To Clump Or Not To Clump – How To Decide Which Cat Litter To Use

by on 10/10/10 at 1:59 pm

I have had cats for many years and have tried out many kinds of kitty litter. My cats and I have experimented with clumping, non-clumping, scented, non-scented. We have tested litters made from clay, corn, pine, and newspaper. There are pros and cons about each kind.

Non-clumping litters are, in my experience, the least expensive of all the litters. They absorb but don’t clump, the grains of litter are larger so you don’t find little footsteps leading from the living room to the seat of your favorite recliner. However, because this kind of litter doesn’t clump, the urine can’t be scooped each day like feces and eventually begins to smell. When changing non-clumping litter, you literally have to change the entire litter box at once and that makes for some heavy trash bags to haul outside.

Clumping litters are a bit more expensive for obvious reasons. There are chemicals in them that cause wet granules to bind together, making it very simple to clean the litter box daily. Just scoop out the balls of litter and dump. Simple. This litter, however, is much, much finer than the non-clumping stuff and therefore tracks much easier. You will see those little footsteps across the floor and you will probably see them on the couch, on your chairs and very possibly even in your bed! I feel the worst part about the clumping litters is not the little tracks of my beloved kitties, but the dust that is raised while scooping litter. It is bothersome to say the least but it is also unhealthy. The chemicals used to make this type of litter and the fineness of it combine to raise billows of dust each time you clean the litter box. I either pulled my shirt up over my nose or held my breath. Yes, there is a definite convenience to a clumping litter, but if the dust is unhealthy for me when I scoop, is it any less unhealthy for the cat using it, when he or she uses a paw to scrape and cover up the latest bathroom call?

In the end, I have decided to use non-scented, non-clumping litter made from recycled or natural materials. It does cost more, but I feel the benefits of staying away from chemical scents, chemical dust, and using a litter which can literally be flushed down the toilet instead of adding to a landfill, far outweighs the financial aspect.

A bit of research will help you determine which litter is most suitable for you and your cats. Cats don’t seem to mind one way or another what litter their humans’ choose, at least mine never have.

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