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83 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Personally, because of the environmental impact of strip mining, I don't use clay litter... but I still haven't found the *one* yet when it comes to natural alternatives. I know some cats are picky about litter changes so not everyone can experiment as much as I have, so I thought some of you might be interested in my experiences.

First off, the way I test every litter:
I have one cat, one litter box. My usual habit with litter is to dump the whole bag in the box (since most natural litters come in a small 8-10 lb size), scoop daily, completely change once a month. I used a covered Booda Dome for most of the litters and a Booda Dome Clean Step for some later ones, both with a litter mat in front of it. The Clean Step does seem to help tracking more than the plain Dome.

Every time I try a litter for the first time I start out scooping daily, and at some point in the middle of the month leave it for 2-3 days to see how the litter holds up, then go back to scooping daily. When I talk about tracking keep in mind that I think all natural litters track more than clay, so what I consider acceptable tracking may be different than what you do if you're used to clay. Personally, any sort of clay tracking squicks me out, but I don't really mind natural litter tracking, I just vacuum a bit more and it doesn't bother me as much to step on it. YMMV

Any sort of wheat or corn litter have the possibility of attracting bugs if just left out in the open, that's what I mean when I talk about storing extra litter. Anything not in the litter box, I put into a plastic storage box.

Swheat Scoop Multi-Cat - 14 lbs, $11, wheat (all prices based on my locality)
This is the first litter I used. If you've read a review on Swheat Scoop you've probably heard someone complain that the clumps sink to the bottom, and I found the same result. (However I have since found that happens with most natural litters, so if that's your only problem with it....)
Clumping: Average to good. Not super hard, but not falling apart everywhere either.
Tracking: Litter mat caught a lot of it, some tracking. Lola didn't get a lot of it on her, but sometimes her feet were dusty and it did make this paste that dried rock hard all around the base of her claws. It didn't seem to bother her, but it was grody to me.
Odor: I don't recall having much of a problem with it, scooped daily. My not scooping trial didn't cause much of a change in odor level.
Overall: I would recommend using this litter, just be diligent about scooping the very bottom of the box. Even though I tried that, at my total changing I found a bunch of clumps stuck to the bottom that I missed. Also, found it to be quite dusty at the bottom of the box.

Layena Crumbles (50 lbs, $12), corn
This is by far the most cost effective litter I've tried, though technically it is not a litter, it's chicken feed I bought at a local feed store. This is the brand and type I've seen recommended for litter, so that's what I got. (much to the amusement of the feed store employees)
Clumping: Eh, average. Clumps have a tendency to fall apart and leave little crumbles that are impossible to get out.
Tracking: Similar to Swheat Scoop, litter mat caught a lot, but there was still some tracking around the house. Tended to find tiny little clusters around the house too, they probably got stuck to Lola's long hair then fell out.
Odor: Okay in the beginning, but the more you scoop the more little crumbs get mixed in and the harder and harder it gets to try to get them all out, I think this had an effect on odor control. Leaving it for a few days made huuuge clumps that fell apart even more easily, which affected odor.
Overall: I would recommend using this litter, based on its price. Considering how cheap it is, you could probably afford to completely change it every two weeks. It's not the best if you're only changing once a month, but as an economical option its alright. The major con is that a) its effin heavy to bring the bag home/move it around and b) you have to store the extra somewhere if you have less than five or so litter boxes.

Swheat Scoop Multi-Cat + Layena Crumbles
After trying the first two I decided to mix them together to see if I get some of the economy of the chicken feed with a clumping boost from the Swheat Scoop. 50/50 ratio.
Clumping: Improved Layena clumping, more similar to Swheat Scoop alone. Still kind of crumbly.
Tracking: They both have similar tracking level, so not much change when mixed.
Odor: Pretty good, the clumping was improved so its definitely better than just Layena alone.
Overall: This is a much better formulation than Layena alone, and I felt like the clumps didn't sink as much as they did with Swheat Scoop alone. Still pretty affordable since Layena is dirt cheap and it made one box of Swheat last two months instead of one. Still have to store the extra somewhere and you can't really pre-mix because they come in such different sizes.

World's Best Clumping (not multicat) (7 lbs, $8), corn
Layena chick feed is technically the same stuff as this, but I wanted to see if this worked any better. It actually does in my experience, but I couldn't tell you why, seem identical in appearance to me. I've actually used World's Best the longest out of anything I tried, mostly because it was conveniently sold at Target where I grocery shop, worked acceptably well, and wasn't super expensive.
Clumping: Average to good. Better than Layena, maybe not as good as Swheat Scoop. Still has a clumps breaking apart issue and clumps did seem to sink to the bottom. Though maybe my cat just purposefully pees on the bottom of the box?
Tracking: Not so awesome, maybe worse than Layena and Swheat Scoop. I found litter around a lot but not in overwhelming amounts, nothing a little vacuuming couldn't fix. Didn't have a problem with it sticking to Lola.
Odor: Ok as long as you're vigilant, didn't work so well when left for a few days. The clumps just morph into each other and get huge, then fall apart.
Overall: Pretty similar to Layena, but slightly improved clumping. Maybe its a little bit smaller grain wise? I consider it an acceptable choice to use and I liked it more than Swheat Scoop because it doesn't get dusty, and it doesn't make that weird cement around Lola's nails.

