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Your cat litter choices

There are numerous reasons why many people consider the cat to be an ideal family pet. One of those reasons is simply that there is very little potty training involved. Get some cat litter and a litter box and you now have a pet you can keep inside with you all day.

Mother cats are great about teaching their kittens how to use a litter box. Your job is simply to make sure your cat knows where the box is located. Once he learns this, it is unlikely he’ll do his business elsewhere. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some decisions for you to make. And the first one is deciding what type of litter you want to use.

If you haven’t been to the pet store recently, you may be surprised by, and even a bit overwhelmed with all the choices available to you. So let’s take a quick look at some of the more popular products.

If cost is a primary factor, clay litter is always a good bet. It’s cheaper and was one of the first commercial litters available. But it does have some drawbacks. You will need to clean it and change it more frequently. Clay absorbs liquid, but it also absorbs odors, and nobody wants their house to smell like cat waste. And if by chance your kitten is prone to allergies, clay may cause some problems. Dust tends to fly up as your pet scratches around in his box.

The most popular litter right now is probably clumping cat litter. That’s because the litter combines with the moisture in the waste to form, as the name suggests, clumps. These clumps are easy to scoop away, meaning there is no need to change out the entire box. Once you scoop the waste, just replace the missing litter with some new litter. And the scents this litter is available in will do a decent job of hiding the smell, although it won’t get rid of the odor all together. The biggest problem with clumping litter is that some cats will actually eat the clumps. Watch your pet carefully.

Silica litters are great at controlling both odor and moisture by using silica crystals mixed with water and sand. Silica is the same substance used in those small packets placed in pill bottles or new shoes. Those packets are there to absorb moisture, and they work just as well in cat litter. You still have to scoop out the solid waste, but the liquid and odors are absorbed by the crystals. Another positive attribute is that this litter is biodegradable. When it decomposes it simply returns to a sandy base. On the down side, it does not clump, so scooping the solid waste can be messy.

Another biodegradable litter is paper litter, which is becoming very popular with environmental pet owners. This litter is made from pellets or recycled paper. In addition to being biodegradable, it is absorbent and is easy to carry around because it does not weigh very much.

Another litter that is generally biodegradable is made from wood. Pine is the preferred choice because of it’s natural odor absorbency, but other woods are used as well. All softwood litters are absorbent with natural odor control capabilities. That means no chemicals need to be added, giving you a more natural product.

Once you decide on the type of litter you want to use, your cat will undoubtedly let you know if he agrees with your selection. Some cats for example don’t like the smell of pine litter. Others won’t use silica because the crystals don’t feel good on their paws. In either case, your cat will tell you whether or not he approves by either going or not going in his box.

There are other litter options available as well. And with so many choices now, it’s important to know the the good points and bad points of each one before you head to the store.

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