Cat litter: which one to choose?

As a cat owner, we always want the best for our pet.
This means choosing a quality food that is adapted to his needs, finding the perfect place for his cat tree, close to a window but not in a draught, arranging his interior and providing him with cozy nests just about everywhere and finally, one of the most important and cornelian choices: selecting the litter that suits us and, above all, that suits him. Among all the existing references and brands, it is legitimate to get lost and to doubt.
First, we will explain how this choice is important for your feline, then in a second part, we will present you one by one the references available on the market and finally, a summary table will finish to enlighten you or to comfort you in your quest for the ideal product!

Why is this choice important?

The cat is a very clean animal and is very much attached to the notion of hygiene. By observing it, you have noticed that it spends many hours grooming to remove dead hair and impurities from its coat and, also, that it attaches particular importance to the place where it defecates, in other words its litter box.

It is therefore very important that the litter box or toilet and litter box itself be at his convenience so that he is perfectly at ease to relieve himself. If this is not the case, he will quickly let you know by becoming unclean. Very annoying therefore.
On the other hand, a satisfied cat reproduces in his crate the same gestures he would do in nature, namely: scratch to make a hollow, relieve himself in this hole previously made, smell, then cover them.

The choice of this product is also essential for the owner, because it can be a determining factor in the cleanliness of his habitat in terms of odor, maintenance and residues. Also, the hygiene of the litter box must be perfect.
It is all the more important if several cats live in the same household and/or if it is an enclosed environment, an apartment from which the cat never leaves.

Presentation of the different types of cat litter

They fall into three main groups: vegetable, mineral and silica. Then, each of these products can be “classic” or offer one or more options: to be clumping, colored or scented.

Vegetable litter

As the name implies, this product is made from ingredients of plant origin. It can be made from wood in the form of pellets or fibers, corn cob or recycled paper. A 100% natural product!

This reference will seduce the lovers of the environment concerned about their waste rejection by its ecological and entirely biodegradable character. As such, product soiled by urine and excrement can be composted or thrown down the toilet in small quantities.
It is therefore also an interesting product for individuals living in apartments who do not wish to store the used material in their garbage because of odors.

Also, the other advantage of the plant is that it gives off very little dust, which is pleasant for the cat and the owner.

Namely, some vegetable matter can be quite noisy once the cat is in its garbage can. Also, some cats may not appreciate the sensation provided by the material under their pads, which is sometimes quite firm. It can thus risk dissuading the less courageous felines!

Wood fiber-based plant litter

It has the advantage of optimal absorption of liquids, disintegrating on contact, and retains odors well. Indeed, wood helps to limit the proliferation of bacteria responsible for these undesirable odours.
It is generally well accepted by cats, but its main negative point is its volatility. Very fine and light, the cat will tend to carry some everywhere under its paws or in its hair, especially if it is long! Note nevertheless that some references are in the form of sticks, heavier, therefore more difficult to carry.

Plant litter based on wood pellets

Based on compressed wood in the form of dense sticks, it has the same advantages in terms of liquid and odour absorption capacity.
For example, Likao’s Quality Clean for cats in granular form uses the benefits of cocoa and yucca for their odour absorption and retention qualities. Thanks to its ingredients, the granules also have a natural and pleasant fragrance.

The mineral litter

It is the most common and cheapest reference on the market. It is composed of ingredients of mineral origin such as gravel, quartz or even clay then presented in the form of small pebbles more or less fine.

It is particularly praised for its good absorption capacity and its very affordable price. A litter remains a litter!

Nevertheless, it does not mask odors very much, thus requiring very regular cleaning. It tends to release a lot of dust and is therefore to be proscribed for cats and humans who are sensitive and/or suffer from respiratory problems.

For the owner, it has another disadvantage: the weight of the packet which is often important and can therefore be a brake.

Silica litter

Unavoidable, you necessarily know this reference in the form of small packages containing crystals usually blue and white.

Silica, also called crystal or pearl litter, is composed of a mixture of zeolites. It is a mineral popular for its high absorption capacity and is also used in various forms in domestic use or in the field of botany.

The silica grains capture liquid and bad odor giving this product its superior shelf life of 1 month. It is advisable to remove excreta daily and change the silica completely once the crystals turn yellow due to urine.

This type of product is the most expensive on the market, but offers a certain economy and the comfort of a less sustained maintenance. Nevertheless, the most delicate cats may not appreciate this criterion.

Clumping litter

Agglomerating means that the material forms solid clumps on contact with liquid, in this case urine. The soiled material is therefore much easier to visualize and remove. The agglomerating character is found in the three main types of products: vegetable, mineral and silica.

On a daily basis, in order for the cat to benefit from a clean toilet, it is enough to remove the excrements as well as the agglomerated balls.

Often, a little more expensive at the beginning, the economy is there, because the agglomerate allows to remove only the soiled matter without the risk of removing at the same time the product still clean to use.

Agglomerating litter is therefore very often favoured by cat owners, because it is very easy to maintain and economical.

Scented, colored and health-indicating litters

In order to satisfy the sensitive and delicate human sense of smell, some references are scented. You can find more or less original scents such as lavender, vanilla, orange or honeysuckle that will perfume your home by taking the upper hand over unwanted odors. These references are often popular when the cat does not go out. They are therefore ideal for the maintenance of the litter box in apartment.
Nevertheless, these products have a limit and are often not recommended. You have seen this when your cat goes to the toilet, he smells them. This is so because the feline needs to find its scent and, unfortunately, this type of product tends to mask it, which can be disturbing for your pet.

The only advantage of the colored references is the originality of their color and therefore the possibility for the master to choose according to his taste or his decoration. Like their scented counterparts, however, they are of no interest to the cat.

Finally, some silica litters offer a “health indicator” option, i.e. the possibility of indicating to the owner when his cat is suffering from a problem that is sometimes undetectable through urine.
The operation is simple: the silica crystals react in the presence of abnormal components in the cat’s urine by taking on a precise and unique color: presence of blood, abnormal pH… As a general rule, yellow means that everything is normal while red is so much to indicate a concern.
This type of article can be interesting for neutered males as well as for older cats, who are more often prone to urinary problems.

Summary: Comparison of the different types of litter

Taking into account the important criteria for felines and for you, here is a summary table that should help you finalize or confirm your choice.

You now have all the keys in hand in order to choose a litter that is perfectly suited to your cat while satisfying you as well!
An exceptional product that will bring contentment to your feline and in which he will take pleasure in coming to do his daily needs properly, while taking into account your preferences and sensitivity regarding price, odor control and maintenance.