In recent years, there has been a considerable expansion in the different types of litter products available to cat owners. New cat owners as well as veteran owners are a little overwhelmed by the different choices available.

A number of products have been put out in recent years by fortune 500 type companies, trying to get a piece of the litter market. Their hallmarks seem to be fancy packaging, very inexpensive material source, heavy advertising, and high profit margins. When you buy these products, you may take pride in the fact that you have contributed substantially to the financial success of these large corporations. Commodity prices for corn = 7 cents/Lb., wheat = 10 cents/Lb. Source:, Feb, 2015.

For perspective, we repeat the tagline from our home page: Crystal Litter is not some high-profit low-performing litter made from by-products such as ground corn/cobs, ground wheat, pine shavings, old newspapers or walnut shells. These odor destroying crystals are made from quartz sand, a natural earth mineral, and are produced through an advanced manufacturing technology.

There are basically four different categories of cat litter:

  • Clay
  • Clumping
  • Crystals & Crystal blends *(one bag lasts one cat one month claim, see* below)
  • Alternative

CLAY is the old original. This is the most economical decision. This is basically absorbent clay dirt.

  • Primary benefit: Economy
  • Drawbacks: Lack of Odor control, Dusty, tracking, frequent changing, weight used per month high. Contains crystalline silica, a suspected carcinogenic.

CLUMPING (scoopable) is specially processed clay that forms clumps when liquid is added to it. The clumps and droppings are scooped and discarded leaving behind mostly fresh litter. Clumping litters account for over 60% of all litter usage.

  • Primary benefits: More odor control than clay, less lbs per month, change less, convenient.
  • Drawbacks: Some tracking, some dust. Contains crystalline silica, a suspected carcinogenic.

CRYSTALS are a relatively new product whose primary benefit is super odor control. These crystals contain millions of microscopic pores, which exhale moisture from cat urine. Crystals are essentially processed sand and are environmentally friendly.

  • Primary Benefits: Super Odor control. Contains no crystalline silica (a suspected carcinogenic). Lasts an average cat three weeks or more (but you should scoop daily).
  • Drawbacks: Slightly more expensive than clumping on a monthly basis. Crystals should be stirred about regularly to maximize useful life.

*One bag lasts one cat one month. This claim is made by almost every crystal litter out there. It works like this: First of all, the litterbox should be filled to a minimum depth of 1.5 Inches to (ideally) two inches (8 cm) for the crystals to function optimally. So, if you have a small litter box and a small cat or kitten, one bag will last a small cat or a kitten about one month. For a great big cat with a great big bladder, it will be less. Also, individual habits vary widely in regard to how often the litter is changed. Damp environments, such as a bathroom where the shower is used often, shorten the useful life of the crystals. So the 1 bag 1 cat 1 month claim is affected by many variables and is true only in ideal circumstances.

The more accurate way to state the case would be to say that if the litter box is filled to a depth of two inches (using more than a 4Lb. bag in most cases) and is stirred about regularly, it will last the average cat about a month, and will give you far superior results in terms of an odor free home environment for your family, guests and pets.

BEWARE! CRYSTAL BLEND, MIX, etc. – A marketing gimmick. These are usually clumping litters with about 5% added crystals. They should be categorized according to their main component. They do not function like crystal litters. Any litter called “Crystal Litter” should contain 100% SiO² Crystals.

ALTERNATIVE LITTERS. There are many choices here. Alternative litters are made from various products, such as wheat, corn/cobs, pine shavings, charcoal, recycled newspapers, walnut shells and various other substances. Some of these litters have been treated to provide some minimal clumping properties, but the clumps are fragile and disintegrate readily, thus defeating the benefit that comes from clumping clay litters.

Because there is such a variety, you are urged to investigate further any products that appeal to you. Most have a website.

  • Primary benefits: Ecology and usually contain no crystalline silica, a suspected carcinogenic.
  • Drawbacks: Varies. Generally don’t perform as well as clumping or crystal. Grain products sometimes go “buggy.”

FINALLY, WHAT IS LITTERBOX ODOR?? Think about this. This odor is caused by the molecules that emanate from the cat’s eliminations. Your sense of smell tries to protect you by letting you know that you are inhaling these odorous molecules. You do NOT want your family and guests inhaling these continuously over their lifetimes. It has to have an effect. Get the benefit of Fresh Magic’s space age technology. Here’s a short testimonial that sums it up:

Thanks! LOVE THIS STUFF!!! People come to our house and don’t know we have a cat until they see and hear her! And the litter box is on the main floor!
–Edwina A., Minnesota