Finding the right cat litter to suit your lifestyle while appeasing your kitty requires a period of trial and error. If you're worried about Felix consuming clay litter or if you find it too dusty, don't despair. The litter aisle at your neighborhood pet store has plenty of alternatives available.
Ever look at a stack of old newspapers and wonder how to put it to good use? Simply use shredded newspaper as an alternative to traditional clay litters. Plain old newspaper is not very absorbent, however, and you may run into an issue with odor control.
Cat litter manufacturers also make paper-based litter pellets out of recycled newspaper, not out of clay. These highly condensed pellets absorb loads of moisture, so you don't wind up with a lot of unpleasant odors. Newspaper pellets are safe for young kittens or felines recovering from declaw, spay or neuter surgery.
Pine litter is made from fine-grain pine particles. Pine litter is often completely natural --- depending on the brand -- and doesn't have any other ingredients other than pine. During processing, pine shavings are compressed and formed into small pellets. One downfall is that once moisture hits the pellets, they start to fall apart, returning to fine grain. Your furry pal may track the tiny pine pieces that stick to his paws when he steps out of the box.
Silica litter is made from highly absorbent silica gel. The hard plasticine balls lock in moisture and last for weeks on end. All you have to do is scoop any solid waste from your mischievous pal's litter box every day. Some types of silica crystals are uncomfortable for your feline's paws. The sharp edges may discourage your bundle of fur from using his toilet area. On another note, silica can be very dangerous if your kitty ingests it. Young kittens that are just learning to potty train or curious cats that snack from the litter box are probably not good candidates for silica-based litter.
At the farthest end of the cat litter aisle you'll see even more non-clay types of litter. Premium eco-friendly cat litters are made from such ingredients as wheat, ground corn cobs, processed peanut shells, orange peels and cedar chips. Cats are naturally finicky creatures; you may need to test several varieties until you find one that suits both of your needs. Your fuzzy buddy has a sensitive nose and might not like litters that have strong scents, such as cedar-based litters. If you fill up the litter box with a new alternative type of litter and he refuses to use it, you'll need to get him something different.
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.