The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Are You Choosing The Right Cat Litter, And Litter Box For Your Cat? The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Are You Choosing The Right Cat Litter, And Litter Box For Your Cat?

Monday, November 12, 2018

Are You Choosing The Right Cat Litter, And Litter Box For Your Cat?

The best way to avoid litter box issues is to find the right cat litter box and cat litter that will keep your cat happy and comfortable.

There are many types of cat litter from which to choose, including those made of clay, corn, coconut husks, wheat, wood, walnuts, recycled newspaper or silica gel crystals. Each variety has its own benefits, so you can choose one based on your preference and your cat’s preference. A finicky cat will quickly let you know if they do not like their litter; take note, as cats will quickly develop bad habits (ie. not using their litter box) if their demands are not answered.

There are also many types of litter boxes, including open litter pans in a variety of shapes and sizes; covered litter boxes in a variety of shapes, sizes and designs; automatic and self-cleaning litter boxes; high tech litter systems; toilet training systems and decorative furniture options that hide the litter box.

Your Litter Options
The texture you select matters to your cat, as she will be stepping on it. Litter also comes in scented and unscented formulas, as well as varied degrees of absorbency and odor control. Litter products also offer different degrees of clumping, resulting in how scoop-friendly the product is to use.

Odor elimination is extremely important to pet parents, and litter products vary in their ability to eliminate odors. Scented litters are designed to mask odors from the litter box. Some cats can be deterred by strong scents and may prefer unscented litters. There are many scent-free brands that rely on ingredients such as carbon and natural plant extracts that work to absorb odors from urine and feces to reduce litter box smells, keeping both you and your kitty happy.

Some litters are also more earth-conscious, made from recycled or sustainable products and can be repurposed as mulch. Some are flushable.

Ultimately, the right litter for your cat is not only one that she is happy to use but also one that will effectively deal with odor issues. Here are the main types of litter and their characteristics:

Clay: This is the original cat litter and still the most popular type on the market. Clay clumps hard and quickly. Many brands rely on materials such as carbon and plant extracts to remove odors. Clay is not biodegradable. If anyone in your family has respiratory issues, this may not be the best option, as not all clay brands are dust-free.

Corn: Litter made from corn contains natural clumping and odor-absorbing materials. It is dust-free, biodegradable and earth-conscious. It’s available in natural and scented formulas.

Coconut husks: Litter made from coconut husks is dust-free, biodegradable, earth-conscious and made from a renewable resource. It clumps lightly, but is scoopable and can be recycled in garden compost with the clumps and fecal solids removed.

Wheat: Wheat contains starch inside the kernels, which makes the product clump and exposes natural enzymes that neutralize odors. Wheat litter is dust-free, biodegradable, earth-conscious and made from a renewable resource.

Wood: This type of litter comes in pellet form and is a natural pine wood by-product. The pine scent is a natural deodorizer. Pine litter doesn’t clump. Wood litter is dust-free, environmentally safe, biodegradable and can be used for landscape mulch and compost with the soiled product and fecal matter removed.

Walnut-based: Made from walnut shells, this litter is absorbent, biodegradable, earth-conscious and made from a renewable resource. It’s available in quick-clumping and non-clumping formulas.

Recycled newspaper: This litter is made from recycled newspapers and thus is eco-friendly. It is available in pellet form and absorbs urine. It does not clump. Works well with deodorizer additives.

Silica-based gel crystals: Silica is a natural mineral that is highly absorbent and can be re-used by one cat over a period of one month. The crystals absorb all moisture and appear dry again. They’re also trackless and dust-free.

Should you decide to switch to a new litter, the best way to transition is to do it slowly over a period of seven to 10 days by adding small amounts of the new litter to the old until you have transitioned over completely. This way, most cats will adapt to the new brand without incident.

If your kitty is avoiding her litter box, try giving her a simultaneous selection of different litter types to choose from by putting down three or four boxes with different litters in each one and see if she prefers one over another. This could be a quick fix for a litter box problem.

Note: If your cat starts to suddenly go to the bathroom outside of her litter box, your first call should always be to your veterinarian. Many medical conditions can cause a change in a cat’s litter box habits.

Because felines are finicky and possessive when it comes to litter boxes, a good rule of thumb is to provide one box per cat in the household, plus one extra, if possible.

Different Types of Litter Boxes
There is also a huge selection of litter boxes to choose from and it’s important to choose one that your cat is comfortable using. Whether you have a large adult cat or a tiny kitten, your litter box can never be too big. The way to gauge the correct size is to ensure that your cat can turn round comfortably inside without touching the edges. This is extremely important for adult cats because some breeds such as Maine Coons are bigger than others.

Rectangular open litter boxes are available in a variety of fun colors to match your home d├ęcor. Some styles have low entry points and high sides to contain litter inside the box when your cat digs and scratches. There are also designs that fit comfortably into a corner.

Covered litter boxes also come in a variety of styles and colors. Many are manufactured from materials that contain antibacterial properties to further control odors. Others have special carbon filters. Check the actual size of the elimination area inside a closed box to ensure it’s large enough for a big cat to circle around.

There is a growing selection of self-cleaning litter boxes that can be set to clean approximately 20 minutes after the cat has exited the box. These self-cleaning solutions rake the litter to remove the waste into a special cartridge that can be emptied on a weekly basis rather than daily. Timid cats may be scared by the noise of the cleaning mechanism even if they are in another part of the room when it starts raking. Consequently, such boxes are only ideal for very secure kitties.

High tech litter systems flush waste material and wash re-useable litter granules, meaning that feline pet parents never have to scoop. Such systems have to be attached to the plumbing system in your home. Again, it’s important to ensure that it’s positioned in an area where your cat is comfortable using it, such as a family bathroom.

Avoid placing litter boxes near noisy appliances such as a washing machine or dryer, which could spook your cat and cause her to avoid her litter box. Taking the time to select and maintain a litter box based on your needs and your cat’s preferences will go a long way toward avoiding negative litter box behaviors in the future and result in a happier, healthier life together.


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