If you’re a proud cat parent, you’ve probably noticed that your feline always covers its waste after fulfilling its “toiletry needs”. But did you know that this behaviour is actually caused by cats’ natural instincts? In fact, once they bury their waste into the ground, they automatically “mask” their traces and their scent, and that way they feel safer and more protected from the cruel predators.
So, if you were about to get some cat litter for your lovely feline, we put together a couple of useful tips to help you choose the right option.
Benefits of Cat Litter
We already established that cat litters are one of the most essential supplies for cats, but at this point, know that they’re beneficial for you and your household too.
So first of all, aside from making your cat feel safe and protected, a convenient cat litter for kittens will spare you from the constant mess your cat makes all around your house. And even though cleaning the litter box may be one of the most boring daily home chores, you’ll at least have peace of mind that you won’t “stamp on a mill” every time you carelessly walk around your home.
But even though you may save yourself from constantly keeping tabs on your cat’s desire to put its waste in the centre of your living room, you also probably know that living with a cat means being exposed to unpleasant odours 24/7. This won’t be the case if you provide yourself with some litter for cats, since you can always “shove” the box in your back closet or your bathroom. But aside from this, many litters are made to automatically absorb and lock the odours inside, so you won’t have to worry about your guests pretending that they aren’t smelling the nasty litter odour.
Types of Cat Litters
If you’re already tempted to get some cat litter for kittens, it’s essential to get to know the different types so you can choose the best option.
Clay litter is the traditional type that has been used since forever as one of the cheapest and the most convenient options to “camouflage” all that cat waste. But as many new choices started appearing on the market, clay litters’ popularity started to drastically decrease.
This is due to clays being mixed with different silica dust which can be a potential cancer risk for you and your cat if constantly inhaled. Also, not only are clay litters very heavy to carry, but they also need to get replaced very often since they can’t absorb many liquids and odours. On top of that, clay litters are also very easy to track, and we’re sure you don’t want a mix of litter and cat waste being smudged all over your house’s flooring.
Clumping litters are a much better version of the clay one since it’s produced by adding sodium or calcium bentonite clay to the traditional one. The greatest advantage of these forms of bentonite clays is that they’re able to absorb the cat litter’s dry weight, and therefore expand its volume 15 times and form the waste into clumps. These clumps are very easy to get removed by using a scoop, which will save you from the unpleasant feces and urine odours. They’re also more economical than the traditional clay litter since they don’t need to be replaced that often.
But have in mind that on account of getting the convenience of the bentonite clay, you’ll get the disadvantages of the traditional clay too. Clumping litters are also very dusty, heavy, easily tracked, and they can’t be flushed which makes the garbage the only disposal option for them.
Crystal or Silica Gel Litters
These litters are a fairly new invention, consisted of the granular form of sodium silicate which is a substance that has a great ability to absorb different liquids. This litter is known as one of the most economical options on the market, won’t feel heavy and won’t make as much dust as the other litters do.
But even though a crystal litter will spare you from cleaning urine all over your house, know that you won’t save yourself from scooping out feces on daily basis. These litters can also get fuzzy since they won’t show puddles of urine as the other types but absorb it and get smellier and smellier by the time. Cats also tend to dig and roll them all over the floor, which won’t only make your home messy, but it can be extremely nasty to accidentally step on one of these.
Pellet litters are one of the most eco-friendly options on the market since they’re either made of wood or recyclable papers that are completely biodegradable. Aside from that, pellet litters have an incredible ability to absorb different liquids and odours and can be conveniently flushed down your toilet (except for the feces, of course).
But if you decide to go for this eco-friendly litter option, have in mind that cats tend to reject them, since the pellets can feel a little bit harsh and uncomfortable under their paws.
If you still want to get an eco-friendly litter for your cat and make sure that it will love it then go for a granular biodegradable litter. These litters are made from the by-products of different foods such as wheat, corn and pine and wood processing industries as well as from other materials that will otherwise go to waste. Not only will they last double than the traditional clay litters, but they can conveniently get flushed down the toilet once you need to replace them.
But have in mind that as much as they’re convenient, granular litters are sticky, which means they can easily find their way on your feline’s paws and get tracked all over your home too. They also aren’t able to capture odours as good as the clumping litters, so you’ll need to scoop off the feces at least twice a day if you want to keep your living space odour-free.
Introducing a New Litter to Your Cat
Once you choose the best option, it’s time to introduce it to your feline. But the transitioning process is not as easy as it seems, since cats are creatures of habits and any tiny change can be very stressful for them.
So, make sure you’re very patient and introduce a single change at a time. This means keeping things as close to the original ways as possible. For instance, if you’re trying out a new litter, make sure you’re using your kitten’s old litter box and vice versa. Also, make sure you don’t just “pour” the litter into your kitten’s litter box and leave, but mix the old and the new litters together. Start by mixing larger amounts of the old litter and smaller amounts of the new one, and slowly change this ratio until your kitten gets used to it. This will minimize the chances of your cat getting shocked and start resisting its litter box.
Treats are always welcome when it comes to introducing new habits. So, once your kitten uses its new litter don’t hesitate to reward it, so it can associate the new habit with good things. But if your kitten still resists and struggles to accept the new litter, scolding it is the worst thing you can do since you’ll scare it away even more. Instead, it’s best to stay patient and slow down or delay the transitioning process until you think your cat is ready for new changes again.