Which cat litter is suitable for you?
There are many types of cat litter out there nowadays and each has their own merits. It can be confusing to choose the right type for you. Some that work well for others might not be suitable for your preference. Today we will put them to the test and discuss their advantages and disadvantages so that you can decide which one works best for you.
We will use 60ml of sample cat litter for the test. 5 ml of water will be added to the sample via a syringe. And we will see how many syringes it will take for the cat litter to be fully saturated with water. We are testing the type of cat litters and not the brand.
Types that we’ll test are common cat sand (bentonite mixed), pure bentonite, compressed recycled paper, wood pellet (biomass), tofu / pea husk and crystal.
Common cat sand
We are using cat litter by Meek Sand, which is the more expensive brand of the common cat sand for the test. Surprisingly the common cat sand performs exceptionally well in absorbing water. It took 20ml before the Meek Sand gave in. It actually performs better than the pure bentonite. That being said, it leaves a little bit of water on the paper from the second syringe onward. This could be caused by a slower absorbing rate. Leaving water to the base can be a concern when choosing cat litter as cleaning urine off the litter tray may not be ideal. But this can be avoided by making sure there's a thick layer of cat litter in the litter tray.
Odor Defense by Cat Love is used for this test. It has an average result of 15ml which is lower than the common cat litter by Meek Sand.
Just like the common cat sand it also leaves some water on the water starting from the second syringe. But compared to the Meek Sand, the Odor Defense is much more sticky. This can be an advantage if you always have a thick layer of cat litter on your litter tray. Sticky clumping cat litter means that it will not break apart as easily making it easier to only scoop up the used litters allowing less wastage and less dust. Dust could irritate cats causing flu and teary eyes. From our experience a bag of 12kg Odor Defense can easily last more then 3 weeks for a single cat use while the 10L (6kg) Meek Cat will not last for a week. Odor Defense is less than 3 times the price of the more expensive common cat sand while being at least 3-4 times longer lasting. On top of that we also find that Odor Defense despite being unscented, it is actually very effective in removing odor. In fact it is only second to crystal type litter in terms of controlling foul odor. This could be thanks to being pure bentonite which is a very powerful ammonia absorbent and the sodium bicarbonate that is added to it.
Compressed recycled paper
We are using Cat Love Daily Scoops which is also infused with sodium bicarbonate. The idea behind this type of cat litter is that the urine and feces should be removed immediately. From the test it couldn’t even hold 5ml of water. But it is relatively cheap and ‘supposedly’ environmentally friendly as it is made out of recycled material.
Wood Pellet / Biomass
The sample we use is by Meowkatz and it is made out of pine wood only which makes it more expensive than regular pellets that don't specify the type of wood that is used. The type of wood actually doesn’t contribute to the absorbent ability but rather it lets the user know that it is made out of wood that is non toxic. Wood pellet or rather more accurately biomass was actually not intended to be used as cat litter. The wood pellet was actually pellet fuel that is considered biomass. Biomass are renewable and non renewable energy sources that are made out of living organisms. Pellet fuel / wood pellet is commonly burned to power generation, commercial or residential heating which was considered to be much more environmentally friendly as it was to be made out of sawdust that is otherwise unusable waste. But because of the rapid gain in popularity, forests are being cut down just to be made into wood pellets. And soon wood pellets made their way to be used as bedding for animals as the pellets would absorb a certain amount of water. But from our test, the absorbing capacity of it is more or less the same as recycled paper.
But because the pellets would return to being sawdust when it’s wet making it difficult to clean and dusty. And if toxic wood is being used such as walnut wood it will create more problems then just irritate the cat. It might cause harm to the user as well.
Pea Husk / Tofu
Tofu is the original material for this type of cat litter to be available in Malaysia. Whether it’s made out of pea husk or tofu they function more or less the same. They are actually made out of waste products of soybeans and peas during the manufacturing process. For this test we are going to use pea husk type by Cat It Go Natural. Out of all cat litters, the pea husk performs exceptionally well. Being able to absorb 25 ml of water while leaving very little water reaching the paper.
The downside is that it turns into a paste after absorbing water. Making cleaning slightly more difficult but it made up for it by being flushable into the toilet as long as not too much is flush in at once. Generally speaking pea husk and tofu cat litter types are strongly scented. This might have been because they don't have natural odor absorbing properties. Therefore it is not ideal if you don't scoop the litter often.
Crystal / Silica
Crystal or silica cat litter are made out of material that can trap high amounts of moisture and odor in their body. It will not bind together like bentonite litter. Which means using them is different then conventional litter. User only needs to remove the feces while leaving the urine trap in the crystal. The whole tray of crystal litter should be replaced only when the absorbing capacity has been reached, which is about 3-4 weeks for a single cat use with reasonable thickness of litter. We are using Catit Silica Power Mix for the test. From the test we find that 60ml of crystal litter can absorb up to 15 ml of water which is everage. But that is not all. Even after 15ml the surface of the crystal remains relatively dry. Unlike the other litter type, the crystal traps all the water within its body. The crystal is also capable of absorbing moisture. Feces that are left on top of the crystal will be suck rapidly making them odorless. From our experience, crystal type litter is most powerful in terms of controlling odor. You might sit right next to a litter box with cat feces in it without smelling anything. Crystal litter is also lighter then most making them easier to handle. That being said, we also find that some cats don't like using the crystal litter.
In conclusion, in terms of water absorbing capacity, pea husk is the most powerful being able to absorb 25ml. Common cat litter is sand in second with 20ml while pure bentonite and crystal in third with 15 ml and in last place are recycled paper and wood pellet. But of course being able to absorb a lot of water is not all there is for a cat litter. We might also need to consider how easy it is to clean. Ease of disposal, weight as well as odor reducing power. Some people might prioritize a certain criteria then others. For example, pea husk or tofu litter are a no brainer for people that might have trouble disposing of the litter. And for those that prioritize odor, crystal litter is the best, providing that their cat doesn't mind using them. We hope that this review will help you choose the right type of litter.