Should I Use a Premium Scoopable and Clumping Cat Litter?

If you’re reading this, you probably share your life with one or more cats. You know that cats are finicky creatures, and this is nowhere more evident than in their “potty” habits. The smell and texture of the cat litter box substrate (the material in which cats “do their business”) is very important to cats. People who live with cats are affected, as well, since a cat unsatisfied with its litter box is a disaster in the making. As a result, cat owners have begun turning to science, and science has obliged by creating a selection of premium scoopable clumping cat litters that are designed to make life more pleasant, convenient, and odor-free for cat owners, and more comfortable for cats. And after all… who wants an uncomfortable cat?
Training Litters
Even though the instinct to cover their waste products is strong—hence the invention of the litter box—some cats need a little extra encouragement to utilize the “facilities.” A feline veterinarian developed Dr. Elsey’s Cat-Attract, a premium scoopable clumping cat litter made from clay that incorporates a scent designed to arouse Tabby’s curiosity and attract her to the litter box. This type of product can be useful for training kittens to use the litter box, and also for the re-introduction of the litter box for cats that have, for some reason, begun to lose interest in using the box or that have lived outside for some time.
Special Odor Control
Several premium scoopable clumping cat litters contain special additives that are designed to provide additional odor control. This can be very important for cat owners who live in small indoor spaces. One of these is Tidy Cat’s Antimicrobial Agent Control litter, which contains chemicals that work to eliminate odor-causing bacteria. Arm & Hammer’s Odor Alert litter contains blue clumps of baking soda that change color as they become saturated.
Nature’s Miracle Odor Control Clumping Cat Litter is a premium scoopable clumping cat litter made from natural corn byproducts that also provides firm clumping action for easier cleanup. The natural enzyme action of the corn-based product provides good odor control, even for multiple cats. Pet Ecology’s Perfect Litter Alert combines a special pH-sensitive agent that changes color as it becomes saturated, alerting the owner that it’s time to change litter. It also features a lightweight, biodegradable base that won’t harm the environment. Swheat Scoop premium scoopable clumping cat litter is made from wheat (non-food grade) byproducts and provides good clumping and no clay dust, which can be harmful to cats.

What’s the Best Chemical Free Scoopable Cat Litter?

With all the variety now available in cat litter products, consumers have more choices than ever for keeping the indoor environment clean, odor-free, and hospitable to their cats. Dye- and perfume-free scoopable cat litters, biodegradable litters, and other premium scoopable clumping cat litters are available to meet the wide array of needs, budgets, and preferences of cat owners.
The Sweet Smell of Success
Fresh Step, one of the top-selling names in clay-based litters, offers Fresh Step Free, its perfume and dye free scoopable cat litter that also includes carbon for increased odor control. The company cites the product as 99% dust free, and it is designed for superior clumping capability, which means easier cleanup and a longer useful life for each bag purchased. Fresh Step also offers a formula that includes cedar chips, for better odor and moisture control.
Back to Nature
For the more environmentally conscious cat fancier, 100% clay-free scoopable litters may be more preferable. Swheat Scoop cat litter is made from non-food-grade wheat and wheat products. Its natural enzymes control odor and many veterinarians even recommend it for kittens and newly declawed cats because of its gentle characteristics. It is flushable and compostable. World’s Best Cat Litter, from GPC Pet Products, is made from corn and corn byproducts. It is offered in Original and Extra-Strength formulas, and uses all-natural plant derivatives to control odor. World’s Best is an organic, clay free scoopable cat litter that is also specifically recommended for automatic litter boxes. Feline Pine is another all-natural, clay free scoopable cat litter made from natural, renewable pine and pine sawdust. The clumping formula provides for easy scooping. The manufacturer, Nature’s Earth, also offers a rebate for the first purchase, amounting to a free bag of scoopable cat litter, just for trying Feline Pine! Pet Ecology’s Perfect Cat Litter Alert contains a special pH indicator that causes the litter to change color when it is becoming saturated. A handy convenience for cat owners! Also, Perfect Cat Litter Alert is made from all-natural products, which means that it is a scoopable cat litter, free from harmful environmental characteristics. What is more, its special, high-absorbency characteristics mean that even when wet, it weighs much less than regular cat litters, making for a much easier trip to the garbage can or dumpster!
Specialty Litters
Dr. Elsey’s Cat-Attract litter is a scoopable litter specially formulated to attract cats to the litter box, either for litter box training or “re-education” for cats that have been primarily outdoors.

