I recently got to try out a new natural litter-and-box system that may be particularly interesting to cat lovers with mobility limitations or a deep desire to get plastic out of the environment.
More on that in a moment, but first: based on my own experience and what I’m hearing from you, our biggest cat litter concerns are:
- will my cat use the litter? (essential!)
- does it reduce odor and keep things sanitary (without using chemicals or essential oils)?
- is it ecological?
- does it pose any significant health risks?
- (bonus) does it minimize the amount that appears outside the box?
Clay, which is mined, is also not considered the most ecological choice. And, many people are suspicious of clay litters, with rumors that some cats may end up with clay messing up their digestive system. I cannot cite research on this, I just know that it’s a worry for some people.
In our house, biodegradable pine pellet litter is our favorite. I find it neutralizes odor better than any other litter I’ve tried. Trader Joe’s sells an inexpensive pine litter that we frequently buy.
Though Feline Pine makes a clumping pine litter, I actually prefer the nonclumping litter because there is no need to scoop out clumps when the odor is neutralized.
Having said that, I know we are lucky our cats have always taken well to the pellets. If your cat doesn’t like them, even after you’ve introduced it gradually in the mixed-in manner, you’ll need other options.
I haven’t tried it yet, but cat expert JaneA Kelley and her crew at Paws and Effect have become fans of Blue Naturally Fresh, a clumping formula made of walnut shells. They wrote: “It clumps like concrete, the odor control is great, and the scatter is pretty minimal.” They also mentioned that the original formula clumps better than the multi-cat formula.
In addition, many folks in the Natural Cat community swear by World’s Best Cat Litter, which is made of corn. Bear in mind though, if your cat has a strong digestive sensitivity to grains, corn may not work out.
Interesting option: a plastic-free, convenient system
The nice people at LitterOne sent me a sample of their new product to try out.
It’s a recycled, biodegradable, 100% plastic-free, clay-free litter and box system that is sent through the mail.
Here’s what’s neat about:
- It uses pine pellets (more ecological, very low odor)
- It minimizes litter tracking by having a built-in sifting tray under the litter, which collects the sawdust created when a cat urinates on pine pellets
- You’ll never have to use a plastic bag (or even scooper!) for cat litter again. (There’s something about hearing about a country-size mass of plastic floating in our ocean and killing marine life, that makes me hate plastic.)
- I think this may be a great idea for elderly and disabled folks who really don’t want to give up living with feline friends. It’s ideal for people who, due to physical limitations, find constant litter box maintenance difficult. You only have to scoop the solid mass, because the urine-saw-dust just filters downward. And the entire product, from box to litter, is made from recycled, biodegradable matter so you throw it out almost guilt-free when you are done with it. The new one will have already arrived in the mail.
The drawback is that it’s not, of course, ecologically footprint-free to throw out and start over every month. And yet, it is made from recycled, renewable material, not plastic and plastic bags. You decide what is most important to you.
Speaking of which, I know people are passionate about the topic of cat litter choice, so feel free to weigh in in the Comments below.