Love Your Cat
Your Feline Companion
Cheaper Kitty Litter
We just added a kitten to our family. My question is about kitty litter. I understand that some litters are better than others and some of the best kitty litters are pretty expensive. How do I select the best litter for odor control, convenience, and price?
If you live near a feed store, try chicken mash. It's similar to World's Best Cat Litter, but it’s much cheaper. Clean the box daily and odor shouldn't be a problem.
Linda (via Facebook)
I've tried many types of litter from expensive to inexpensive. The best one I have come across is sold at Aldi and called Fine Feline. It’s a scoopable kind that comes in a 14-pound jug for about $3.99 (about 26 cents per pound). I only have one cat. Give it a try. I recycle the jugs or repurpose them by using them to store rock salt in for my sidewalks.
We use pine litter. I was tired of all the dust and tracking from clumping litter. It has a fresh, natural scent, masks odors, and doesn't create dust. It also solved a behavioral problem we were having with a cat spraying in the house. It can be expensive, but I recently found that I can buy it for a third of the cost of the pet store if I buy it at the local hardware store in a bag labeled as horse bedding.
Unless your cat is very picky, the best litter depends on your finances, your willingness and ability to clean out the cat box often, and your willingness to accept litter being tracked through the house. I personally prefer clumping litters. Their advantages include less dust and usually less tracking. Over time, I have not found them to cost more than old-fashioned clay litter. I generally have bought the one that had a coupon or was the cheapest per use. Buying by the pound can be deceptive, as weight is not as important as volume. Just sift the litter at least daily and all will be fine.
Our daughter and son-in-law taught their kitty to use the toilet! There’s no smell and no litter! It worked. Search online for instructions.
My family has been using rabbit pellets (compressed alfalfa pellets) for our cats for years. If you are on a sewer system, they are fully flushable. The nice thing is that they don't leave your floors feeling "dirty." Rabbit food, even crushed underfoot, seems less dirty than a clay-based litter. The rabbit pellets also clump together when wet.
Brenda in Auburn, WA
A few years ago, tired of paying the price of kitty litter, I gradually switched my cat over to shredded paper. Because he was older, it did require a little bit of graduating him over, by mixing his regular litter with the paper until he understood the paper was fine to use. This is completely free, but does require a little more frequent changing to keep odors under control. We shred all of our incoming mail in a cross-cut shredder after we’ve taken care of it. Between junk mail and paid bills, we have plenty of shredded paper supply.
On litter changing day, I line the pan with a thick layer of flyers, sprinkle it with a bit of baking soda (optional), and then put down a thick layer of shredded paper. Our cat is happy that the paper still allows him to bury his waste, and it costs us nothing. Using a pair of latex gloves, I can roll up the bottom layer of flyers with all the waste inside to make changing the litter easier, but my husband prefers to just dump it all into a garbage bag.
There are many kinds of litter. The usual ones are clay-based, but there are litters made from wheat, corn cobs, wood, newspaper, and more. Some litter can be flushed down the toilet and some can be composted (but never compost the feces). People choose litter based on how "green" they are or the cost or the level of odor control. For the most part, a kitten can use any of these litters.
After that, your choice depends a bit on your living circumstances. Is the litter box near the kitchen? Then you might want to pay more for extra odor control. Is the litter box in a room that's seldom used? Then you can probably use a cheaper litter with minimal odor control. I buy the cheapest store brand of scoopable litter and add a little baking soda to the bottom of the box.
We have five cats in our home and are always looking for an inexpensive alternative to the clumping, odor control stuff you can get at the grocery or pet store. Go to a tractor supply or feed store in your area and get horse bedding pellets. A big bag sells for around $6, and it smells great. More importantly, the cats love it! We rarely have to change the litter completely. The pellets are very absorbent. I just need to scoop out the solid stuff in the morning and evening as usual.
Linda in Reston, VA
I've tried all kinds of cat litter over the last 35 years and the best one is Ever ® (which I buy at PetSmart®). A friend clued me in to this brand about 15 years ago, and I've never used anything else since. Yes, it is a bit more expensive, but it does what it is supposed to do. It clumps so well that it lasts a long time. I only throw away the soiled parts, and the box never retains odors as long as I toss out the clumps daily. I've never had to throw out (unclumped) Ever Clean® litter due to odor or dampness in the box, which was my main complaint about other brands.
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