Using Flushable Scoopable Cat Litter

Since 1948, when Ed Lowe pioneered the use of clay-based cat litter, cat lovers have been searching for more convenient ways to keep their indoor spaces clean and odor-free, while still enjoying the company of their feline friends. Clumping litters, introduced in the 1980s and composed of bentonite clay, have proved convenient, effective, and relatively inexpensive, which is why they make up about 60% of the total market for cat litter products.
One drawback of these litters, however, is that they are not flushable because of the characteristics that cause them to clump in the presence of moisture. But science marches on, and now there are an array of flushable, scoopable cat litters that will help keep your house smelling fresh and don’t require the labor-intensive process of dumping the soiled litter into a trash bag and hauling the heavy contents out to the dumpster or garbage can.
To Flush or Not to Flush?
Some recent studies suggest that caution is in order with regard to flushing scoopable cat litter into the sewage system, especially if you live in a highly populated coastal area with a high volume of water flow into the sea. Some researchers have noted increased mortality among sea otters and other marine mammals such as whales, believed to be caused by a parasite, toxoplasma gondii, often found in its egg stage in cat feces. In fact, pregnant women should not handle soiled cat litter at all, to completely avoid risk of contamination with this organism, which can harm developing fetuses.
The primary source of the microbe in marine mammals, scientists believe, is feces from cats that eat infected birds or other small animals, then defecate outdoors. It is thought that the toxoplasma are washed into the local watershed and, especially in coastal areas, can end up in the sea. They are thought to be concentrated in mussels and oysters, a primary food source for sea otters. However, scoopable flushable cat litter that goes into a sewer or septic system is much less likely to directly contact groundwater.
Clay or Organic Litters?
The main advantage of clay-based flushable scoopable litters is their absorbency. Some consumers also prefer the dye- and perfume-free scoopable cat litters that are widely available. However, many users prefer to use products made from renewable resources, unlike clay litters, many of which come from strip mines that can alter landscapes in unsightly ways. Fortunately, flushable scoopable litters made from corn and corn products, wheat and wheat bran, and pine are also available.

What’s the Right Scoopable Cat Litter Choice for Me?

Even if you’re a longtime cat owner, you may not be aware of the wide array of choices for scoopable cat litter. Even though clay-based litters make up 60% of the market, an array of new products is available, including some flushable scoopable cat litters, that offers more options and convenience.
Clay-Based Litters
The overwhelmingly popular choice, these scoopable cat litters offer a combination of convenient use and low price. Some varieties include antimicrobial agents that actually control odor-causing bacteria, which can be a huge advantage if you live in a small space with your feline friends. And now you can even purchase litters containing an attractant for cats, in case Tabby has, for some reason decided to quit using the “facilities” (or you are retraining a cat that has been staying outdoors). The two biggest-selling brands are Tidy Cat and Fresh Step. Disadvantages of these litters are that they are not flushable, and they are not particularly eco-friendly.
Au Naturale
If you prefer solutions that are less harmful to the environment, you may wish to consider other choices for scoopable cat litters. Feline Pine is made from pine and pine sawdust, and is available in both pellet and scoopable, flushable formulas. The pine does a good job of controlling odor and absorbing moisture, and the material is biodegradable, so it won’t build up in landfills. You can also compost it, if you happen to be a gardener. Swheat Scoop litter is made from wheat products, and many users consider it their best choice for scoopable cat litter because of its combination of low dust, biodegradability, odor control, and compatibility with septic and sewer systems. Some users, however, have noted that its lighter weight causes it to be tracked through the house more noticeably than other alternatives. A new, lightweight biodegradable product, Perfect Litter Alert from Pet Ecology, combines a special odor controlling agent with a pH indicator that changes color to alert you that the box needs fresh litter. Its light weight is a welcome advantage for anyone who has ever hefted a trash bag full of wet and soiled litter into the dumpster. As with all biodegradable litters, all the above products are more expensive to purchase than clay-based litters. However, with their combination of “green” characteristics, ease of use, and low dust generation (which can be healthier for your cat), many users still make these products their first choice for scoopable cat litter.

