Is clumping or Non-clumping litter better?

There are two major types of cat litter that you can choose from. That is, clumping or non-clumping litter. Each has its pros and cons which makes it better than the other.

We have prepared this article to give an overview of both clumping and no-clumping cat litter to help guide you decide which is better.

You can also tell us in the comment section which type of cat litter you use and why you think it is better.

Guiding summary for clumping and non-clumping litter

Clumping litter

  • Binds to your cats excrement
  • Easy to scoop
  • Tends to have a high level of tracking
  • The whole litter does not get contaminated easily
  • More daily maintenance
  • Longer litterbox life
  • More expensive
  • Higher dust level

Non-clumping litter

  • Does not bind to cats excrement
  • Not easy to scoop
  • Has less tracking
  • The litter gets contaminated easily
  • Less daily maintenance
  • Shorter litterbox life
  • Cheap
  • Lower dust level

Overview of clumping cat litter

Generally speaking, clumping litter is a type of highly absorbent litter which is designed to stick to liquids forming small firm clumps. As such, it is therefore easier to clean as you can easily scoop the clumps leaving the other clean dry litter.

Depending on the company you choose to buy from, there are several brands of clumping litter. Additionally, depending on company preferences, there are a number of materials that have been used to make clumping cat litter including.

  1. Clay
  2. Wheat
  3. Corn
  4. Wood
  5. Tofu

Pros: What makes clumping litter better

Generally, clumping litter is better because it is easier to clean and maintain. There are a number of characteristics that make clumping litter better including.

1.      Clumping litter is easy to scoop

Clumping litter is highly absorbent. When your cat uses the litterbox, clumping litter sticks to their excrement forming small firm clumps.

You can then easily scoop out the clumps to clean the litter.

Note however that since you will keep removing part of the litter when cleaning out the clumps, you need to frequently refill the litterbox to maintain good litter depth.

2.      There is less contamination of the litter

Clumping litter quickly sticks to your cat’s excrement upon contact. This ensures that the rest of the litter is not contaminated by the solid waste.

Additionally, you can remove the excrement after your cat uses the litter box to prevent contamination of the rest of the litter.

Due to this factor, clumping litter has a longer litterbox life.

3.      Clumping litter has good odor control

Clumping litter traps your cat’s excrement in small firm clumps. It therefore absorbs the ammonia smell from your cat’s urine.

This keeps your cat’s litters box clean and smelling fresh for a long period of time.

4.      You do not need to chisel when cleaning the litterbox

Since clumping litter quickly sticks to liquid to form clumps, liquids do not seep to the bottom of the tray.

You therefore do not need to chisel out the liquids from the bottom of the litterbox if you are using clumping litter.

What are the cons of using clumping litter?

1.      Clumping litter has higher tracking

Clumping litter is made of small granules that tend to stick on your cats paws. As such, clumping litter has a higher level of tracking.

Furthermore, as your cat tries to clean their paws, they may ingest the litter which can lead to digestive problems.

2.      Clumping litter is dustier

Clumping litter usually comes in very small particles that have the tendency to stick to liquids. Small particles tend to contain a lot of dust.

As such, clumping litter may lead to respiratory problems in sensitive cats who are prone to respiratory problems.

3.      Clumping litter is expensive

Clumping litter tends to be more expensive when you buy it at first and may not be suitable for cat owners on a budget.

However, since you do not have to regularly change clumping litter, it tends to be cheaper in the long run.

Overview of non-clumping litter

Non-clumping litter is the other type of litter that is commonly used. This type of litter has a high absorbency and can absorb several times its weight of liquids.

Non-clumping litter however does not have the ability to bind or stick to liquids.

Several materials are used to make non-clumping litter including.

  1. Clay
  2. Crystals
  3. Wood
  4. Corn
  5. Paper such as recycled paper
  6. Grass

There are several non clumping litter options available in the market. Because non clumping litter is highly recommended of kittens, if you have kittens you can read here to see the best non clumping litter for kittens.

Pros: why use non-clumping litter

Non clumping litter is generally better because it has a wide safety margin. In fact even cat experts recommend it for kittens. Read our separate article to see why you should use non clumping litter for kittens.

1.      Non clumping litter has good odor control

Non clumping litter is highly absorbent. It has the ability to absorb large volumes of urine thus removing the odors that are associated with urine.

Additionally there are some brands have additional additives such as baking soda that help remove unpleasant odors from the litter.

2.      Non clumping litter is low maintenance

You do not need to constantly remove your cat’s excrement from the litter daily. With non clumping litter you simply let the litter sit until it is time to change it. As such this litter is low maintenance unlike clumping litter.

The litter will eventually get saturated with urine such that urine starts to pool at the bottom. When this happens, you will have to change and clean the entire litter box.

3.      Non-clumping litter is budget friendly

Typically, non clumping litter tends to be cheaper than clumping litter.

As such non clumping litter is budget friendly hence it is preferred by many cat owners.

4.      Non-clumping litter is less dusty

Non clumping litter comes in relatively larger granules which make it less dusty than clumping litter.

This cat litter is therefore safe for sensitive cats who are prone to respiratory problems

What are the cons of using non-clumping litter?

1.      Non clumping litter has less shelf life

As you do not have to remove your cats excrement on a regular basis, non clumping litter tends to become saturated with urine quickly.

You will therefore need to change the litter more frequently with non clumping litter than clumping litter.

2.      Non clumping litter is expensive in the long run

You will need to change the litter more frequently with non clumping litter. As such, although this litter is cheap to buy at first, it is expensive in the long run.

3.      Non clumping litter is difficult to maintain

You will need to change the litter completely and clean the litter box on a regular basis.

Since urine tends to sip and pool at the bottom of the litter, you may need to chisel the litter out of the litter box.

With some types of non clumping litter such as paper based litter, the litter may stick to the bottom of the litter box making cleaning difficult.

As such, due to the rigorous cleaning needed, some cat owners find non clumping litter difficult to maintain.

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