Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:
Help! I have not had a cat in over 50 years and my husband brought me a rescue kitten about a month and a half ago. He was 5 weeks old and had to fed by eye dropper. Of course, we have become quite attached to him, but as VERY inexperienced pet parents I have decided I must be very allergic to the clay based litter and am on a search to find the best possible choice for both of us! I feel that the litter causes acrid fumes that cause breathing problems for both my husband and me. By the way, I am currently trying the wheat based litter, but I still think I can smell something unpleasant.
Siouxsie: First of all, Nancy, you’re not alone in your quest for a cat litter that doesn’t cause respiratory problems. Many cat lovers have the same issue.
Thomas: The dust in clay litter is usually the culprit. But scented litters can be bad for allergies and breathing issues, too.
Kissy: Mama says stinky cat litter makes her gag, so she can only imagine how hard they are on our sensitive little noses!
Siouxsie: The good news is that there are lots and lots of choices these days when it comes to cat litter.
Thomas: And almost every company makes unscented litters — not just because of human issues but because cats don’t like stinky litter, either.
Kissy: The first thing we’d recommend is that you use an unscented clumping litter. That will relieve one source of acrid smell — cat urine in the box. The pee makes clumps that you can easily scoop out of the box.
Siouxsie: Clumping clay litter tends to be very dusty, though, so that could aggravate your breathing problems.
Thomas: We’ve tried just about every kind of litter there is, so we can give you some tips from what we’ve learned. Clumping corn litter is very effective at odor control and it has a naturally sweet smell. The trouble with it is that it’s very dusty.
Kissy: We’ve tried the wheat stuff, too, and we find that it doesn’t clump very well. We’ve also found that it tends to start stinking earlier than other plant-based litters.
Siouxsie: Silica pellet litter is good for absorbing urine and keeping odors at bay. But you really have to change it just as often as the instructions say — if you let it stay in the box too long, it’ll stop absorbing odor and the reek will just about knock you over.
Thomas: Pine sawdust litter has a naturally good smell, but in our experience it doesn’t clump all that well so you’ll need to change out the litter pretty frequently.
Kissy: Recycled newspaper pellets and pine pellets work all right, but some cats don’t like how it feels under their feet.
Siouxsie: The best litter we’ve found so far is Blue Naturally Fresh, a clumping formula made of walnut shells. It clumps like concrete, the odor control is great, and the scatter is pretty minimal.
Thomas: If you have an issue with acrid smells, though, you might not like the walnut shell litter — at least at first. Walnut shells have a lot of tannic acid in them, and you do get a pretty strong whiff of that “tannic odor” when you first open the bag.
Kissy: The good news is that the smell dissipates pretty quickly.
Siouxsie: If you want to try it, we’d recommend you get a small bag. Naturally Fresh is available at most pet stores these days.
Thomas: We’ve found that the original formula actually clumps better than the multi-cat formula, which is pretty unusual since it’s supposed to work the other way around.
Kissy: By the way, if you’re from Blue and you’ve come here because you found that we’ve linked to your site, Mama says she’d really like to talk to you! Tee hee hee!
Siouxsie: Stop that, Kissy! This is not the time for shameless begging!
Thomas: Nancy, we hope we’ve been able to help you find a cat litter that works for your sweet kitty, and that leaves you and your husband able to breathe, too.
Siouxsie: Please let us know if any of these litters work for you — and if not, did you find one that does? Your answer could be very helpful to our other readers.
We’ve found that Dr.Elsey’s Ultra Precious Cat Multi Cat litter for multi- cat households is wonderful!! They also make one that is hypo allergenic/ for those with respiratory issues. The multi-cat product seems to do the trick for our elder mom who has asthma problems.
We’ve used World’s Best (the corn litter) and I liked it a lot but my sweet Marjorie was allergic and couldn’t stop licking the fur off her legs and belly when we used it. We switched to Dr. Elsey’s and found it very dusty. It may be coincidence that Marjorie’s lung problems began after we’d been using that kind for about a year, I’ll never know for sure. But it was very dusty, and once she was having the respiratory issues, we had to change to a dust free litter. I buy my litter on line now at a website called kittylittersite.com We’re pretty happy with it, even though Marjorie passed away over the summer, and there’s really no reason we couldn’t switch back to World’s Best.
I am OVER THE MOON with Blue’s Crushed Walnut shell litter-we have four furrbabies, and we have used nearly all litters noted found that the Wheatscoop is good but still with heavy pee soaks down to the bottom
I learned of Blue’s thru Your Mama note about litters-I have even put it in our littermaid electric cat box and it works GREAT it is so great not to have wet smelly piles to scoop!!
Thank you Jane!!!
Mom here to 11 rescues. I use an unscented clay litter mixed 50/50 with an Arm & Hammer cedar scented litter (not clay). It keeps the at dust down and lightens up the mix, urine clumps well, and all my cats like it. I recently bought a damaged 50% off box of Arm & Hammer scented clay litter, and immediately had a kitty start urinating outside the box, we both hated the perfume smell!
Why anyone human or kitty would ever create such an abnoxious product, is beyond us!
We’ve been using World’s Best, or Petsmarts corn based litter for almost two years now. We really like the way it works controlling oders and the fact that huMom can flush the clumps is very convenient for her. It does have a fine white dust that turns my(Mistletoe) paws grey after I scratch in it a lot. And I do spend more time covering things up than the other kitties. It works well to get huMom up and scooping. So far every litter we’ve tried leaves some kind of dust and the corn based stuff seems to work best for us.
I have tried cat litter made from recycled paper (by that I mean paper, not necessarily newspaper) and I have never had any problems. Of course, Kissy is correct in saying some cats might not lile it. My three Mousebusters will use it but every kitty is different. I bought the recycled paper litter from a store near me named Rural Traders – they sell a range of goods that cater for farmers and other primary industry producers. Perhaps there are stores like that in the USA. The good thing about these type of stores is that they usually sell in bulk so it is cheaper in the long run.
I use World’s Best myself. I don’t know why, but the only dust tends to wind up on my cat’s forepaws. All I know is I don’t have to cover my mouth and nose and hold my breath to clean it like I do the clay-based litter at my job.
I find that Dr.Elsey’s Ultra Precious Cat Multi Cat litter for multi-cat households works best for my cats and I find it to be dust-free. I can’t stand scented cat litter but this litter has no scent. I highly recommend it.
You could also try plugging in a CritterZone air purifier next to the litter box. It breaks down the particles in the air that cause odors.
We use Arm and Hammer’s Essentials. It’s a natural clumping litter and is wonderful. Have no problems with smell at all.
Still searching for the right litter for resp. issues(humans)
We switched to the Blue Naturally Fresh for our allergy cat and she started eating all the fur off her belly and paws even worse than on any other previous litter… so no.