Due to their own genetics, cats need to cover their stools. Consequently, if you live with a feline, it is convenient for you to know the different types of litter that exist in the market to know their advantages and disadvantages and select the most suitable for your cat and for you.
Do you know that the first cat litter dates back to the late 40s of the 20th century? It was a clay substitute that quickly became popular with cat owners for its absorbent capacity. Since then, the offer has diversified enormously and in the face of so many variants, which one to choose? We clarify it for you below.
- You may also be interested in: When should I change the cat litter?
Types of litter for kittens
Despite the fact that the use of the sandbox and the aspects related to it are not the most popular when it comes to felines, finding the right one that you will use in your home is not a minor issue, based on the importance that your pet confers on the hygiene. Therefore, pay attention to the existing sand type and its characteristics.
The sand of “pebbles” of a lifetime
Sepiolite-based sand is the oldest and most traditional version. You have surely seen it on more than one occasion, since due to its trajectory and low price it is the easiest to acquire . You will find it in any supermarket. Furthermore, in Madrid we have one of the largest sepiolite mines in Europe.
Sepiolite is a light, fibrous and very porous mineral that is often confused with attapulgite, since they share many of its properties and composition. Its most outstanding strength is its absorption capacity. However, being so porous, your cat’s urine will end up leaking throughout the litter tray.
In addition to forcing yourself to clean the sandbox with soap and water, you must replace the sand every week because it does not deodorize. In fact, when it comes into contact with urine, it gives off a strong ammonia smell . Likewise, it deserves your attention that it releases a lot of dust and that it is, in addition to being dirty, can affect the respiratory tract of your pet if it is inhaled.
This variety of waterproof clay is often mixed with minerals to achieve a grainy texture. It has a powerful absorption capacity (it absorbs 5 times its weight). It is also a binder and quickly forms a kind of dry goo when it comes into contact with cat urine.
Sodium bentonite has antibacterial properties and diffuses bad odors with moderate effectiveness, allowing you to wait 2-6 weeks to completely replenish the sand. Given its ability to eliminate toxins and optimize nutrient absorption, it is also used in the food industry.
It is made of sodium silicate. However, some confuse it with silicon. Unlike this, silica is not toxic and has a high moisture absorption capacity . Not surprisingly, it can double its volume when absorbing liquids. Its power of absorption and agglomeration are remarkable, but they are not its main strength.
We refer to its antibacterial and deodorizing properties. With this sand you won’t have to worry about bad smells. Also, when your cat urinates, it will go from its original white color to yellow, warning you of the need to remove that urine ball. In fact, it is the sand that lasts the longest in perfect condition.
You will not need to replace the sand until after 4 weeks, something that pays for its higher price. As a drawback, it deserves your attention that the silica pearl sand of some brands contains dust that if inhaled by your pet can be carcinogenic in the long run.
It represents the most innovative and ecological type of litter for cats. It is made from recycled paper, sawdust, pressed wood, corn chips, wheat stalks or walnut shells, among other components. Some of those that contain sawdust are made from wood left over from other uses, rather than from felled trees.
Being biodegradable you can dispose of the waste generated by your cat through organic waste. This sand absorbs, agglomerates (although not as much as bentonite) and eliminates bad odors (not as much as silica).
On the other hand, its low weight will make it stick to the legs of your kitten and you will have to sweep the perimeter of the sandbox daily . With a daily removal of stools, this sand can remain in good condition for up to 1 week. Its price is high, similar to that of silica sand (about 4-6 times the price of sepiolite sand).
Tips for choosing the right sand
There are several recommendations that will help you make the right selection of sand and make a more intelligent use of it.
- In the case of sands based on sepiolite, silica or those made with sawdust, it is convenient to sift them. Go outside and use a strainer when pouring the sand into the litter tray. Wait for it to come down before giving it to your cat.
- Use a shovel whose holes are consistent with the grain of the sand. In this way, you will not waste it when performing daily hygiene.
- Opt for litter boxes with an inward rim or place mats under it to contain the amount of sand that your pet scoops out by shaking his paws.
- Refuse sands with strong aromas or artificial smells. It is very likely that your pussy will reject them.
In short, to determine which is the best cat litter you should look at the number of cats you live with, what is your budget or your willingness to endure bad smells and to replace it regularly.
The changes, always gradual
Never change the litter if your cat is comfortable with his, unless you are forced to do so because, for example, you no longer find it available.
To minimize the stress that any change causes in cats, if you decide to change the brand or type of litter you should proceed gradually, using both litters at the same time or reserving a litter box for the one you already know and another for the new one.
Do not forget to check the manufacturer’s label to know the specificities of each sand, as well as its recommendations for use. The sand that mixes the silica pearls with the bentonite guarantees binding capacity, durability and 0 bad odors . Now it’s up to you to choose the one you consider best.
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