Cat Litter Reviews

Silica gel cat litter … also known as crystals and pearls
These crystals or pearls are not plant based … but made from a dried silica gel. The main ingredient is sodium silicate, which is an extremely absorbent material. It effectively controls odors and can last a long time.
Sodium silicate has many industrial uses. It is used in the little silica packs that are put into pill bottles and shoe boxes to absorb moisture.
These packs usually come with warnings, such as “do not swallow.”
Concern does exist that ongoing exposure to silica dust is associated with pulmonary (functioning of the lungs) difficulties.
… sodium silicate is in its natural state so it does not decompose. It is a non-renewable but plentiful resource.
Silica gel cat litter review
I tried both the crystal and pearl silica litter some time ago. Both controlled odor well but with five cats I found this litter to be a bit too pricey for me.
When the crystals or pearls cannot absorb any more moisture the next delivery of urine will become a puddle on the bottom of your litter box. Should any pearls escape from the box they roll around all over the place.
Clay based cat litter – available as clumping and non-clumping
The granddaddy of kitty litters is clay litter. This litter has fine sand-like qualities which cats like. Clumping is the most popular … and can be easily scooped along with the poop.
However, there are concerns that the chemical that makes it clump, sodium bentonite, may cause serious health problems for pets and notably very young kittens. That seems pretty logical given sodium bentonite hardens (clumps) and expands up to 15 times when it comes in contact with moisture.
In spite of that, some ‘authorities’ claim clay litters pose no risks to a kitten’s or a cat’s health.
Given the growing concerns about the safety of our food and the alarming discovery that children’s toys contain toxic materials … I would be very inclined to play it safe … and use one of the many alternative litters.
After all, a kitten or a cat must stand in the litter and all cats lick their paws. (Cats and people inhale the dust.)
If the clumping and expanding properties of sodium bentonite are enough to plug up a toilet (been there – done that) can we be sure this litter will simply slip right on through a kitten’s or cat’s digestive system with no adverse affects?
If a curious toddler swallowed this litter, the next stop would be the Emergency ward, at the nearest hospital. And dogs have been known to nose around in a litter box to grab a quick snack.
Some cat owners have marveled when symptoms of poor health disappeared, once the clay litter was replaced with an alternate litter. They are not experts, just ordinary consumers who observe and know their cats.
Clay based clumping litter remains popular and many cat owners are quite happy with it.
… clay is in its natural state and therefore does not decompose. It is a non-renewable resource.
Clay litter review
The only thing I really remember about this clumping litter is my daughter scooped and flushed the litter down the toilet.
At some point, this litter expanded and plugged a pipe.
When I was done with the plumber, I was done with the litter.
Some plant based cat litters
Feline pine litter
This litter uses kiln-dried pine sawdust. The pine oils have been removed and the pellets are sterilized. The manufacturer states one 20 pound bag (9 kg) of Feline Pine will outlast a 60 pound bag (27 kg) of clay litter.
Over time, the pellets will break down into sawdust. At that point, the sawdust leaves the litter box on your cat’s paws and gets messy. It also gets stinky and needs to be replaced. Feline pine is earth friendly and has a pleasant pine scent. There are two kinds, original and clumping.
Some house cats may need to get used to or will simply not like the texture of the pellets. My cats don’t give a hoot.
… a biodegradable and renewable resource
Pine litter review
We did use the original, unclumping litter. We found it to be less work than a clumping litter which needs constant scooping. The fresh pine pellets absorb the urine but also dry out so there is no unpleasant odor for several days (dependant on how many cats you have).
The pellets do eventually break down causing a tracking problem. At that point, the litter also becomes stinky and needs to be replaced.
Cat on a budget tip !
kitten putting money in piggy bank
Look for bulk cat litter
If you live in a rural area, like us, you may be able to buy bulk cat litter.
Look for large bags of pine or other wood pellets that are used for horse stall bedding … and save some kitty cash.
If you know of other materials that can be used as bulk cat litter, please share them here.
World’s Best Cat Litter
Odor is controlled by protein molecules in the corn. The manufacturer states,
… World’s Best contains “no synthetic chemicals, clays or perfumes.”
… the litter outlasts traditional clumping clay litters because of quick clumping properties, keeping the remaining litter dry.
World’s Best comes in three basic formulas: Clumping, Multi-Cat Clumping and Scented Multiple Cat Clumping.
Some manufacturers of self cleaning litter boxes recommend this brand because it does not have a gummy texture and will not clog the machines.
Many cat owners love this brand. It does cost more than most but the manufacturer states you use less.
… a biodegradable and renewable resource
World’s Best Litter review
We had a tracking problem with World’s Best litter. It clumped well but did not offer outstanding odor control. In our minds, it was comparable to Swheat Scoop. Our cats had no problem adjusting to it.
Arm & Hammer Cat Litter
Their Essential Multi-Cat Natural Clumping Litter is also corn based.
Combined with baking soda to control odors, and plant extracts, it is a gentle combination that is earth friendly.
Good for your cat, good for your family.
It has a soft texture which cats like and is descibed as absorbing twice as much moisture as clay litters.
Look for the green top. (Arm & Hammer also produce clay based litter products.)
… corn is biodegradable and a renewable resource.
Swheat Scoop Natural Wheat Cat Litter
Secondary grade wheat is naturally processed into an environmentally friendly litter with clumping properties. When exposed to moisture the natural wheat starches begin the clumping process. Wheat enzymes do their bit and help to neutralize unpleasant odors.
Swheat litter is chemical and fragrance free and described as safe and non-toxic for cats and kittens should they swallow some while grooming.
… a biodegradable and renewable resource
Swheat cat litter review
We found this litter to be a bit messy and somewhat dusty. Unless you use liners, it can get gummy and stick to the litter box. We found SWheat and World’s Best Cat Litter to be somewhat alike. Both litters were made available to our cats at once and they had no preference.
Yesterday’s News Litter
This litter really does embrace the concept of recycling and is made from recycled newspapers. In pellet form, it is an almost completely dust free, tends not to get tracked all through your home, and is three times more absorbent than clay.
It is available in two textures, original and softer. The softer texture tends to resemble sand, which is appealing to cats. Yesterday’s News is also recommended by veterinarians for cats recovering from surgery.
… this biodegradable litter is plant based and trees are a renewable resource.
Yesterday’s News review
We used the pellet type. There was very little tracking.
You definitely need to scoop the soiled pellets at least daily. If you don’t scoop, this litter can develop a powerful ammonia-like smell within a few days.
We found that the soiled pellets can be a bit difficult to see because of their dark color.
If you change your brand of kitty litter, do so gradually
Cats are very much creatures of habit and don’t adjust quickly to any sudden changes.
Over a period of a few weeks, add some of the new to the old type. Start with about one part new on the bottom of the litter box with four parts of the old litter on top. As your cat paws at the litter, to cover its latest deposit, the litters will mix. Continue to increase the new portion when you clean the litter box.

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