The perfect cat litter is a matter of personal preference and a decision that is usually made as a compromise between you and your kitty. Some cats can be very particular when it comes to the litter in their box. There is a wide variety of litter, made of various types of materials, to choose from that is sure to satisfy the likes of both you and your cat.
One of the oldest types of litter on the market, clay litter is very popular due to its wide availability and low cost. Clay is highly absorbent and had good odor control in a properly maintained box. However, many have mixed feelings on this type of litter due questions of its effect on the health of cats and humans. Clay litter will produce a lot of dust when poured into the box, or scratched by your cat, releasing particles of silica into the air. Silica is a known carcinogen and harmful when inhaled. Clay litter is also not earth friendly as it will not biodegrade in the landfills.
Because of its convenience, scoopable litter is a favorite of many. Sodium Bentonite, a highly absorbent form of clay, is what is responsible for the clumping action of this type of litter. When this litter becomes wet it forms hard making it easy to scoop out the box. In addition to the silica dust, many question the safety of this litter since some cats have become ill after ingesting it due to its clumping qualities. It is believed that if cats swallow the litter when they groom themselves after scratching in the litter they could suffer intestinal blockage. The same danger exists for those dogs who are inclined to eat out of the cat's litter box.
Cat litter made from recycled paper is biodegradable, dust free, and non toxic. Made from tightly bound paper it is highly absorbant but stays wet requiring more litter box maintenance to keep clean and avoid odors. When using paper litter it is best to use sparingly, scoop often and completely clean the litter box at least twice a week.
Earth friendly Pine litter is made from compressed pine tree bark, is highly absorbent and has a fresh, pine scent. Like paper litter, litter boxes with pine litter will require additional maintenance to keep them clean and fresh smelling. The pine pellets are very hard and some cats may not like the texture but the natural sent is a favorite of many kitties.
Another earth friendly, dust free litter are those made from corn. Unlike paper and pine, the texture of corn litter is very course and consists of tiny, hard pellets. Like the other natural litters, box maintenance needs to be top priority and since this litter tends to easily stick to kitties tracking outside the box requires extra clean up.
For a dust free environment, paper, pine or corn litter is the best choice. Clumping litter tops the list for most convenient. It may take trial and error to find the one that works best for you and your kitty, or you may achieve litter box perfection by mixing a combination of two or more. Kitty will let you know when the box is right for them.