Since I was a very young child, cats have been my companions. They are loving little friends, always ready to snuggle or offer a comforting purr when a person is feeling low. There are few down sides to cats as far as I’m concerned, but one has always been the litter pans.
Because we live beside a high speed road and in a rural area full of cat predators, my furry little pals usually are house cats who go outside only in a large caged run or on a leash. Litter pans are necessary. For most of the years I’ve had cats, good old clay litter was the pan filler. When clumping litter was introduced, I switched. It did make cleaning the pans easier and also helped reduce odors. Still, litter pans are smelly and need frequent scrubbing.
I keep the cats’ pans in an unheated, concrete-floored woodshed attached to the house. In the winter, the waste is often frozen so odors are less of a problem. The summer heat and humidity encourage growth of bacteria that turn urine to ammonia, creating the offensive stink. No matter what clay litter I used, the odor was a problem. I even tried adding stall freshener for horses to no avail.
Then, about a year ago, I discovered a new product. Made of pine and cedar wood and corn, the granules are fine and lightweight. The litter has a fresh, pine smell that cuts odors. It clumps around liquids, though not quite as hard as clumping clay litter. It is superior to any other litter I have tried with my cats. As a vet tech, over the course of my eleven years employment caring for hundreds of cats, I’ve used most types of litter, even the pelleted newspaper and the crystals. This wood and corn litter is better at fighting odor.
The organic based litter is also better for the environment. Clay for cat litter must be mined and is a limited resource. Pine, cedar and corn are renewable resources. The wood is sourced from scrap and waste from manufacturing processes. When it is time to throw out the litter and scrub the pans, the plant-based litter is easier to dispose of than clay litter.
After a year with the new litter, I am very pleased. So are the cats, I believe. The odor in summer is greatly reduced. I no longer have to use the horse stall freshener. There is much less dust. The waste weighs considerably less, this litter is much lighter than clay. I use less litter, overall, and have to change the pans less often.
There are only two problems with the litter that I’ve found. The small, light-weight grains carry farther on the cats’ feet than clay litter. I have to sweep around the pans more often. Also, the clumping material in the litter, I believe it is a corn starch based compound, will sometimes adhere to the sides of the pan and must be scrubbed off. It will not dissolve well in water. These two issues are minor for me. I am very willing to overlook them for the greatly improved air quality.
What a pleasure it is to walk out in the room with the litter pans on a hot summer day and smell only the fresh scent of pine. The Phoenix Farm cats approve!