Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Because I know you care about your cats.

Cat litter was always gross to me growing up. But, now that I no longer have parents who will clean up litter for me, I've got to take care of it myself.

We do have two cats, and since we want the best for them, we've tried out a number of different cat litters.

There's the traditional clay litter that doesn't clump. While inexpensive, it's awful wasteful because you have to toss out a bunch every couple of days. That never appealed to either of us.

Then there's the clumping clay litter. Evidentially, there was some controversy over the "dangers" of clumping clay, which appear to have stemmed from one woman's experience. But nobody else seems to have had cats die (or even have problems) because they were eating the litter. Our cats have never eaten litter - dogs may be that dumb, but cats? Anyway, the dust from clay may be an issue, or it may not - but in general, the clumping clay litters have odd chemicals added to them, and we'd rather not have that. Oh, and there's the possibility of the clay gumming up your sewer line - not what I'd want to have to get fixed.

We tried the wheat-based clumping cat litter. This stuff certainly clumps, and it clumps hard. If you have it deep enough (3" or so), the urine builds little solid cylinders of clumped litter. If it isn't deep enough, then the urine spreads out and cements itself to the bottom of your litter box (not fun at all). I found the clumps to be way too hard - they took 10-15 minutes to dissolve in water. So, while they wouldn't make any permanent clogs in the sewer, you couldn't always immediately flush down the clumps.

We tried the paper-based litter, which doesn't clump. This litter is different than the rest in that it's composed of a pea-sized balls of recycled paper. The urine soaks into the paper balls, and you have to scoop out the wet balls. The feces seemed to just sit there - dried out. While it was a little bit of a pain to scoop out the wet balls (if you accidentally stirred the litter - the wet balls would be everywhere), the litter behaved well enough. It flushed down super easy, never clogging the toilet (and ours has clogged when I've just peed in it). The biggest drawback was that it tracked. I have no idea how the cats tracked pea-sized balls around the house, but there were some, and they were very painful to step on.

The last type of litter we tried was the corn-based, modestly named World's Best Cat Litter. I have no idea if it is truly the world's best, but it clumps nicely and seems to control the odor well. Like the other non-clay litters, it is flushable and biodegradable. Like the others, it has very little dust, and is even safe to eat (not recommended).

They all have slight smells - not bad, just different. And they all worked. The corn just seems to have the best of all the options, with the fewest drawbacks. And now that we're letting the cats outside, we don't go through it so fast. It is not cheap.

What we really need is a self-cleaning litter box. Perhaps Simone will get one for her first birthday....

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