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Your Cat Litter Choices

May 12, 2008
There are numerous reasons why many people consider the cat to be an ideal family pet. One of those reasons is simply that there is very little potty training involved. Get some cat litter and a litter box and you now have a pet you can keep inside with you all day.

Mother cats are great about teaching their kittens how to use a litter box. Your job is simply to make sure your cat knows where the box is located. Once he learns this, it is unlikely he'll do his business elsewhere. But that doesn't mean there aren't some decisions for you to make. And the first one is deciding what type of litter you want to use.

If this is your first cat you'll be a bit shocked when you see all the different types of litter now available. So how do you decide what's best for you and your pet?

Cost will always come into play, and clay litter is probably the cheapest you can buy. It's also been around a very long time. But clay does present some problems. It absorbs liquids and odors, which is good, but it will need to be changed more often than most litters. Surely you don't want your home to have that foul cat waste odor. Clay can also cause problems if your kitten has allergies. When your cat scratches in his box, the dust will fly everywhere.

Clumping cat litter has replaced basic clay as the litter of choice for most pet owners. As soon as your cat goes, the litter works with the moisture in the waste and forms large clumps. That means all you need to do is scoop out the clumps, there's no need to change the entire box. Then just put in more litter to replace what you just scooped. Clumping litter also comes with various scents to help hide the smell. So what are the drawbacks? Well some cats will eat the clumped waste. Watch your kitten to make certain this is not a problem.

Silica litters are great at controlling both odor and moisture by using silica crystals mixed with water and sand. Silica is the same substance used in those small packets placed in pill bottles or new shoes. Those packets are there to absorb moisture, and they work just as well in cat litter. You still have to scoop out the solid waste, but the liquid and odors are absorbed by the crystals. Another positive attribute is that this litter is biodegradable. When it decomposes it simply returns to a sandy base. On the down side, it does not clump, so scooping the solid waste can be messy.

Paper litter is also biodegradable, making it a popular choice among those considered more "green." Recycled paper or pellets are used to make this absorbent litter. It is also very light, making it easy to carry around.

Another litter that is generally biodegradable is made from wood. Pine is the preferred choice because of it's natural odor absorbency, but other woods are used as well. All softwood litters are absorbent with natural odor control capabilities. That means no chemicals need to be added, giving you a more natural product.

Here's the concern; no matter what you think is best, your cat may wholeheartedly disagree. He may hate what you choose and he'll let you know by not using it. Some won't use silica because the crystals can irritate their paws. Others shy away from pine just because they don't enjoy the smell. One good thing about cats is they will let you know what they don't like and what they do like without being able to speak.

The key is to become as informed as possible about all the different options. Then you can make an intelligent selection. Of course you'll still have to run it by your cat to see if he approves.
About the Author
For additional facts on these and other cat litter choices visit CatLitterBoxesPlus.com. You'll also read about different litter boxes including the automatic cat litter box that makes clean up a breeze.
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