With oodles of cat litter types and materials available in the market, the common cat owner, that is, you and I can have a tough time zeroing in on the right kind of litter. The most common question that pops in is whether to buy clumping cat litter or non-clumping cat litter.
Non-clumping litter is usually granulated dried clay, and can be either smooth or coarse in texture. Newsprint litter, corn, wheat, pine litter, can all be of the non-clumping variety.
On the other hand, clumping litters are those that use a compound known as Bentonite, that is aluminum phyllosilicate clay. It is highly absorbent in nature and forms hardened depositions when exposed to fluid or solid waste. The formed lumps do not crumble upon scooping, and can be easily separated and thrown away.
Things to consider while shopping for litter
There have always been those who have advocated one kind of litter over the other. For some, clumping scented litter is the way to go, especially if they have uncovered litter boxes while others prefer non-clumping. Here are a few things to consider while purchasing litter.
Who is it for?
Well, it’s obviously for your pet feline, but that’s not what we mean. Certain kinds of litter may not be applicable for certain age groups of cats, or for certain breeds. Little kittens are generally exploratory in nature and love discovering their new world. All their senses are prepped for input. Bright eyed and whiskers on end, kittens might try discovering their world by tasting. In the process, if they ingest copious quantities of clumping litter, they might experience a multitude of issues. Symptoms such as nausea, lack of appetite, pain, are common, and the diagnosis can be anywhere between mild poisoning, to intestinal blockage.
Cats that have long coats tend to trail a lot of litter in their fur and in their paws. Grooming will most definitely cause some amount of litter to be swallowed. Although minute quantities of silica ingestion may cause your cat to hurl up her dinner, taking in larger than normal amounts can result in the above mentioned symptoms.
Number of cats using the “facilities”
For a multi-pet or multi-cat household, or an animal shelter or foster home, the number of animals using the litter box can be anywhere between two and twenty! More cats automatically mean that the litter boxes should remain clean, plentiful, and judiciously spaced. Each cat has its own food habits, grooming routine, and timings for going to attend their nature calls. For rushed pet parents who may not have the time to clean out the litter box every so often, a fast clumping litter or using a top self cleaning litter box would probably help. The number of times the litter box needs to be emptied out completely and cleaned is reduced. Used up litter can be replenished easily and quickly, and there is good odor control.
In normal household where there is some help available, or if one of the pet parents has a stay-at-home arrangement, non-clumping litter may be recommended. The litter boxes will need to be washed out more often, but that ensures that no bacterial or fungal growth has a chance to start.
And finally, budget
Clumping litters tend to be a tad bit more expensive than the non-clumping variety. However, non-clumping litters are more natural, and come in a variety of textures for your cat to choose from. Once again, depending on the number of pets you can cater to, and the availability of litter types at your local pet store, either or types of litter can be used.
Although the above tips can help you narrow down your litter choices, one must remember that both kinds of litter need litter boxes, and those units must be kept clean as well. An unkempt litter box will discourage your pet from using the facilities provided and leave you nasty little surprises all over the house. Getting your cat accustomed to using his box requires patience, time, and most importantly, love. But the effort invested will compound into returns of years of trust, friendship, and companionship!