I swear my husband and I have tried at least 5 different types and brands of cat litter for our two cats; this is less a review than an attempt to share the story of our quest with the intention of helping others make their own decision. There are so many features to consider: blocking odor, cleanliness and lack of dust, ease of use, economics, and ability to dispose of the litter. Our criteria for selecting the kitty litter has continued to evolve as our cats have aged. Thank goodness are cats are easy-going and have adapted to the many litter changes we have inflicted on them.
We adopted our cats as kittens from a display in a PetSmart store. One of our cats had been there off and on for weeks because she developed red eyes from an allergy to the cat litter they were using and that affected her adoptability. She had to be sent to a foster home to allow her allergy to subside and was then brought back with instructions. We were told it was the litter dust. So our first criteria was no litter dust. They had used paper litter to alleviate her problem; because of this, we originally used “Yesterday’s News.”
In our town we have to pay for trash collection, so I was also considering ease of disposing of the litter; I was looking for something I could dump outside. I thought because the litter was paper it would disintegrate over time in the rain outdoors. This did not prove to be the case. Every time I changed the box, I dumped the litter in a pile at the edge of our yard. After a couple of years of this, my husband went to discard some branches in the same area and saw my dumping ground: “You have a Mount Poopsuvius out there! You can’t keep doing that.” So…now what? What wouldn’t be dusty and would break down better?
We initially switched to “Feline Pine” and then to a cheaper generic pine product. The cats were fine with the change and it broke down outside, but my husband couldn’t stand the odor. I could scoop the solid waste, but not the urine. The urine made the pine break down and there was no way to scoop it out. The box had to be changed too often. When you think about it, the odor of pine does have an acidic element; it seemed to magnify the ammonia smell and make it overpowering.
One week in a pinch I tried some sort of crystal product I found at a local discount store…dusty paw prints everywhere and the smell was still there. That experiment was over quickly.
My husband went to the Internet and read the reviews for “World’s Best Cat Litter.” We initially tried the “Multi-cat” in the red and black bag. Again, the cats were fine with it. I liked that it could still be dumped outside because it was corn-based, and that both types of waste could be scooped out because it was “clumping” litter. Unfortunately, despite my best scooping efforts, my husband still complained about the smell. The odor-control element was just not there. I managed to find a small bag of the “Multi-cat Scented” in the purple and black bag, a natural product scented with lavender. I thought we had found the answer. But it was hard to find the litter in stock, even at the pet specialty stores. And the odor was STILL an issue; the lavender smell was too delicate to mask the ammonia.
At this point you might be wondering whether I only have one litter box? No, I have multiple cat boxes in the house, but both cats insist on going only in the one box. (When they were kittens they would actually go into the box at the same time, which the vet said was very strange!) So in the end, odor control became the most important criteria for us in determining which cat litter to use. We are now using “Arm and Hammer” clumping litter with odor control. If I have to put the litter in the trash, I guess that is what will have to happen. My husband found it at the local warehouse store so the savings of buying in bulk probably cancels out the price for disposal. So far, my allergic cat has not developed red eyes, and my husband no longer complains about the smell. I guess we have finally arrived at the cat litter of choice for us and our cats.
So cat lovers…what’s your #1 criteria when it comes to cat litter?