Environmentally Friendly Options
Do you suffer from kitty litter confusion? Frequently our customers ask us for the best options. We pulled together the following resource guide to help clarify some common questions on what the best options are:
The Humane Society provides some tips on their site and guidelines for cat owners.
- Scoop feces out of the litter box daily.
- How often you actually replace the litter depends on the number of cats you have, the number of litter boxes and the type of litter you use.
- Twice a week is a general guideline for replacing clay litter, but depending on your circumstances, you may need to replace it every other day or only once a week.
- If you clean the litter box daily, you might only need to change clumping litter every two to three weeks. If you notice an odor or if much of the litter is wet or clumped, it’s time for a change.
- Scrub the box every time you change the litter. Use mild dish detergent to clean it, as products with ammonia or citrus oils can turn a cat off, and some cleaning products are toxic to cats.
With that in mind, here is the scoop:
Grass-based litter clumps and does very well with controlling odor. Good for inconsistent scoopers (however we recommend you scoop your cat’s litter box 1-2 times a day no matter what kind of litter you use). Smart Cat is a grass-based option.
Pros – Dust free, lightweight, Biodegradable, chemical and fragrance-free, made from renewable sourced, Non-GMO American grass.
Biodegradable means that it will break down in the landfill if thrown away. It can also be used as mulch under non-edible plants once solid waste is removed. And all the litters we sell except clay litter is biodegradable.
Cons – This litter tracks but not too bad.
Pine Litter Chip –
A wood-based litter that comes in clumping and non-clumping formulas. This litter has great order control. It’s good for inconsistent scoopers. Feline Fresh is 100%, Southern Yellow Pine. Kitty’s Gone Green is a locally made pine litter that does not clump and has great odor control and is great for senior and special need cats. It is also biodegradable and free of fragrance and chemicals. (not available at all stores).
Pros – Flushable, scoopable and biodegradable. No fragrance or chemicals.
Cons – Some cats may not like the pine smell, or consistency, of this product. This litter does track but not badly.
Please check with your city on what the code is for flushing pet waste. Just because you can flush it doesn’t mean you should. The only litter you CAN NOT FLUSH is clay.
Pine pellets break down from urine over time. You can scoop solid waste out after the pellets have broken down it’s time to replace your litter. 1-2 weeks depending on your cats. After scooping one last time toss the leftover pellets as mulch under ornamental landscape plants or even compost (note: do not use in compost that will be used in gardens or on other food-related plants if your city does curbside compost pickup no pet waste of any kind could be included).
Pros – Good for inconsistent scoopers. Feline Fresh and Integrity Natural Pine are pine pellets. Okocat (not available at all locations) is pine “clumps.”
Cons – Just like with the chips, some cats may not like the pine smell. Can track some.
Can be a great inexpensive litter however not good for lazy litter box habits, and this litter needs to be changed often. Okocat (not available at all locations) also makes a paper pellet litter.
Pros – Slightly more user intense but a very approachable price point for an environmentally friendly option.
Cons – Paper litter doesn’t clump and just stays wet in the box so scooping often is a necessity. Can track some.
Does clump and requires scooping. Our bestselling brand is World’s Best Corn Cat Litter. WB comes in multi-cat (red package) which we carry at all the stores and lavender scent (purple package). Integrity Natural Corn Litter is our second bestselling corn litter. Integrity is actually a corn/pine blend that is biodegradable, sustainable and fragrance-free.
Pros – Corn litter is sustainable, biodegradable and flushable.
Cons – This litter type is more expensive than either clay or crystal litters. This litter does track.
Nut-Based Litters –
Blue Buffalo Naturally Fresh is walnut based. Biodegradable and made in the USA.
Pros – This is an environmentally friendly use of a naturally produced waste byproduct. Greater absorption factor than other litters.
Cons – Often times this litter is a dark brown color which makes noticing changes in waste more difficult. Some walnut litters can cause problems for a cat if they are allergic. This kind of litter can track.
It’s classic and it’s familiar, the best one for lazy litter box habits. It clumps, can help with odor and comes in all kinds of varieties. However- clay litters are not biodegradable, not flushable, and are not ecologically friendly. Integrity Clumping Clay Litter (also available in multi-cat) is our most popular brand followed up by Dr. Elsey’s Cat Attract.
According to Stanford’s Eco Advice: “Digging Deeper: The Scoop on Cat Litter,” 75% of cat litters on the market are made using bentonite clay. Unfortunately, the majority of sodium bentonite in America is strip-mined in Wyoming. “Strip mining is as bad as it sounds. Also known as surface mining, the mining company bulldozes everything at surface level, then removes the topsoil down to the desired mineral. This type of mining destroys the local environment, displaces wildlife due to habitat loss, and can contaminate water tables.” It can also cause lung problems!
Pros – Inexpensive, easily available, good odor control.
Cons – Heavy. Also, many commercial brands contain silica gel and sodium bentonite, a clumping agent. Silica gel can cause respiratory problems and sodium bentonite sticks to the paws which cause tracking and can end up in your cat’s digestive tract after grooming. This type of litter does track.
This is a decision that you and your cat need to make. What works for some won’t work for others. Whatever you choose, make sure that you clean the litter box frequently and choose a product that fits your habits and your cat’s preferences.