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Types of Kitty Litter

 by jaime on 23 Jul 2014 |
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When you're stocking up to refill your cat's litter box, you'll notice that there are many different types of kitty litter available. As it turns out, litter largely falls into four main classifications, each with its unique pros and cons.

Traditional clay litter
Clay kitty litter is easy to find, affordable and relatively effective. Clay absorbs liquid very well, separating the urine in a way that helps with odor control, and some types of clay litter will also include extra ingredients (such as charcoal) to help suppress unpleasant smells for longer. Unfortunately, however, traditional clay litter needs to be thrown away and replaced at least once each week, and it can be quite dusty.

Clumping litter
Technically a type of clay litter, clumping litter includes bentonite, prompting the litter to clump into easily removable lumps when exposed to urine. The convenience of clumping kitty litter is further heightened by the fact that it doesn't all need to be removed on a regular basis (as it is easy to remove the soiled clumps and simply top up the litter tray).

Silica litter
Silica gel is used to make a crystallized form of kitty litter that absorbs moisture in the same way that silica gel packets help to preserve foods that are vulnerable to moisture. One of the big selling points of this type of litter is that it helps to mitigate the unpleasant smell of your cat's waste more effectively than clay litters. As a bonus, silica litter also produces very little dust and it can be quite cost-effective as a result of being extremely absorbent. The major con of this type of product is that there is no clear consensus on whether (or to what extent) silica litter is toxic to cats. Since cats can sometimes eat their litter as a result of behavioral problems or nutritional deficiencies, some owners worry about the safety of silica litter.

Biodegradable litter
If you want to have a more environmentally friendly home, biodegradable kitty litter can be a helpful choice and are made from materials as diverse as recycled paper and corn. Biodegradable litters are usually pellets that disintegrate into dust in response to moisture, absorbing the odor. In addition, there are no obvious safety concerns associated with these types of litter, and some of them can even be flushed down the toilet. If you have allergies or have a cat with respiratory problems, the lack of irritating dust associated with most biodegradable litters can be a further benefit.

Finally, it's important to note that the kitty litter that you end up with may well be partly dictated by your cat's preferences. Some pets are fussy about the texture or scent of certain types of litter, and may refuse to use the litter box properly unless you change to a new product. Trial and error will help you to find a kitty litter that suits both you and your pet.

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