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Bare Bones: Kitty Litter Types

Choosing kitty litter is a tough decision! There are so many options out there, and changing litter types can upset your cat and cause naughty "elimination" behaviors. Many users shy away from the traditional clay or silica gel varieties which can contain carcinogens and burden landfills, and choose more eco-tastic alternatives. To see what makes up some earth friendly alternatives,

  • Corn. The porous surface of corn can allow liquid and odor to be easy absorbed, and also create firm clumps to make clean up quick and easy. Options: World's Best or LitterMaid.
  • Wood pellets. Reclaimed wood (that would normally end up in landfills) is another option – the wood pellets are reduced to sawdust as they absorb the liquid. When this happens, use a special scoop to clean the waste out of the litterbox – this pine-scented litter is often used for odor control. Options: Feline Pine or Trader Joe's store-brand alternative.
  • Recycled newspapers. Reusing existing resources, such as paper, is another environmentally-safe option. These brands use recycled newspaper to make up their litter – very eco-friendly, but slightly lacking in odor control. Options: Good Mews or Yesterday's News.
  • Wheat. The starches in wheat help this litter clump easily. However, you'll also need to make sure your litterbox is deep enough that the clumps don't then stick on the bottom. Options: Swheat Scoop.

Those are some of the more mainstream alternatives – but there are others that use citrus peel or even crushed walnuts! Have a favorite kind of litter? Share it with us in your comments below!


jeijei81 jeijei81 9 years
I use SWheat, and the Trader Joes brand. They seem to work good.
demily demily 9 years
I use Green Tea Leaves cat litter, and I really like it. I just switched to that from the clear pebbles, and I like it better. You can scoop pee and poop, and it neutralizes the odor well. And it is very eco-friendly. The only slight problem is that they track the tea leaves more than the clear stuff.
JessBear JessBear 9 years
After I found out that clay litters contain dust that is just hoorible for kitties' lungs, I switched to pine. For some reason, though, I find that Feline Pine disintegrates really fast with my kitties. (which is weird because I housesit for two HUGE cats with HUGE bathroom habits, and the same litter will last twice as long with them...maybe my kitties just pee a lot?) So now I buy a pine litter that isn't in pellets, but more like sand. It lasts a little longer and is cheaper. I love how well it controls odor, but I mix it with a pound or so of baking soda for a cheap, added odor control.
MandyJoBo MandyJoBo 9 years
I researched litter before I adopted my cats so I could find the safest one. I have never used anything that wasn't all-natural. My favorite is a mixture of World's Best (for clumping action and absorption) and Feline Pine Scoop (for scent and softness). I didn't like the way ANY of them worked on their own. Luckily, my cats will use anything I put in their potty, so we got to try them all.
Spectra Spectra 9 years
My cat only likes the cheap-o clumping store-brand stuff. It works pretty controls odors reasonably well and it's not expensive.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 9 years
Very true davisdavis....having your cat tested is often the only way of knowing if your cat is a carrier (since most cats show no symptoms of infection). If your cat is free of infection...there isn't really an environmental issue with flushing the litter...but be sure the sewer pipes can handle it!!
ChapstickAddict ChapstickAddict 9 years
I tried starting my cat out with Swheat scoop. Not only did she refuse to go to the bathroom for three days, it also attracted tons of ants. I've since tried World's Best as well but the only litter she'll actually use is Tidy Cats.
davisdavis davisdavis 9 years
Thanks for the reminder, bluesarahlou. I'm flushing waste from an uninfected, indoor-only cat, so the sea otters are safe. It is easy to test your cat for toxoplasma gondii, just take a stool sample to your vet's office. Additionally, much of what we assume goes into landfills winds up in the ocean, via runoff. There's no good disposal method, but you're right, flushing waste from affected cats or cats you haven't tested is a terrible idea.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 9 years
Just a heads up....flushable cat litter is not exactly eco-friendly. A parasite called Toxoplasma gondii (the same parasite which causes birth defects in humans) infects sea otters and river otters, killing approximately 17% of those infected. Since cats are the only animals which shed the parasite in their feces, there is solid evidence of a direct correlation between increased usage of flushable litter and increased infections of otters. There has been legislation in California to increase awareness of this issue. Although T. gondii is not the only thing killing these endangered creatures, it is definitely something we can help prevent. For more information...
davisdavis davisdavis 9 years
I use World's Best. It is fantastic because it clumps, but the grains are not so small (like clumping clay litters) that they get tracked everywhere. Plus, it is truly flushable and septic safe. I started using it because I have asthma and the clay dust was irritating me. My cat really seems to like it- she had no problems transitioning to it, but she didn't like recycled paper products or clay litter with larger grains. I didn't blame her about the paper products- they didn't seem to handle smell very well at all. Corn-based litters can be pricey, but the box doesn't have to be completely changed very often (really! I know it sounds insane, but really!), and inhaling clay is bad for everyone.
grrl13 grrl13 9 years
I used TidyCats...then decided to make the smart eco choice to switch to Feline pine. I loved it! Day by day i mixed a little more Pine into his litter. However, as slowly as i introduced it to my cat, he decided the couch was his new litter box. Needless to say, i ran out to by more Tidy Cats and couch cleaner as soon as i discovered the presents he left me. If i ever have another cat, i will START with feline pine.
james-bond-girl james-bond-girl 9 years
I use Yesterdays News for my cat and cat has allergies and lung problems so this helps him out that way, and when my puppy isn't using her litterbox for its main purpose she thinks her litter pellets are something to pick up and run away with so if she swallows any of it I know she's not gonna get sick like she would from regular kitty litter... I don't think it doesn't eliminate odor, I like it...You just have to learn how to clean and scoop it right because it doesn't clump like regular litter instead wet spots disinegrate into dust, so you have to sift through it carefully to find the dust spots.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
kiddylnd same here. I used Yesterday News a few times but they did not like it.
hottpink hottpink 9 years
I use Feline Pine....very good for the environment and the kitties. When I first switched them, I mixed a little feline pine and a little of the regular and they got used to it! I love the stuff now and so do my kitties :)
kiddylnd kiddylnd 9 years
My kitties won't use any of the fancy, good for the environment stuff. They like the Tidy Cats and that's it. Our shelter uses the recycled newspaper though and none of them seem to mind it.
sugarbecky sugarbecky 9 years
sorry, ashcwebb :) I'm having typing difficulties today :)
sugarbecky sugarbecky 9 years
Ditto, aschwebb! My kitties go through litter really quickly! (I use the Arm & Hammer sand kind)
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
That reminds me...need to buy some soon...
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