What types of cat litter are there?

Cat on the tray

Image - Ay ay ay

One of the doubts that assail anyone who plans to live with a feline or who already does, is what type of sand to choose. There are not many, but there are enough to make this apparently simple task very difficult for us. Sometimes we even buy one thinking that our friend will love it, and then it turns out not only does he not like it, but he is likely to decide to relieve himself elsewhere. These cats ... Anyway. We have no choice but to buy another. But, ¿Cuál? 

This cat litter thing is a bit of a difficult world, so let's help you. We are going to tell you the different types that there are, their main characteristics, and finally, a few tips that, we hope, will be useful for you to choose from.

In the market we can find the sand of all life, the agglomerating sand, the sand of silica pearls and the ecological sand. Let's know how they differ:

Sand of a lifetime

It is the one we find in supermarkets. It is very economical, being worth between a few cents and 1 euro for a 5l bag, so it is also easily accessible. But it has several drawbacks:

  • It has a lot of dust: This can be a serious problem if, like me, you have an allergy. You can't refill the tray without avoiding coughing.
  • It generates a bad smell: When it comes into contact with the feces, or even with the cat's urine, the smell it generates is very unpleasant.
  • It must be changed often: It is a type of litter for cats that, every time he relieves himself, no matter how clean we try to leave his litter box every day, there is always something left. At the end of the week, you have to throw out all the sand and clean the tray thoroughly.

Clumping sand

Bentonite sand

This type of sand is mixed with a material called bentonite, which is a binder clay. It is somewhat more expensive than the previous one, being able to cost 27 euros a 40-liter bag, but it has the advantage that it can be reused a couple of times, since all stool can be easily removed from the cat.

But it also has some drawbacks, in addition to the price: depending on the quality, they can give off quite a bad smell and generate a lot of dust.

Vegetable sand

Bamboo sand

Image - feelcats

This arena is the only one that respects the environment. It is composed of wood fibers fallen from different trees. What's more, es biodegradable, so you can flush it down the toilet bowl without problems, saving you those uncomfortable walks with the heavy (actually, this sand doesn't weigh as much as the others) garbage bag.

As with the binder, with this sand it will be very easy to collect both urine and feces, and the smell is not as intense as with other sand. But of course it also has some drawbacks. The main one is that it's expensive. There are several brands, but to give you an idea of ​​its price, the 30l bag costs about 20-25 euros.

The other "problem" is that, although it does not generate dust, it can get stuck on the cat's body, so it can end up leaving traces around the house.

Silica pearl sand

Silica sand

Image - Kittens

Silica bead sand, or silica sand, is a type of synthetic sodium silicate sand. It is very absorbent, and you can remove the stool very easily and quickly, since when you urinate, the white pearls turn yellow. In addition, it does not generate dust or give off a bad smell, and it can last up to 30 days if you only have one cat.

Although not all are advantages. The two disadvantages that this sand has is, on the one hand, the price, since a 7,5kg bag can cost about 25-30 euros, and on the other that not all cats like.

Tips for choosing litter for your cat

Cat tray

Image - petengo

We have seen the three types of sand that there are, but how do you choose one? It is difficult then It depends on our budget, how many cats we have or plan to have, as well as the time we have to clean the tray. I have bought all three, and now my 3 cats are using the clumping litter. Why? Well, I don't really like to be aware of the sandbox, except, of course, those little moments that I dedicate to remove the daily stools; Also, I was looking for one that they liked (it was a real odyssey trying to find one with which they felt comfortable), that did not release a lot of dust and that, above all, was easy to clean. So based on my own experience, I advise you the following:

  • Calculate how much you spend per month on the type of sand you use: in some cases, cheap can be expensive; on the other hand, in others, it is much more costly to spend less money.
  • Buy samples of different arenas to find out which one you like the most and which one the least: This is especially useful if you would like to use the silica but doubt if your friend will relieve himself on it.
  • If you are using a clumping, vegetable or silica sand, reuse it: remove any grains that are dirty, and use the rest to refill the tray after cleaning.
  • With or without perfume? Do not be sad: there are sands that have some perfume, be it lavender or another plant. Not all cats like these litters, so if you're worried about odors, try a litter that absorbs bad smells. For your case, the silica or even the vegetable would be a very good option.

And up to here the subject of the sands. We hope we have helped you clarify your doubts, and you can better decide which cat litter to choose 🙂.


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  1.   Sergio said

    Hello, I use silica pearl sand with my cat, I have tried all types of sand and it is the one that convinces me the most: it is clean, does not generate dust or spill sand outside the sandbox, it absorbs urine very well and it lasts for a long time until the next replacement. Although I disagree that the price is expensive. I will give my case as an example. A conventional sandbag ranges from € 5, the size of my cat's tray is for 2 changes, 1 per week, since the sand generates a lot of smell and becomes unpleasant, so per month it would be 2 sandbags = € 10 approx. Same bag weight but in silica pearls, it gives me 2 changes, each change is worth 2 weeks, since it does not generate odor, the excrement can be easily removed and the urine does not begin to smell until the second week is fulfilled. Therefore, a bag is worth around € 9 and gives you for a whole month, you are saving more than if it were with conventional sand. I encourage you to try it, and if hopefully the cat likes it, then surely you will not want to go back to the absorbent litter of a lifetime. All the best!

    1.    Monica sanchez said

      Hello Sergio.
      Thanks for your comment. The silica pearl sand really looks very good.
      A greeting.