Cats, as indoor animals, need a place where they can satisfy their physiological needs. Therefore, it is worth knowing which cat litter to choose.
Where to put a cat litter box
Taking into account the natural behavior of these animals, caregivers must find an appropriate place for the litter box and choose the right cat litter. Usually the best location is the bathroom, because the cat likes the litter box to be in a secluded and quiet place. If we have more than one kitten, we should have as many litter boxes at home as we have cats, or even one more. This meets their behavioral needs and helps us avoid future problems with polluting other places in the house. Here, it should be remembered that relieving yourself outside the litter box may also have health reasons. I recommend reading the article “10 symptoms of disease in cats”.
What should a cat litter box be like?
The litter box should be large – its minimum width must be as long as the cat’s body length, and its length must be half as long. It should also be clean and filled with appropriate substrate. Cats have a strong need to dig up the place where they want to defecate and then thoroughly bury the feces.
Types of cat litter
What cat litter is best? There is no clear answer here, because there is a large selection of various products available on the market, but everyone will find the best solution.
First, let’s take bentonite litter, which seems to be the most popular. It is a type of very fine gravel with strong adsorption properties. Under the influence of cat urine, it forms lumps that are then very easy to remove from the litter box. This litter is loose and pleasant for animals to use because its structure resembles natural soil. In addition, it absorbs odors quite well. However, it has several drawbacks. First of all, each bentonite litter creates more or less dust and is spread around the apartment on cats’ paws (especially in the case of long-haired cats). Sometimes lumpy lumps of litter stick to the bottom of the litter box, making it more difficult to remove the excrements. There are also isolated cases of cats (especially kittens) that try to eat such litter, and it is very dangerous for the animal due to its adsorption properties – it may clog the digestive tract.
The next most common is wood litter. It is created on the basis of various wood production waste – sawdust, shavings and grinding dust. It is a biodegradable and ecological product. Most often, it smells very nice of resin, especially right after opening a new bag. It can be divided into caking and non-caking. Wooden clumping litter is fine, just like bentonite litter, and forms lumps that are easy to remove from the litter box. Unfortunately, it creates much more dust and spreads around the apartment. It absorbs unpleasant odors less well and has to be replaced more quickly. Non-clumping wooden litter is in the form of pellets – similar to those used for burning in stoves. This type of substrate disintegrates under the influence of moisture – so the resulting particles soaked in urine must be removed, and unused rollers remain in the litter box. This is quite time-consuming. However, there is a special type of cat litter box that is designed specifically for using this type of litter – it has a double bottom, one of which looks like a sieve through which the used fraction of the litter flows below. Just mix the contents.
There is also corn grit on the market, which is becoming more and more popular. It is biodegradable and it seems to be the most ecological option, because it is made from those parts of corn grains that remain after food production and would not be used in any other way. No additional substances are added to it. It is a clumping litter thanks to its natural starch content. Unlike bentonite litter, it does not stick to the bottom of the litter box, which is a big advantage. It neutralizes odors very well, does not produce dust and spreads outside the litter box much less than its competitors. However, it has one drawback – there are cats that like to snack on such litter.
Silicone litter made of hydrated silica is also available. This litter doesn’t actually produce dust, looks nice and doesn’t stick to cats’ paws – so it practically doesn’t spread around the apartment. It does not clump, but individual grains of litter absorb urine, turning it yellowish. Absorbs odors well. However, it must be replaced in its entirety, because we only remove the cat’s feces, while the urine remains in the litter grains. This unfortunately makes it the least hygienic type of litter. Some cats may not want to use it due to the hardness of the granules and the quite loud rustling sound when digging. This litter may also have a shorter lifespan in a very humid apartment because it absorbs moisture from the air.
Sand for the cat
In some communities there is a belief that there is no need to buy litter, ordinary cat sand is enough. Unfortunately, this is not the best idea. First of all, it is very difficult to maintain proper hygiene when using sand. It does not clump or absorb urine. Does not absorb odors. In fact, it would have to be completely replaced every day. Moreover, if it is sand simply brought from the yard, it may contain various pathogens, especially parasite eggs. In this case, both the cat and its owner may become infected.
Litter for collecting cat urine
A special type of litter box substrate is urine collection litter. We can buy it from veterinarians or online when we need to perform a cat urine test. These are sterile plastic balls that should be poured into a clean, sterilized litter box. Once the cat has done its business, you need to quickly collect a urine sample from the litter box using the pipette included in the kit with the litter and place it in the urine container. Remember, however, that the most reliable sample will be the one taken directly from the urine stream, or even better by cystocentesis, so litter should be treated as a last resort.
How often to replace cat litter
Faeces should be removed daily, and preferably as soon as they are noticed. Regardless of its type, we should replace the entire litter and wash and disinfect the litter box at least once a month, and in the case of silicone litter, preferably every 2 weeks.
How to dispose of cat litter
Used litter can simply be thrown into the mixed waste bin. It should not be flushed down the toilet, even if the packaging says it is flushable. Water supply companies in Poland warn against the possibility of blockages in sewage networks due to clogging with cat litter.
The article is also worth reading “What kind of scratching post for a cat?”.