Kitty litter. Those two words can strike fear in the heart of veteran and novice cat owners alike. Why? Because there are so many versions and brands on the market today that it’s sometimes difficult to choose which one is going to work best for your cat.
Here’s a little history of how cat litter was invented and some tips on how to choose the best one for your furry BFF.
Cat litter was invented in the 1940s in part because housewives were unhappy that their cats were tracking ashes or sand all over the house. Back then, leftover ashes from a fire were used as cat litter when she wasn’t going outside. But when ex-Navy man Ed Lowe suggested using an absorbent clay instead, modern kitty litter was born.
It’s All About the Odor
The real issue with cat urine is that it contains ammonia and, as a result, can be really smelly. A cat box left unattended for several days can create quite a noticeable odor in your home.
Before clumping litter was invented, and granulated litter would pull the moisture from cat urine down to the bottom of the pan and it would just sit there. And if you waited long enough, your cat would stop using the box because all she was doing is stepping in puddles of pee.
The invention of clumping litter was the “ah hah” moment for felines. Dr. Thomas Nelson came up with a litter made from clay that dried but did not bake and, when the cat used it, the urine formed a clump that could be scooped out and thrown away.
Which to Choose?
There are lots of kitty litters on the market and, truly, the best test to determine whether your cat likes a particular litter is to try it. But here’s some empirical evidence that may help you in your initial litter research.
Back in 1990, a gentleman named Dr. Peter Borchelt did an experiment with 14 different types of commercial cat litter. He even moved the boxes around to make sure that the cats weren’t preferring a particular location as opposed to a particular cat litter.
The result was that a finely textured clumping clay was preferred 2 to 1 over a coarse clay that had larger particles. That may suggest that your cat’s “paw feel” on the litter could be the deciding factor for which cat litter she prefers.
Finding a cat litter that she likes best, we’ll keep her happy and doing her business where you want her to.
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