additives that keep odor under control.

Clumping litters soak the odor better and keep the air fresher. However we do recommend avoiding using strong, artificially scented litters because cats can reject litters with too strong a scent. Some cats may even be allergic to the scent so something that smells great but isn’t overpowering is the the best choice.

Box size also helps

Although any plastic container can serve as a litter box, you should always choose the biggest box that can fit in your place. The larger the box, the more diluted the smell.

Tip: Choose the box that is at least twice as long as your cat and as wide as your cat’s length and keep in a private area away from too much activity to give your pet some privacy.

Box type

Covered boxes are more efficient for odor control, because they trap unpleasant smells inside. However as already mentioned, some cats can refuse to use them because of the strong smell inside.

Another important factor is the material the box is made of. Plastic boxes are easily scratched. The scratching lines are filled with urine that cannot be absorbed.

3. Finding the Safest Product

The problem with this question is that there is no straight answer. Some litters are safe and some litters are toxic. It is vital that you check the warning and the ingredients of the litter before purchasing it.

If the warning states to visit your doctor/vet if you or your pet ingest litter you can assume it is toxic. If you find silica or sodium betonite among the ingredients, once again, you can assume the litter is toxic.

These chemical compounds are harmless on their own, but if consumed in larger quantities can lead to intestinal distress or even toxicity.

It is a good idea to supervise your cat’s behavior around the new litter and to discourage ingestion attempts.

All in all, we can honestly say that there is no universally good or bad cat litter. Even though from human perspective, any box is good enough, cats do not share the same point of view. Picky, witty and independent, cats know what they like.

A cat considers her litter and the litter box as her own personal space and it must meet her standards, not yours. You can purchase the best litter, but it will not serve for anything if your cat doesn’t like their covered box or the particularly scent of the litter.

In a nutshell, the best cat litter is the one your cat approves of but hopefully by following the three tips laid out above you will find a product before you and your cat agree on.

Guest post by Cleanerpaws.com