Ultimately, the decision of which cat litter is best lies with the cat. No matter how well an advertiser touts the advantages of a product, if a cat does not use it, it is a failure. Here are some of the types of cat litter and their general descriptions:
This type of litter forms large hard pieces or clumps when it comes in contact with the moisture from pet waste. These large clumps can then be scooped from the litterbox and disposed of, leaving the rest of the litter undisturbed. Fresh litter is then added to the box to replaced that which was removed. While this type of litter can be convenient, it may cause problems if a pet ingests any of it since moisture causes it to clump together. This type of litter comes in varieties that are scented, unscented, flushable, and non-tracking. As with others, there are also multiple cat formulas, which have larger concentrations of deodorizers.
This type of litter has as its main components of sand and water. The crystals absorb odor. Solid waste must be removed from the litterbox but liquid waste is absorbed by the granules. There is no clumping action with this type of product. Silica-based litters are also bio-degradable and will decompose and return to their sandy base.
Clay-based litter was the type first introduced commercially and is the most inexpensive of all litters. Although solid waste needs to be removed daily, the entire litterbox will need to be cleared and refilled more often than with other types because clay litter absorbs liquid waste and odors. For pets with allergies, this may not be a good choice since dust can be a problem as the pet scratches in the litter. However, dust-free formulas are available.
When using any type of cat litter it is important to keep the litterbox as clean as possible. Neglecting to clean the box can result in a cat not using the box and depositing waste in undesirable places.
To eliminate cat litter odors, one of the scented varieties may be used or simple household baking soda may be sprinkled in with the litter to absorb odors. There are also a number of commercial cat litter deodorizers available.