Best Overall: Fresh Step Premium Crystals This litter includes long-lasting crystals that help lock in odor without scooping. Therefore, this litter is easier to care for than other options.
Silica gel litter is safe for cats. This is NOT the same as crystalline silica gel that’s found in those little preservative packets (you know, the ones that say THROW OUT, DO NOT EAT). Silica cat litter is made from amorphous silica gel, not the crystalline that’s used in those packets.
Clumping litter - Clumping litter does not contain silica. Instead, it’s made from grains of bentonite clay that clumps together when wet. Non-clumping clay-based litter - Non-clumping clay-based litter also does not contain silica. It’s made from clays other than bentonite so that it absorbs liquids but doesn’t clump.
PrettyLitter is made of super absorbent, lightweight silica gel. Silica gel crystals are extremely absorbent, more so than other litter types, so you need less litter to do the same job.
Mess: Clay-based litter is messier and can get stuck on your cat’s fur. If the litter box tips over, the material gets scattered around the area and dust particles are released into the air. Crystal cat litter is easy to find and clean up if it does get messed. It is also less likely to get caught on your cat’s fur.
Unlike the rock-like clumping clay litter that most people use, PrettyLitter is actually a “crystal litter,” which works a bit differently. Crystal litters are made from silica gel crystals—the same material that’s in those little “Do Not Eat” pouches that come in purses or coat pockets—and it’s extremely absorbent.
Thankfully, there is something you can do to reuse litter and save money on pet supplies. Just scoop out the solid waste from the litter and pour the leftovers into a clean bucket. Then add a cup of apple cider vinegar and baking soda, and let the mixture foam up.
Fresh Step® Crystals is made of silica gel. It is not a clay litter, and therefore does not clump. If you prefer clumping litters, try Fresh Step® Scoopable or Fresh Step® Plus Dual Action Crystals®.
Cat litter with silica crystal beads are typically dust-free, which helps keep the area around your pet’s litter box clean. Crystal-based litter is also effective when it comes to odour neutralizing and lasts much longer compared to other cat litter.
Pine litter is the safest option for cat litter. It does not contain chemicals, toxic additives, or synthetic perfumes like litters made from silica gel or clay. It is low-dust, so, as a cat parent, you do not have to worry about its respiratory system and the toxic chemicals found in dust clouds.
Dust and Tracking
Most clay litters have minimal dust and do not create tracking marks when cats leave the litter box. But silica crystals are completely dust-free and do not leave marks around the house because they are in bead form.
Silica gel is not thought to be toxic, but it can cause an obstruction if ingested by a cat.
Plant-based litters, such as Feline Pine™ have no dust, and other formulas, such as ARM & HAMMER™ Slide™ Easy Clean-Up Litter are clay-based, but 100 percent dust-free. Also like humans, some cats are sensitive to fragrances.
Non-clumping pellets vs clumping clay cat litter
Wood and pine pellets are also better for the environment, create less mess, and do a better job of controlling the odors of urine and ammonia. Learn more about the benefits of wood pellets vs clay cat litter.
Silica Cat Litter
Environmentally, silica litters will biodegrade and are non-toxic, making them a better choice than clay.
According to the United States Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA): “Crystalline silica has been classified as a human lung carcinogen. Additionally, breathing crystalline silica dust can cause silicosis, which in severe cases can be disabling, or even fatal.
These silica packets are used to keep products fresh and prevent them from getting soft and soggy. However, the silica used in crystal litter is specifically formulated for cat litter and is made from amorphous silica gel, not crystalline silica gel.
Safe: Pretty Litter was developed for cats by a group of veterinary professionals and scientists, therefore it is quite secure. It’s made of ultra-absorbent Silica Gel and a proprietary set of indicators to let you check your cat’s urine for blood and abnormally high levels of acidity and alkalinity.
Use a litter scoop to sift out urine clumps and stool and place in a small trash bag. Once all the boxes in your house are scooped, tie off the garbage bag in a knot. To prevent odor and bacterial leakage, double bag your scooped litter. Place in an outside trash can with a tight fitting lid.
Silica cat litters are very long-lasting, highly absorbent (non-clumping) hygienic sodium silicate litters They contain millions of ultra-absorbent micropores that absorb liquids quickly and efficiently, to guarantee a healthy, hygienic environment.
If your cat is eating litter, it could be a sign that they have an underlying health issue. Petful points out that eating litter can be a sign of anemia, a vitamin or mineral deficiency or a neurological disorder — all conditions that require diagnosis by a veterinarian.
Add baking soda to the litter: Surprisingly, baking soda is a great all-natural deodorizer that is both safe for cats and can help manage the litter box smell. By mixing a little bit of baking soda with the litter, you can help absorb any urine odors also.
If you’re using a cat litter subscription such as PrettyLitter, it will be time to change your kitty litter once all of the crystals have changed color – ideally to a yellow or lime-green color, which indicates normal urine pH.