It’s one of the less glamorous aspects of cat ownership but it can’t be avoided: making sure your cat has somewhere hygienic to go to the toilet is a very important responsibility. If you’re using a litter tray you may be wondering which cat litter is the best variety to choose. Find out more in our guide to clumping vs non-clumping cat litter.
To clump or not to clump: What’s the difference?
First things first: what do clumping and non-clumping cat litters do? The key difference is in the way that urine and faeces are absorbed by the litter material.
- Non-clumping cat litter has been around for decades. Made from natural materials, usually clay, it absorbs moisture so when your cat goes to the toilet, the urine and faeces are soaked up. Once the litter has reached saturation point, it’s time to replace it with new litter – usually after about a week.
- Clumping cat litter is a newer product on the scene, usually made from bentonite or silica. For some it offers a more convenient option, because it does not require a complete change as often as non-clumping products. When it gets wet, clumping cat litter clusters together, enabling pet owners to simply remove the clumps without having to change the entire tray. This is then required around once a month if you have just one cat.
The advantages and disadvantages of clumping cat litter
Many cat owners appreciate the convenience of clumping cat litter, as it saves the time, effort and the annoyance of having to change the litter tray quite so often. But it’s not a clear-cut case. Here are some of issues to consider in terms of clumping vs non-clumping cat litter:
- Changing litter trays less often is a big plus! However, not all pet lovers find clumping cat litter more convenient. Some people would rather do the regular job of changing the litter tray and keeping it fresh, than fishing clumps out daily but keeping the same litter down for longer.
- If you’re concerned about cost, non-clumping litter is a cheaper option. Remember though that you’ll need to change the litter more frequently.
- There’s nothing worse than a smelly litter tray, so as well as changing it regularly you’ll also want a cat litter that can minimise smells. Non-clumping litter products can absorb a larger volume of moisture, so can smell better. But clumping cat litters have the advantage of remaining clean for longer as the soiled clumps are removed immediately. You’ll also want to consider how much dust your litter produces – as a general rule, clumping cat litter tends to produce more.
- Both types of cat litter are generally safe, but there are anecdotal concerns that clumping cat litter may be harmful to cats and dogs if ingested.
- Clumping cat litter is usually less environmentally friendly than its non-clumping equivalent, but there are biodegradable options available.
Which type of cat litter is most suitable for my cat?
In many ways, cat litter is a very individual choice and much will depend on your pet’s preferences. If you have kittens, you may want to choose a non-clumping variety to avoid the possibility of them swallowing it. But other than that, the best cat litter is the one your cat will use. Try a variety of products and see which one they like, then stick with it.
Clumping vs non-clumping cat litter? In the end, it’s up to your cat to decide.