As a cat owner, I have tried a wide variety of food and litter in an effort to find those which suit whatever cats I am sharing my home with at the time. Every cat is different, so sometimes it can take a few tries before getting things right. I hope that my plain English comparison of several different styles of litter may help put other cat owners (in as much as anyone ever truly owns a cat) to narrow down their litter selection without having to try every type themselves.
This type of litter is considered by most to be the standard baseline litter by which all other litters are judged. The majority of cat owners use this type of litter, and it is available at pet stores, grocery stores and some varieties are available for sale online. While there are various formulations and additives used by different manufacturers, each one is generally going to perform reasonably well. This is the type of litter I have used for the last approximately 20 years of time during which I have shared my home with cats. It tends to keep down smell quite well, and the clumping behavior of the litter makes it very easy to remove both liquid and solid waste.
Lightweight Clumping Litter
This litter works similarly to the standard clumping litter, but it is a much lighter weight product. Despite the lighter weight of the container and of course the litter itself, it works very well and if you are a user of the clay based clumping litter but wish the buckets or bottles you buy didn’t have to be so heavy to carry then this litter may be for you. Some folks have said that this lighter weight litter is tracked farther away from the litter box by the cat, but I have been using the Tidy Cats LightWeight litter for a few months at the time of this writing and I have not found any evidence of excessive tracking when compared to the standard clumping litter I was using previously. This lightweight litter is easier for me to purchase, pour, and scoop than the standard litter has been and I am pleased with its performance with regard to knocking down odors.
Recycled Paper Litter
This litter is a more specialized variety. If a can has had surgery and can’t be on standard litter, or if it (or the cat’s human staff) has a reaction to the dust from normal litter. In these situations, having a recycled paper litter is absolutely wonderful as it is much easier to purchase this than to shred newspaper and use it in a litter box. The paper pellet litter is far easier to deal with. Personally I don’t feel like I would want to use this litter all the time though, as it does not keep down urine or feces smell nearly as well as other litters do. If you have no other choice and need to avoid dust for either yourself or the cat then it is well worth it. If it isn’t necessary for either of you, then I would recommend one of the clumping litters.
Silica Cat Litter
Silica is a natural moisture absorber. Most of us have encountered those little white packets with the “Silica Gel, do not eat” in something we have purchased. I have used the silica based litter a couple of times, but ultimately I found that I preferred it mixed with another litter to give a boost rather than using it as a stand alone. For example, if it is a larger silica litter and not a small grain size one might mix it with the recycled paper litter litter in order to help cut down on odor and to help absorb liquids. The litter itself works very well, but when I was using it alone I went through it more quickly than I had wanted. That may be because at the time I had more than one cat, so those with one cat may find this to be great.