Nowadays, the variety of cat litter is varied and growing and the most common types include clay, crystals, paper, woods and planted-based. Cats are notoriously fussy and if owners find a litter that the cat happily uses, then it is difficult to change the habits of cats.
So how do you decide which one is right for you and your cat? Let’s explore each type and how they work.
We usually compare for ingredients, odour control, whether easy-cleaning, cost performance, whether preferred easily by cats, ability for clumping and whether contain activated carbon and baking soda.
Clay litter is the number one most recognised type of litter among cat owners. It’s great for odour control, relatively easy to scoop, and many cats have no problem with learning to dig in clay litter. However, there are several problems with clay litter!
Firstly, there's the huge amount of dust. Some cats can inhale enough dust that it can cause lung issues, and possible death. And the dust contains a hidden chemical that makes it even more toxic.
The second problem with clay litter: sodium bentonite. This is what causes the clumping action in clay litter, and it's especially dangerous when ingested...which all cats will do when they lick their paws after using the litter box. Clay litter can cause intestinal blockages which can lead to death, and the sodium bentonite is also a known health hazard for people.
The third problem with clay litter is that it's environmentally destructive in addition to being a health hazard! Clay litter is stripe mined from otherwise pristine natural environments, killing native wildlife, ruining their habitat, and dumping tons and tons of silt into rivers and the ocean, where it chokes aquatic life and further destroys the ecosystem. Not good!
The bottom line is that, although clay litter is cheap, that's about the only benefit it offers. It's harmful for your cat, it's harmful for you, and it's harmful for the planet. Avoid it at all costs!
Made from solid granules of sodium silicate, the products tend to be highly absorbent due to an increased porosity. These litters are highly absorbent and control odors well so they tend to need to be changed less frequently than other products. But is also very dangerous.
Firstly, if accidentally eaten, and can cause death if ingested.
Secondly, something to consider with silica crystal litters is that even though the smells and urine are trapped in the granules, by not changing the litter as frequently, bacteria do remain in place for longer periods.
Thirdly, the crystals are also very painful on paws and difficult for your kitty to dig in.
Fourthly, using crystal litter can lead to your cat developing silicosis from the inhalation of microscopic silica dust.
Fifthly, even worse, most crystal litter is dyed blue with a chemical called cobalt chloride. This dye helps indicate the moisture level in the litter, but this dye is known to cause cancer in both your kitty and you: it has carcinogenic characteristics and is very bad for your kitty, you and your family, and the environment in general.
Paper litters come in a granule or pellet form and are made from recycled paper. There are also have some problems when you use.
Firstly, these litters are very absorbent but do not form clumps to hold the urine within. The urine tends to sink down into the lower layers and you can change just the ‘wet’ part of the litter then top-up the tray.
Secondly, paper litters are dust-free and biodegradable. But just like with clay litter, a dangerous clumping compound is added to paper litter. You guessed it: sodium bentonite, a compound that is known to be a health hazard to people and kitties. Without this clumping agent, paper litter wouldn't clump!
Thirdly, paper litter also isn't very absorbent, doesn't control odors very well, and ultimately, ends up in a landfill right alongside clay litter, making it not a good alternative to clay and crystal litter.
wood cat litter waste from other forms of manufacturing or processing are treated to remove any contaminants and then made into pellets, granules or raw pieces. But there are some problems for woods litter.
Firstly, the natural absorbency of wood draws urine into the material and may clump in a less traditional form. If the wood is very fine, the urine may create a sort of crumble sawdust material.
Secondly, pine is a common wood used for these litters. But cats hate the smelling about pine. Some wood products include a small percentage of Bentonite. But like the paper, the ability for clumping and odour-control of the woods are also very poor. So they have to add some dangerous clumping or odour-control compound to fix it.
Planted-based litter (Tofu cat litter)
Tofu cat litter raw material formula is mainly soybean fibre, corn starch, peas, tapioca flour. Solidarity is better, safe, good deodorisation, clean and convenient. However, according to Product Review Australia, some tofu litters add too much chemical flavor like lavender, some fruit and spice. But cats hate that smells. In fact, the product quantity for ingredients of tofu litter like soybean is unsteady. It even will lead to ability for clumping or odour reduction is different each pack. So, their litters always have negative comment about that.(More about smells cat hate)
How to choose the right cat litter depends on some factors.
According to the material, there are two ways of deodorisation: physical adsorption deodorisation (activated charcoal, plant fiber and clays), chemical neutralisation deodorisation that Ph value of product and whether baking soda added. The clay, the paper and the wood usually have only physical deodorisation and the crystals and the plant-based not only have physical deodorisation but also chemical. So, their ability for odour-control is stronger than the rest three. ( Eight reason why cats are dissatisfied with cat litter/cat litter box )
Whether easy cleaning:
The ability for clumping and the absorption are two main factors that whether easy cleaning. There has the strongest ability for clumping is the plant-based and the worst one is the woods and crystals. But have the highest absorption ability is the plant-based.
Value of money
The following table shows the 5 types of cat litters sold on an Australian market.
Cost: Which Cat Litter is Best Value?
As the table, is it really expensive for tofu cat litter? At a glance, you may be led to believe that non-clumping litter is the cheaper option. However, these litters generally need to be replaced much more frequently than clumping alternatives making the initial difference in price almost negligible. According to Product Review Australia, you might need to replace a recycled paper pellet litter every 1-2 days, but you can make a tray of clumping litter stretch for up to 2 weeks. Furthermore, the using time is also an important factor to save your money. Although one package for clay or other litter is cheap and heavy, their using time is almost like 2 weeks or within. The planted-based cat litter is the most expensive but they can cover 2-3 weeks:
Clay: Less than $1.00 a day
Paper: More than $2.00 a day
Wood: More than $1.50 a day
Crystals: Over $1.50 a day
Plate based: Less than $1.00 a day
That means you can save more money per day when you use tofu cat litter. Regardless of which litter you choose, cleaning out solid waste and clumps regularly will help to extend its usable life and save you dollars in the long run.
Choosing a litter ultimately comes down to your cat's individual preference as well as your budget and lifestyle. Live in an apartment or keep your cat's litter box in the kitchen? Odour reducing clumping litter is probably the best choice for you. Prefer to minimize your environmental impact and don't mind putting soiled litter in the compost?
Lets try Tofu cat litter Australia
Tips: When using it, please put it on the bottom of litter box over 5cm, which is more economical, easier cleaning, and make the best effect for the deodorisation.