Arm&Hammer Essentials Natural Clumping (10.5 lbs, $8ish can't remember exactly), corn
The biggest complaint I saw reading reviews was about how heavily perfumed this litter is. I kinda liked it the first month, but by the second month I used it I just couldn't take it anymore.
Clumping: Good clumping, no real complaints.
Tracking: Average tracking, doesn't really stand out either way when compared to previous. Kind of dusty though, it seemed to stick to Lola's fur. If she got on your lap right after being it, she would leave a layer of dust on your clothes.
Odor: This litter is super perfumed. I don't know what kind of smell it is, but its strooong. It made Lola smell like the weird perfume, which I did not appreciate when she tried sleep by my face at night. When I left it for a few days it was a horrific mixture of ammonia and perfume.
Overall: I would probably really like this litter for its clumping ability if it weren't so **** smelly (and I mean just the litter itself). It seriously made me want to scoop less just because I didn't want to have to smell it, which unfortunately just makes it worse.

Feline Pine Clumping (10 lb, $10ish), pine
I looooove this litter, but the tracking is insane, I just couldn't handle it.
Clumping: Excellent, hard clumps.
Tracking: Horrific, while I was using this my entire house was constantly covered in fluffy little pine shavings. It didn't matter how much I vacuumed, I would have had to quit my job and stay home all day to keep up with it.
Odor: Great odor control, the best of anything I've tried. Smells piney, but that didn't bother me. Or Lola, but she never seems to care about the litter one way or the other, so who knows with a more particular cat. Held up great to leaving it a few days.
Overall: Even though this is the best litter I've ever tried in terms of clumping and odor control, couldn't get over how much it tracked and got stuck in Lola's long fur. Maybe it would be better with a short haired cat? I've never tried the pellets, but maybe they make a good compromise.

Fresh Step Natural Scoop (clumping pine) (? ?), pine
Picked this up at Target on a whim, to see if it tracked any less than the beloved Feline Pine. It was not as good as Feline Pine AT ALL.
Clumping: Not good, how is this even similar stuff as feline pine? The whole thing was just a mess from day one. Wouldn't sift through my scoop, wouldn't stay together.
Tracking: Just as bad as Feline Pine, but with none of the perks to make it even vaguely tolerable.
Odor: Clumps wouldn't stay together and it was really hard to scoop, and thus to find clumps in the first place. I'm sure both of those contributed to less odor control.
Overall: All of the bad points of Feline Pine, none of the good, I'm pretty sure I didn't even make it a full month with this before dumping it, I hated it.

Feline Pine (clumping) and World's Best
Not wanting to give up on a good thing, I decided to mix these together to see if I get better clumping/odor control and less tracking. 50:50 ratio.
Clumping: Better than World's Best alone, not as good as Feline Pine alone, less crumblies everywhere than with corn litters by themselves.
Tracking: Still quite a bit of tracking going on, but much improved from Feline Pine alone, this I can live with.
Odor: Increased clumping helps keep odor down, plus I think pine just keeps everything smelling nice.
Overall: This is a good compromise and so far my favorite litter. I only have one litter box so I have to store the other half of each bag, but it would work out perfectly if you have an even number of boxes. Tracking is still not ideal, but I think that's kind of the price of natural litters.

From everything that I've tried, I would recommend the Feline Pine/World's best combo the most, however the only ones I would not recommend are the Arm&Hammer and Fresh Step, everything else was decent enough.

Just today I went to Petsmart and saw that the ExquisiCat brand has seriously revved up their natural litter selection. Isn't that Petsmarts house brand? They have paper pellets, pine pellets, wheat clumping, corn clumping, and a pine/corn clumping combo. Considering my DIY pine/corn went pretty well, I picked up a bag of theirs today. It's a pretty good price, 8.5 lbs for $9, the bags that weren't mixed types were even cheaper. I'm hoping their pine/corn mix may be my holy grail, but if not I may start testing their other ones. Just from comparing two clumping pines I've realized a different brand formulation can make a big difference in a litter type.

Everyone grades things a little differently, but I thought it might be a helpful comparison to see what one person thought of several litters. I'll update if I try more litters. Feel free to add your own experiences!

514 Posts
Wow....thanks for the detailed write ups! It's very helpful for people who are trying to decide (like me). Right now I'm testing out Worlds Best. So far I've just done the 1/3 transition's going well so I might try swapping out 1 of the boxes with solely Worlds Best soon.

8,961 Posts
I just realized (yeah, I'm slow) that World's Best is Flushable!! That excited me...way more than it should have. Last few days I've been able to carry the Omega Paw collection tray right into the bathroom and dump the clumps right into the toilet and flush them.

It's kind of sad but I got pretty excited about that. No more scooping and no more carrying cat poo out to the garbage compactor in my trash!

83 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
All natural litters are flushable, before flushing feces though you should get your cat tested to make sure you aren't introducing toxoplasma gondii into the water system. Indoor cats shouldn't have it, but any cats that go outside can be exposed to the parasite.
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