How Does Non-Clumping Litter Work? Pros & Cons In Comparison to Clumping Cat Litter

Before you understand how does non-clumping litter work, it’s essential to know what ‘clumping’ means. Clumping litter is a highly absorbent and dusty litter. The dusty little wraps around the cat waste, making the cat waste scoopable and easier to spot. So you don’t have to throw away the whole litter each time your cat poops.

Now, in comparison to that, ‘non-clumping’ litter is an alternative to messy clumping. With non-clumping, there are little to no dust grains involved. It’s also not very absorbent so the litter doesn’t coat the cat waste.

The litter particles in a non-clumping litter are larger yet more condensed. And since they do not coat the cat waste, there’s also less contamination inside the litter box. This is good for cats who are sensitive to chemicals, airborne particles, or have allergies.

Let’s understand the basics and how non-clumping litter works…

How Does Non-Clumping Litter Work?

1. Appearance

What do both look like?

Clumping litter has finer grains of dust that coat the cat waste right after. In appearance and the purpose of the finer grains, clumping litter is superior to non-clumping litter. The former is faster to scoop out because of the higher visibility.

You can quickly detect where the cat waste is and you don’t have to clean out the whole litter box each time your cat poops. Due to its grainy and lumpy appearance, you can keep litter for a longer time and refill it once it starts to look emptier.

Non-clumping litter, on the other hand, has thicker and larger grains. When your cat pees or poops, the litter soaks the waste at the bottom of the litter and traps it there. The top layer of the litter looks relatively cleaner but the bottom needs to be chiseled out once a day or else the litter box may start to stink.

2. Cleaning

Unlike clumping litter, you would need a slightly sharper tool to clean non-clumping litter. Clumping litter stays drier and since it forms into clumps, it’s easier to scoop out.

Non-clumping litter traps the cat waste at the bottom of the litter box. Be it liquid or solid waste, it hardens over time. With a chisel, you can scoop through the slightly hardened waste.

Non-clumping litter demands more time and effort in keeping the litter box clean than clumping litter.

3. Contamination

Clumping litter effectively coats the cat waste so no toxic seeps out of the waste. Cat poop releases harmful bacteria when exposed to air for some time. This harmful bacteria or other such unwanted toxins, including TOXOPLASMOSIS, may cause sensitivity or allergy.

Even if not that, it is generally an unsanitary litter environment for both you and your cat.

Clumping litter, by coating the cat waste, prevents this from floating in the air inside and around the litter box. Non-clumping litter does not. Since the cat waste sinks to the bottom of the box, it’s still exposed to air, so it can easily spread to all corners of the box and contaminate the entire litter box.

4. Odor

As you must have already assumed, non-clumping litter emits more odor than clumping litter. It’s not as effective and fast-acting as clumping litter to contain strong pee or poop odor. And if you have more than one cat, you know how strong the odor of pee can be!

For better odor control, choose clumping litter instead.

5. Material

Another significant contrast between clumping litter which is made of plant extracts or corn and non-clumping litter made of clay is that the former is more eco-friendly.

Some clumping litter made of plant extracts or corn can be flushed down the toilet. But only when you scoop out the cat waste. Non-clumping litter (clay), on the other hand, will clog up your toilet.

Also, the clay that is used for non-clumping litter is extracted from the earth and may also contain silica dust that is a toxic substance for both your cat and you.

When you clean out a non-clumping litter, you need to throw the waste in a bag and it’s taken to landfill sites. It’s not environmentally friendly at all.

Some Advantages of Using Non-Clumping Litter

1. Less Messy

Have you seen your cat burying their pee or poop in the litter box? Cats do that instinctively to mark their territory and/or to play.

This is a common phenomenon in a house with more than one cat.

And some cats get into the habit of excessively digging and throwing the litter out of the litter box if the box is not large enough. This can mean more clean-up!

To solve such an issue, non-clumping litter is the best solution. Your cat will be unable to throw the dirt outside the litter box because non-clumping litter has thicker and stickier granules that are difficult to dig like sand or grains.

2. More Affordable

Non-clumping cat litter is less expensive to buy in larger quantities than clumping litter. Materials like silica crystal litters are of the clumping sort so they absorb cat waste better and control odor 100%. Hence, they are more expensive. Another expensive alternative that is also more eco-friendly is biodegradable litter.

 Final Thoughts

It all boils down to how efficient and convenient you want the litter box to be. If you find more use for non-clumping litter, you can use it in place of clumping.

Non-clumping litter may cause a pool or unpleasant deposit of cat waste inside the litter box, making it harder to clean. Many people who use non-clumping litter complain that it smells which further discourages cats from entering the litter box.

Clumping litter lasts longer than non-clumping. And even though it’s more expensive, it stays clean longer, features effective odor control, and you’ll be able to scoop only a tiny portion of litter without needing to clean out the whole litter box. This is something that you have to do more often if you buy non-clumping litter.

Lisa Thompson

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