There are a lot of cat litter options out there. Which is best?

Q: What kind of cat litter is best?

A: The short answer to that question is whatever they’ll use. But as with anything cat-related, there are nuances. Factors that affect a cat’s preferences include scent and texture. Most cats prefer unscented litter.

A 2018 study looking at feline litter preferences found that the 18 participating cats had a significant preference for clay or silicate types of litter over wood pellets. In the second phase of the study, in which 12 cats took part, clay and silicate litters were compared. That time, cats preferred clay.

But the reason there are so many different types of litter is to appeal to specific cat and human preferences. Take clay litter. It’s inexpensive, absorbent, widely available and — at least in this study — cats like it. Clumping clay litter is easy to scoop, and cats like the sandy texture.

But clay litters can be dusty, and cats tend to track it through the house. That’s where litters based on paper, wood and plants come into play. They’re great for people who have allergies and need to keep dust levels low. They’re also biodegradable and flushable, if a “green” litter is important to you.

Silica-based litter, which resembles little crystals, is also biodegradable, absorbent and dust-free. As the study showed, though, not all cats like its texture.

If you have a new cat or want to swap litters for some reason, run your own experiment by choosing two or three litters and giving your cat a choice. You’ll be able to tell which one he prefers.

The most important thing to remember is that your cat’s opinion is the only one that counts in this matter. Forget trying to buy whichever one is on sale. When you find a litter your cat likes, stick with it.

There’s more in Pet Connection, the weekly nationally syndicated pet feature I co-write with Kim Campbell Thornton and my daughter, trainer Mikkel Becker.

The post What’s the best kind of cat litter? appeared first on Dr. Marty Becker.

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