What is wooden cat litter and why you should make the switch?
What is Wooden Cat Litter?
Originally cat litter was sand, but for many years now the popular choice has been a clay-based cat litter. Wood is relatively new on the market and in these eco-friendly times, it has been gaining popularity. What is it? Simply put, it's pressed wood pellets. Depending on the brand it can have other additives, but at its simplest base it's wood that's been super-compressed into a pellet shape.
The High Cost of Clay and Silica
There's a lot of reasons to avoid more traditional litters, but the main two are Health and Environmental reasons. Let's start with health.
While Silica avoids some of the health issues, clay cat litter brings a lot of dangers with it. The dust was what initially made me consider switching. Have you ever poured out the clay litter and saw that big cloud of dust come up? Yeah, me too. I was worried so I started to hit Google and do some research.
What I found was pretty horrific. Silica can cause cancer (research is divided on if this is an issue in cat litter, but when there's a safe alternative I prefer not to risk it). Clay litter dust can cause respiratory problems and that's not even the worst of it. If your cat is anemic and eats the litter (or maybe they're just a big ole' freak who loves to eat litter), it can cause an intestinal blockage and kill them. While many vets say that it's safe when grooming paws, I just didn't feel comfortable having it around after reading that.
If the health issues are bad, the environmental impact is worse. Clay and Silica are both obtained via the process of Strip Mining, a process that most people are barely aware of, but that un-arguably destroys our environment and natural resources, causing many problems.
On top of that, Clay and Silica don't biodegrade like wood or plant-based litters (though some say plant-based litters have their own issues with some having clay or silica additives). Think about how we find Roman Pottery these days, clay takes a very long time to break up. Clay Pottery can take up to 1,000,000 years to biodegrade, so clay is not environmentally friendly at all! Imagine the amount of litter you go through each week. I have three cats so I go through quite a bit.
My Cat doesn't like Wood Litter, what do I do?
Environmental switches aren't always easy, but some cats are finnicky and nobody wants to discourage a cat from the litter tray. To adjust a cat to wooden litter, mix a few pellets (no more than ten percent, or five if the cat is very anxious) into their regular litter. Over time, slowly up the amount, reducing if the cat shows undue stress or goes outside the box.
Check out this guide.
Worst comes to worst, try a different option, but most problems can be fixed with persistence and knowledge.
What happens when my cat uses wooden litter?
Let's throw all semblance of politeness, aside, you want to know what will happen when your cat uses the wooden litter, right? Most wooden litter is non-clumping (See Cature for Clumping), so for poop the pellets just cling to it. Many cats don't cover it, 2/3 of mine don't. However, I scoop right away since I have three cats using one tray, so it's essential to keep it clean. (I also wash it once a week and change the litter then and recommend the same).
For pee, it turns to sawdust, which ends up at the bottom of the tray. Because the natural wood helps mask the urine, it doesn't smell as bad as clay litter, but if you leave it to get dirty over a long time, it certainly will!
What are my Options?
I'm mainly focusing on wooden litter here because I've found it to be the best option. There are those who use plant-based or paper-based options, which often have clay or silica additives.
Wooden litter is usually made from wood offcuts or small pieces of wood that can't be used. It's pure wood that gets pulped and squished into pellet form. Some companies do add stuff, so always do your research and read up if you insist on the greenest option. Or request a review from me and I'll do it for you!
Wood Litter is completely biodegradable and flushable (though environmental orgs recommend composting as flushing can affect marine life). It also doesn't get tracked through the house as badly as clay litter grains.
Make the Switch for as little as SEVEN DOLLARS!
Wooden Cat Litter ranges in price, but as a whole tends to be more expensive than Clay. That was one of the reasons I waited to make the switch, but I have a big secret. If you're ABSOLUTELY broke, you can get a basic no-additive wooden cat litter for no money. Sounds too good to be true? It's not, it just isn't advertised as pet litter. 100% wood pellets for wood-burning stoves work perfectly as cat litter, as long as they have no additives. Sometimes they even say on the bag that they are suitable as pet bedding. A 40lb bag will set you back a mere CAD$7, as opposed to a similar price for a 10lb bag of wooden cat litter. This is a great option for those on a budget, though it is extremely basic with a less 'woody' smell and no odour control.
If you feel more comfortable with a known pet brand and want clumping and odour control check out my recent review and I'll put the links right here for you to buy some.
Paper and Plant-Based
Other Wooden Litter
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