Monday, December 29, 2014

The search for the BEST Eco-friendly Cat Litter!

Over the years I've used them all. Clumping, non-clumping, scented, unscented, multi-cat, crystals, the list goes on and on.

Crystal Litter does sound attractive - It looks nice, it absorbs liquids quickly. You need less of it than Clay. The downside is that it is more expensive, can pose health risks if ingested, some cats do not like walking on it and like clay litters is not good for the environment.

But overall Clay clumping litters seem to be the most popular form of cat litter. Due to the following reasons:

1. Most conveniently available
2. It's cheap
3. It has decent performance and cats will use it
4. Most owners are unaware of the dangers both to the cat and the environment.

I personally do not like using clay litter because the dust, smell, tracking, potential health risks but most importantly for environmental reasons.

Clay based litter must be mined and in the US 2.54 million tons of clay are mined each year. The process of mining creates has many environmental impacts. Then there is the disposal of this litter each year. Clay litter will sit in the landfill for an entirety as it is non-deogradable. It is estimated that about 4 million tons of clay litter enter US landfills each year.

So what is the eco-friendly?

Plant Based

SwHeat Scoop  - Made from ground wheat which is suppose  to eliminate orders as well as clumps. Unfortunately I have not tried this but have read many good reviews.

Newspaper Pellets - This was the first litter a tried with my kitten. I only used it for the first week. I found that the pellets became soggy, wet and sticky and there wasn't much of a way to sift through to remove the soiled pellets. There fore many of the clean pellets were wasted. There was also almost no order control. But I did appreciate not having the strong clay smell.

Feline Pine Litter - Feline pine pellets was the first eco-litter that I just loved and am no longer looking for an alternative. The order control is excellent. No chemical or clay smells, rather a nice wood smell. Some say that this litter works well for pee but not poop. I feed my cat a strictly raw diet therefore he has almost zero poop smell (its truly amazing!) There is no tracking, perhaps only a couple full size pellets that fall out that you can easily throw back in. Zero litter sticks to the bottom or the feed of my long haired Persian. I could go on and on about the advantages of this litter.

The only downside could be the price. And that is when I discovered wood burning pellets. I am now convinced I found the single best litter for my home. I couldn't be more happy. The cost is about $5 for a 15kg bag. In one year I have spent $10 on two bags and have not finished the second bag. That is less than $10 a year on litter for one cat. While the price alone is amazing, the benefits of order elimination, ease of use, and eco-friendly just top the cake.

The disposal. Because my cat is raw fed his poop is very small and once a day at the max. I easily scoop  his poop every day and flush it without flushing any of the pellets. Then filter the soiled pellets which will now be sawdust into a container. Then once a week I put this sawdust in the compost bin. This is a huge advantage for me because in Switzerland we are charged for every thing we throw away. We pay about $2 for each 17 liter bag. So you can imagine the added cost if I had to through away used litter each week.

Wood Burning Pellets
You can buy these pellets at most home improvement or gardening stores. As well as large animal farm supply stores sell them as horse bedding. At 4 months old my cat took to it right away with no issues. Changing the litter for a stubborn adult cat could cause issues and patience would be required.

Using this new system I needed to develop a new suitable litter box system. See my DIY wood pellet litter system.

Are any of you using Eco-frienldy litter? Please share your experiences, I'd love to hear. And I'm happy to answer any of your questions. :-)

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