Cats can be particular about the type of litter they use, and that's OK -- after all, they have to stand in it. When you're choosing a cat litter, consider all the different factors that make them unique. You and your cat can easily find something you can agree on.
Compare the various limitations of clumping and non-clumping formulas. Lots of natural and recycled types of cat litter are non-clumping, because they're made from ingredients such as paper and pine. While these varieties are free of chemicals that may be present in some clumping cat litters, they may also need to be completely changed more often. Think about how often you're willing to dump the whole box and start over -- if not at least once a week, you may prefer a clumping formula.
Check the package to see if the litter contains odor blockers. Surprise: Cat waste stinks. If you've ever used an outhouse, you know how nasty standing waste can smell. Again, this is where a clear divide exists between many natural and chemically formulated litters. Natural litters can create aromas that range from unusual to pungent after use, while chemically formulated litters have artificial perfumes and enzyme-devouring chemicals that cut back on the smell factor. In some cases, though, those perfumes may cause your finicky cat to avoid the litter box. Experiment to see what smells your kitty will accept.
Ask your veterinarian for advice if your cat has had any operations or health problems. For example, recently declawed cats should use softer, less abrasive litters rather than conventional, chemical litters. Paper-based litters are easier on their paws. Asthmatic cats also may need to use non-chemical litters, as chemical litters can put up a dust that can make breathing more difficult.
Read the instructions on the package to see if your chosen litter can be flushed. Ideally, you should scoop out the box every day; if you can flush the waste, all the better. Not all types of litter can be flushed, so if that's a priority for you, make sure to read the box before you buy the litter.
- Don't go crazy with switching the type of cat litter you use. Cats like a little consistency in their lives, and your kitty may reject a box filled with some strange new product. If you want to experiment with a new litter type, introduce it gradually by mixing it in with your customary litter.
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.