What Is the Best Natural Cat Litter?
When you walk into any pet store you are going to find a huge choice of cat litters, but as many owners will know, felines can be particularly picky over the ones they will use. However, if avoiding chemicals and highly manufactured products is important to you, then the growing range of natural litters might be a great option. So, what is the best natural cat litter?
What Is Natural Cat Litter?
Regular cat litter creates a huge environmental issue; it is often made from bentonite clay, which requires land to be stripped of topsoil to be “mined” and it is not biodegradable when used. This means that when it is dumped in a landfill site, it does not break down.
Natural litters are made from renewable materials, such as pine, or recycled waste products, such as newspapers. The key difference is that natural cat litters are biodegradable, so even if it ends up at a landfill site rather than being composted, it will break down into the soil.
How Does Natural Cat Litter Compare to Regular Cat Litter?
Well, all the features of regular cat litters can be found within a natural cat litter. So, if you prefer a clumping litter, that does not need you to replace all the product after each use, then there are clumping varieties to choose from within the natural cat litter range.
Likewise, if you usually pick a scented litter, to make everything smell a little sweeter, then there is an option for that too within the natural range.
Many cats are picky about what they will place their paws on, and if they are used to a silica-based litter, then they may object to finding wood pellets in their tray. With the range of natural cat litters now available, you should be able to find one that has a similar consistency to enable a pain-free switch over.
Pros of Natural Cat Litter
Free of Harmful Chemicals
Many traditional cat litters include dust, silica and synthetic chemicals, along with a base material such as clay. While they can remove odors and clump up when used, your cat is coming into contact with those chemicals every time they use the tray. Natural cat litter is free of these harmful chemicals.
Now, this is a little contentious, as while the natural litter makers often talk about how their products can be flushed down the toilet, there is concern about the spread of T. gondii parasite. The sewage treatment plants are unable to remove this single-celled parasite from the wastewater, so if your cat is infected, then there is the risk of the problem making its way to the oceans and then harming sea animals.
That means that you have your very own source of compost material to use in your garden. Even if you do not have a composter, most large towns and cities have a compost drop off point.
Cons of Natural Cat Litter
The biggest downside of natural litters is their price, which can be almost twice as much as traditional litters. However, natural litter can also last twice as long between changes, which would mean that their prices are very similar.
There can be issues with wheat, corn, and corn by-product products due to a fungus called aflatoxins. When this type of litter gets damp from urine, and the fungus is present, they transform into mycotoxins, and in cats, these can lead to fatal consequences. So, if you are using these products, it becomes essential to keep on top of the litter tray cleaning.
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Different Types of Natural Cat Litter
This can be a great option for cats with respiratory problems and that is because it is 99% dust-free, and there is no silica dust to breathe in either. It’s also totally digestible, so no problems for cats who clean their paws after using the tray.
If your cat is used to a clay litter, then this could be the perfect natural alternative. That’s because it is very similar in appearance and it also has a strong clumping action. There are reports though of wheat litter attracting bugs and of the odor control and clumping weakening quicker than with other types of litter.
Pine Pellet Litters
Pine pellets, which come in both large and fine granule sizes, are made from sawdust out of the lumber mills. If clumping is important to you, then this might not be the right option as many of these litters break down into sawdust when they come into contact with moisture.
Newspaper Pulp Litters
Made from recycled paper, these litters do not clump, so you will need to clean out the full tray much more frequently compared to other types. It is dust-free, as it is not granular. This can be a good option for cats who eat litter or who have healing wounds.
Grass Seed Litter
This is a fast clumping litter, which means that it could be an excellent alternative to clay-based products. It’s also 99% dust-free and it does not track, so your cat will not be trailing it through the home after using their tray.
ökocat Natural Wood Clumping Cat Litter
öko is German for eco, and with the product being 100% sustainably sourced with no synthetic chemicals or toxic additives, it seems a well-deserved name! ökocat offers four different products in their range. First off, there are three clumping litters, which include an original, a less mess pellet option and a super soft option for delicate paws. There’s also a dust-free, non-clumping paper pellet.
World’s Best Cat Litter
That’s a big claim to be making, but the brand does have a huge following of very happy cat owners. Made from whole-kernel corn, there are four products in their range: an original unscented, multiple cat unscented, multiple cat lavender and multiple cat lotus blossom. All varieties are described as being quick clumping and flushable even for homes that have a septic tank.
Only Natural Grass Seed Cat Litter
Made from 100% non-genetically modified grass seed, which is grown and made in the U.S., you will not find sodium bentonite or silica in the product nor any synthetic fragrances or chemicals. If you are not sure if your cat will approve of this litter, the manufacturers offer a “100% Happiness Guarantee” with a no-questions-asked refund policy.
Finding the right cat litter that meets your requirements that your cat approves of can be a challenge. The natural range of cat litters is now in all the pet stores making it easier than ever to cross over to a product, which is better for your cat and the environment.