Surely, our Royal Kittiness will give her much-reserved and invaluable nod of approval when we make the switch to greener options for her litter. Fortunately for us, there is an increasing number of sustainable and natural cat litter options becoming available.
All-natural cat litter is usually made of biodegradable materials that are relatively safe for Kitty. But just like with regular cat litter, we should still take into consideration the usual safety issues when choosing an all-natural product. Certain scents may be irritating to our feline friend. The material used may be dangerous when ingested, and yes, there are cats who snack on some types of litter. Some ingredients could trigger asthma and breathing difficulties. In some cases, the litter can be abrasive on Miss Kitty Fantastico’s skin and paws, causing irritation, rashes, and allergic reactions.
One of the most common concerns we cat minions have when choosing cat litter is the clumping factor. The good news is, in addition to being eco-friendly, some all-natural cat litters clump better than regular litter, so we don’t have to worry about wasting a whole box of litter with each clean-up!
Basic considerations when choosing cat litter:
- Clumping factor
- Scent absorption
- Possible skin allergies or other health factors
- Comfortable for kitty to walk on
- Low dust
Here’s a purr-worthy roundup of the types of all-natural cat litter our felines will definitely approve of.
Corn Cat Litter
- Made from either commercial corn or antibiotic-free crumbles. You can choose scented and unscented varieties.
- Has amazing clumping ability, comparable to clay litter.
- Has excellent odor control.
- Lightweight and soft-textured for kitty’s sensitive paws.
- Great for multi-cat households.
- Safe to flush.
- Dusty and tracks a lot, requiring frequent clean up around the litter box.
- Top pick for corn-based litter: World’s Best Natural Cat Litter
Grass Cat Litter
- Offers the benefit of very firm clumping
- Naturally pleasant, light scent.
- Tends to be one of the more expensive litters.
- Too much moisture means the clumps begin to fall apart, so cleaning more regularly makes sense.
- Can be on the dusty side and track.
- Top pick for grass-based litter: Pioneer Smart Cat Litter
Paper Cat Litter
- Made from recycled paper or reclaimed paper pulp.
- Some brands come in pellet form, others in clay-like granules.
- Highly absorbent, but does not clump.
- More frequent scooping is required because of poor odor control
- Completely dust-free, but tracks more than other natural and regular litters
- Soft texture, and safe to flush.
- Top pick for paper cat litter - Ökocat Natural Paper Cat Litter
Pine Cat Litter
- Made from compressed pine sawdust. Usually comes in small pellets and fine granules.
- Highly absorbent but pellets usually disintegrate when they get wet.
- Does not clump as well as other natural litters or clay litter.
- Has a natural pine scent that effectively neutralizes odors for days.
- Soft texture.
- Low-dust, but can still track.
- Not safe to flush.
- Top pick for pine-based litter - Feline Pine Natural Cat Litter
Walnut Cat Litter
- Made from ground walnut shells.
- Highly absorbent.
- Decent odor neutralizing ability.
- Immediately clumps on contact. Some brands offer a non-clumping variety.
- Easy to scoop and safe to flush.
- Depending on the brand, the formula is usually low-dust with fine-textured granules that may track more than those brands with bigger granules.
- Dark brown color may disguise clumps and make it difficult to tell when scooping is needed. Also has a tendency to stain cat’s paws.
- Top pick for walnut-based litter - Blue Buffalo Naturally Fresh Litter
Wheat Cat Litter
- Usually made from secondary wheat grains - low-quality grains that are not for human consumption.
- Fairly effective in neutralizing odors with a pleasant and natural smell.
- Good clumping ability, easy to scoop, and safe to flush.
- Lightweight formula, with a fine and gentle texture.
- Fairly absorbent
- Depending on the brand, can be dusty and high-tracking.
- Top-pick for wheat-based litter - sWheat Scoop All-Natural Clumping Litter
All-natural options for cat litter are not just eco-friendly, they’re also better for our cats in many ways. Their lightweight quality means they can track more than clay litters, but a bit of extra cleaning with a broom and dustpan or a vacuum cleaner is a small price to pay to be more environment-friendly!
It’s also important to know that humidity levels may affect the quality of all-natural cat litters. And while most all-natural cat litters are safe to flush, doing so is not recommended as cat poop can carry diseases, and some natural types of litter may cause backups in septic tanks or clogs in sewer lines.
You may be wondering about other types of litter that didn’t make this list. Well, they probably aren’t eco-friendly.
Clay cat litter is the traditional go-to cat litter for inexperienced cat owners or those who don’t want to opt for eco-friendly, cat-friendly products. It’s a commercial litter that rarely makes it to the eco-friendly list because of the way it’s sourced. It also isn’t very cat-friendly because it causes abrasion to their lungs and irritates our cat’s skin. Also, clay litter is can no longer clump once it’s wet, requiring clean-up more often than other litter choices. This means it also easily becomes difficult to control order very quickly.
Silica crystals are light and easy to use but don’t make it to the eco-friendly list. The crystals are highly absorbent and don’t track, which is a big plus for cat guardians. However, once they’ve reached their max absorbency, there will be a pool of moisture in the litter box. Finally, the crystals are jagged and sharp, which is hard on kitty paws. Many cats won’t use this litter no matter how much their guardians like it. Because silica is mainly used across many industries, to eliminate moisture, as a litter, it will dry out sensitive cat paws, leaving them cracked and open to infections and other health problems.
While cat litter can cause allergies, particularly skin allergies, there are plenty of other factors that can cause skin irritation, such as the season and other environmental factors. Once you’ve switched your cat litter to something more soothing and healthy for kitty, add EcoAllergy anti-allergy supplement for cats from Vet Organics to your kitty’s food every day to help combat other common causes of allergies.