The litter material also satisfies a cat’s instinctive desire to use an easily dug material. The most common material is clay, although recycled paper «pellets» and silica-based «crystal» variants are also used. Sometimes, when an owner wishes to stimulate the cat’s natural instincts, natural dirt is used. 2 billion industry consuming 5 billion pounds of mined clay annually. Clay litter is much more absorbent than sand and is manufactured into large grains or clumps of clay to make it less likely to be tracked from the litter box. Today, cat litter can be obtained quite economically at a variety of retail stores.
The cat-box that the litter is poured into can give off a strong odor. It is recommended that it is kept in an area in the home that is not often used, such as a basement or laundry room. There are special types of litter to cover or lessen the odor. If kept in room with an intake vent, an air freshener may be added on the furnace filter to isolate the odor from the rest of the house. Subsequently in America, clumping bentonite was developed in 1984 by biochemist Thomas Nelson. This solid clumped material can be scooped out and disposed of without changing the entire contents of the litter box. Because of the clumping effect, the manufacturers usually instruct not to flush clumping litters down the toilet, because it could clog it.
Clumping clay cat litters are natural products. Each year, over 2 million tons of cat litter, or approximately 100,000 truckloads, ends up in landfills in the U. Primarily this is not biodegradable or renewable and adds unnecessarily to the waste burden. Some pet owners prefer biodegradable litters due to its friendliness to the environment. Other cat owners can be attracted to the biodegradable litters because of their flushability or deodorizing properties. Asthmatic cats may sometimes benefit from the reduced dust in some forms of biodegradable litter. Biodegradable litter packaged specifically for cats tends to be more expensive than traditional clay litters, so cost is often not a positive factor in their selection, however, one of these, namely pine pellets can be purchased from regional feed stores that normally carry 40 lb bags for horse bedding at a significant cost reduction, often cheaper than the cheapest clumping litter.
Most biodegradable litters last longer than the equivalent size of clay or clumping clay litters. Grain-based animal or poultry feed also provides an economical alternative to products marketed specifically as cat litter. Also, most of these forms of litter are recycled from human usage and are thus reusing a waste product as opposed to drawing clay from mines. A cat using a silica filled litter box. Notice the raised sides of the box which reduces spillage of litter. 30 days for one healthy normal weight cat. It is important to lightly stir the crystals daily while scooping the solid waste, otherwise urine can pool in the box.
Today many different litter solutions exist ranging in price from a few dollars to over one hundred dollars. Inexpensive models may simply be an open rectangular pan with a scoop, while more elaborate models may be covered, looking similar to pet carrying cages with open doorways, providing some allegedly desired privacy to the pet, keeping the litter out of sight, and possibly reducing litter tracking. To facilitate emptying and cleaning a litter box, liners may be used. Some have a handle so they can be moved easily. Some models incorporate a motor and combing device to automatically remove excrement from the litter. Other models are hidden inside household furniture, such as side tables to blend into the home. An open litter pan is generally the most basic and least expensive design.
Open litter pans allow for maximum ventilation which may increase cat comfort. Also, they show the waste most visibly which may encourage owners to scoop the box more frequently. Some designs include a detachable rim to help catch litter when the animal kicks to bury their waste. A variety of covered litter boxes exist that are commonly available and moderately priced. Many are constructed out of plastic and feature a plastic hood or dome that covers the litter pan and litter. The pet enters through an opening in the cover.
Pet owners lift the cover off the tray to scoop, clean and change the litter. Covered litter boxes may reduce the amount of litter that is tracked outside the box and may address issues of pets eliminating waste over the walls of a litter pan. Top entry litter boxes have an opening on the top of the box and require the pet to climb on top of the box and into a hole to eliminate waste. While cats in good physical health, even kittens, have no problems accessing these boxes, they are generally not recommended for elderly or obese cats. Top-entry designs have the added benefit of deterring other pets or young children from the contents of the litter box. Some designs feature a grate on top which allows litter from a cat’s paws to fall back into the box, reducing litter tracking. Self-cleaning litter boxes employ technology that automates the litter box emptying procedure. Some models have electric combing mechanisms that automatically scoop the clumps out of the litter box into a sealed, disposable-bag-lined container after the animal has used it. These models use a pressure pad or an infrared light to determine when the cat has left the box and will comb the box after so many minutes have passed, to avoid disturbing the cat.