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Choosing Cat Litter – Clumping or Non Clumping

Choosing Cat Litter – Clumping or Non Clumping
Choosing Cat Litter – Clumping or Non Clumping

Choosing Cat Litter – Clumping or Non Clumping

Choosing the right kitty litter for your cat is an intimidating task, especially if you’ve never done it before.

First, there are so many options. Walk down an aisle in a pet store and the choices are overwhelming. Should I get clumping, non-clumping, scented, unscented, biodegradable, wood chips, pine corn or silica gel?

Which is the best? Which is best for my cat? Which one will he poop in?

That leads us two the second reason – your cat. Cats are finicky and your choice may not be the one kitty wants. Read also: Solving the Cat Litter Box issues.

Hopefully, this article will ease part of the burden. The rest, well, is up to kitty.

First, a brief history of cat litter.

Who invented cat litter?

Cats didn't become the household friends we know today until after World War Two. Prior to the end of WWII, cats lived indoor/outdoor lives, most of the time, outdoors. They did their business outside, in the backyard. I’m sure they upset a neighbor or two digging into gardens.

A few cat owners used sand or ashes, but this could be messy. As anyone knows what happens to the sand on one’s feet after a day at the beach. If you don’t wash your feet before coming into the house, the reaction is probably similar to the one that occurred after the first cat did its business and ran through the house. Glad, I missed that.

Ed Lowe solved the problem for a lucky neighbor. Ed, an ex-sailor suggested using clay, used for cleaning up industrial spills at the time. As luck would have it,his father’s firm manufactured that type of clay. Cat litter was born. Read also: Moving to New Home with the Cat.

There are two main types of litter: clumping and non-clumping.


Non clumping litter is made of clay.

Advantages of non-clumping litter: Odor absorption – Can absorb large volumes of urine. Think of the original use of clay – industrial spill clean-up. Its less expensive – Be careful with the initial cost. It’s less expensive for a box of litter, but it must be changed out frequently.

The disadvantage – It’s a lot of work – it’s great at absorbing odors, but the entire box must be changed out every two or three days. Or more frequently.


Clumping litter is the most popular choice. It wasn’t always so non clumping litter was the only choice until Thomas Nelson, a biochemist found that dried clay had a clumping effect on urine and feces. Which allowed him to scoop out the cats waste and rather than change all the litter. He simply had to replace the same amount of litter.


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