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Choosing earth-friendly cat litter

Green kitty

Turn your kitty green! Whether you're concerned about the earth or about your kitty's health, switching to a green litter might be a great idea.
Green kitty
Green kitty

Natural cat litter options

Turn your kitty green! Whether you're concerned about the earth or about your kitty's health, switching to a green litter might be a great idea.

What are green litters?

Green cat litters are made using natural ingredients, such as pine sawdust, cedar sawdust, corncob litter, wheat husks and silica gel pearls or crystals. There are even litters made using recycled paper, such as Yesterday's News cat litter.

While eco-friendly kitty litters are nicer to the environment, not all of them are an ideal choice for your pet, according to Dr. Justine Lee, chief veterinarian and pet expert for Wayfair. Some of them are less dusty, while others simply contain fewer chemicals — but you might have to try several brands and types to find which one fits your lifestyle.

Green kittyAll about kitty

Before you make the jump to a new product, remember that your cat might not be as excited as you are about the switch. And if your cat doesn't like the litter, he might end up urinating somewhere else in the house instead.

Ready to give it a try anyway? Lee recommends doing it gradually. "Cats do not tolerate sudden changes as they are creatures of habit," she says.

Keep in mind that many green litters (like newspaper and sawdust) don't clump, so you'll have to replace the litter more often, which can get expensive. If you buy a litter that does not absorb moisture well and the bottom of the tray stays wet and foul, your cat is less likely to go in frequently, according to Lee. "Cats that go into the litter box less often are more likely to develop signs of feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD)," Lee says.

The answer? Keep your eyes open when switching litters to make sure things go smoothly.

What's that smell?

For all the good things about green cat litters, there's one thing you won't get from them... great odor control. That's because the odor control in most cat litter comes from the addition of synthetic chemicals that eco-friendly litters don't have.

The solution? Scoop daily. If you have several cats, multiple litter boxes might be the answer — so the litter stays clean for longer. You can also add some baking soda to the litter box to help absorb the odor. Some green litters, like those made from pine, have a natural scent that will help mask other odors and make them a better choice if odor control is really important to you.

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