Choosing the Best Scoopable Cat Litter

The main reason people use scoopable, or clumping cat litters, is convenience. The soiled litter sticks together in—you guessed it—clumps, making it easy to remove from the litter box and leave the remaining litter, which can still have days or weeks of useful life, in place. But which scoopable cat litter is best for you and your cat? If you’re like me, you might not have even been aware that there were options, not only for types of cat litter, but even for types of scoopable cat litter.
Scoopable Clay Litter
This type of litter makes up about 60% of the market. Its advantages are that it provides the convenience and long-lasting effectiveness of clumping litters, and that it is relatively inexpensive. Disadvantages include the facts that it is not flushable and not too environmentally friendly. Most clumping clay litters contain bentonite clay, along with quartz or diatomaceous earth. Some cat owners have complained that scoopable clay litters are not best, since they can cause intestinal blockage or death if they are ingested by cats. However, others—including at least one veterinarian who specializes in felines—say that the risk of health problems for your cat from using scoopable clay litters is very low. For many cat owners, clay-based litters seem to be the best scoopable cat litter. The two leading brands, based on the most recent sales data, are Tidy Cat and Fresh Step.
Biodegradable Litter
If you’re interested in using a more earth-friendly product, there are also options available. Some claim that pine-based products such as Feline Pine, available in both pellet and natural clumping formulas, are the best scoopable cat litters, since they are made from renewable, biodegradable materials that can be flushed, composted, or placed in landfills with minimal long term effects. Reduced dust characteristics as compared with clay litters are also cited as an advantage, since heavy dust inhalation can lead to feline respiratory problems. Some natural products also provide improved odor control. A wheat-bran-based product, Swheat Scoop, is said by some users to offer the best choice for scoopable cat litter because of its odor control and flushability. Another eco-friendly alternative made from corn, World’s Best Cat Litter, is cited for superior clumpability. The principal disadvantage of most of the natural or biodegradable alternatives is that they are more expensive to purchase. However, if you want to use a litter that’s flushable, compostable, biodegradable, and low in dust, you may decide that one of the biodegradable choices is the best scoopable cat litter for your purposes.

User’s Guide to Scoopable Cat Litter

Millions of people love cats, but let’s face it: no one loves cat poop. Fortunately for cat owners, felines have a strong instinct to “do their business” in an out-of-the-way place, preferably one with lots of loose material that can easily be raked over the feces. For decades, cat owners used sawdust or sand to accommodate this handy trait of cats kept indoors.
And then, in 1948, a man named Ed Lowe created and marketed a clay-based product that was more absorbent than sand or sawdust. He named it “Kitty Litter,” a phrase that has since become genericized to refer to the entire class of feline litter products. Thus, an industry was born. Not long after, in the 1950s, chemists in the United Kingdom developed clumping, or scoopable cat litter. Scoopable cat litter has chemical properties that cause it to clump together when wet, which makes it easier to clean from the litter box while leaving the unused litter behind.
This convenient characteristic is the main reason that scoopable cat litter makes up around 60% of the entire market. If you’re a cat owner, and especially if you live in a confined indoor space with your feline friends, it’s important to find the best scoopable cat litter to make sure that life with Kitty remains pleasant… and relatively odor-free.
Using Scoopable Cat Litter
The great thing about scoopable cat litter, as mentioned above, is that because of its properties when moistened, it’s easy to strain out the “used” portion, leaving behind the litter that still has usefulness. However, even when using the very best scoopable cat litter, it is still important to completely change out the litter box contents and disinfect the litter box every four to six weeks to prevent the buildup of bacteria. Because of the clumping effect, it’s not a good idea to flush scoopable cat litter. Instead, dispose of it in an airtight sack or other container, along with other household garbage.
Earth-friendly Alternatives
Some object to the use of scoopable cat litter because it is made from clay that is often strip-mined. There are biodegradable litters made from materials like recycled pine sawdust, recycled newspaper (which seems almost poetic, given the poor quality of some journalism), dried orange peel, or wheat bran. These materials typically disintegrate when saturated and are much less harmful when added to landfills. They can also be composted at home, and many types are even flushable.