Cat Litter: Ratings of Sources
Cat author and activist Caroline Golon offers her take on the pros and cons of different types of cat litter. Examples of each type are given, but whether or not those are based on testing, personal experience, or another basis is not well explained. She also offers information on how to transition a cat from one brand or type of litter to another. Her bottom line advice is that "While many litters offer benefits like odor control and clumping abilities that make life easier for humans, the most important thing is how your cat likes it."
Golon also maintains this personal web site, where she blogs about all things litter-box related, including cat litter. You can find reviews written by her and her contributors, but most cat litters covered fare pretty well. That's not surprising as Golon notes in an article on "4 Cat Litters to Try" that she never posts a review of a poor litter. Keeping in mind that what her cats like, other might not, she adds "What I talk about on this site is always deemed worthy of at least a test run if you think it will work for you."
Aside from a wealth of information on the do's and don'ts of cat ownership, veterinarian Lisa A. Pierson discusses specific cat litters she has tried over the years. Analysis here is in-depth and based on years of real-world use. It's worth noting that Pierson strongly feels that a clumping litter "is the only sanitary way to maintain a litter box."
Pet blogger Daniela Caride compares eight cat litters, giving each a letter grade and brief review. Fresh Step earns the lowest score, where Caride derides clay-based cat litters for their alleged health concerns. A comparative chart at the end of the write-up makes it easy to compare each product by specific attributes.
When it comes to cat litter, there's a good assortment of choices listed at Amazon.com. While not all brands are extensively reviewed, many receive hundreds of user comments, and some get thousands. Most reviews are just a few lines long, but others are fairly extensive, including some with comparisons with other brands/varieties or reports on long term usage.
PetSmart.com sells the major brands of cat litter. Feedback here is much briefer than what's often found at Amazon.com, but more brands generate a significant number of reviews. Navigation is a nuisance, however, as you need to click through to the product pages to see if a rating is based on a handful of reviews, or hundreds.
Petco is another big-box pet retailer. As with PetSmart.com, lots of cat owners leave reviews of products, including cat litter. Comments aren't extensive, but still give a good indication of owner and cat satisfaction. Like PetSmart.com, you need to click through to each product to learn how many users have reviewed it.
Retailer Walmart.com carries the more mainstream varieties of cat litter, though many products have amassed a large number of user reviews -- some well into the thousands. Owner feedback is generally cursory, especially compared to user reviews at Amazon.com, but star ratings as well as separate sub-ratings for marks like Value makes this a solid companion source. The number of user reviews is posted on the main pages, so that's a plus when it comes to site usability.
Franny Syufy is About.com's guide to cats. Although she has good things to say about all the cat litters here, Syufy personally endorses World's Best Cat Litter. She does admit it's relatively expensive, but says it's "virtually dust-free." Links lead to longer reviews of some of the listed cat litters.
Here, Golon recommends five types of cat litter that she calls "some of the more unique offerings on the market." Analysis here is fairly brief -- just a paragraph or two for each listing -- though opinions are based on Golon's personal experience. Pros and cons are easily identified, and there are lots of pictures, though there isn't much discussion of cost or economy.
Dr. Karen Becker does not recommend specific cat litter products, but does provide a good overview of the different types of litter, and their pluses and minuses. She also notes that while their human companions might prefer something else, preference studies show that "cats prefer unscented clumping litter with no odor control additives."
This site dedicated to all things cat related includes a section where users can post reviews of cat litter that their cat has tried. Reviews tend to brief, and most litters get far fewer reviews here than what can be found at retailer-related sites such as Amazon.com and Petco.com. Still, some additional valuable insights can be gleaned, and articles about cat litter in general as well as forum discussions elsewhere on the site can be somewhat helpful.
Amy Worden, staff writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer, says that pine pellets are the best type of cat litter and that while she often buys a cheaper alternative, "Feline Pine makes one of the best pine pellet litters." She finds that the clumping version is a disappointment, however. She finds that SwheatScoop, a wheat-based biodegradable clumping litter is a bit better, but still not perfect.
Jackson Galaxy, a cat behaviorist and host of Animal Planet's My Cat from Hell TV show, shares his take on the benefits of natural cat litters. He finds no downsides at all, especially compared to conventional clay litter, and singles out one brand as an easy to find natural alternative.