Cat Litter 101: Everything You Must Know for a Happy Feline

Caring for a feline friend involves more than just feeding and cuddling. An essential part of cat care revolves around their litter needs. This comprehensive guide on Cat Litter 101 seeks to provide all the vital information you need to keep your cat comfortable, healthy and content.

Understanding Your Cat Litter Needs

Cats are known for their cleanliness and particularity about their litter habits. Therefore, providing a clean cat litter tray is crucial for their well-being. Before diving into the various aspects of cat litter, let’s understand what a cat litter box is.

What is a Cat Litter Box?

A cat litter box, sand tray or pan is a container where your cat will do their business. The material used inside the tray, known as cat litter, helps control odours, absorb urine and clump their faeces. Cats generally take to using the box instinctively with minimal training.

The concept of cat litter dates back to the late 1940s when Edward Lowe developed “kitty litter.” He provided a neighbour with small chunks of clay to use in her cat’s litter box, which was a huge success and led to the widespread use of cat litter.

How Many Litter Boxes Do You Need?

The number of litter boxes required is directly proportional to the number of cats in your household plus one extra. For instance, if you have one cat, ideally, you should have two litter boxes, and so on. This ensures that each cat has its own space to eliminate without feeling stressed or anxious.

If your house spans multiple levels, it’s advisable to have at least one litter box on each floor, regardless of the number of cats. Offering a clean and accessible litter box at all times reduces the chances of accidents around the house.

Choosing the Right Litter Box

Selecting a suitable litter box can be challenging, given the variety of available options. Here are a few factors to consider when choosing a cat litter box:

  1. Size: Your cat should be able to fit comfortably in the litter box, with enough room to turn and dig. The length of the litter box should match or exceed the length of your cat from nose to tail.
  2. Entry Point: Consider your cat’s mobility. If your cat is older or has joint issues, a box with a low front entry may be more comfortable.
  3. Covered or Uncovered: Some cats prefer a wrapped box for privacy, while others may be comfortable with an open one. It’s best to observe your cat’s behaviour to decide on this.
  4. Multiple Cats: If you have more than one cat, ensure you have enough cat litter trays to accommodate all of them comfortably.
  5. Cleaning Ease: Choose a litter box that is easy to clean. Some models come with a built-in liner, making cleaning quicker and easier.

Once you have narrowed down the type of litter that suits your cat, you can compare the brands that offer that type. You can look at price, quality, availability, and customer reviews. Here are some of the best brands that you can consider:

InterSand Odourlock Cat Litter Baby Powder 12kg

This premium clay litter uses patented technology to neutralise ammonia formation and eliminate odours for over 40 days. It is made from 100% pure and natural clay sourced from Wyoming mines. It forms small, strong clumps that are easy to scoop and dispose of. It is also dust-free and gentle on your cat’s paws.

Adult Super Clump Cat Litter -15kg

This is another high-quality clay litter that clumps tightly and lasts up to four times longer than other litters. It has a moisture-activated, all-natural fragrance that ensures total odour control. It is also easy to clean and 99% dust-free.

Go Natural! Lavender Clumping Pea Husk Cat Litter 5.6kg from Catit

This eco-friendly litter is made from sustainable and renewable resources such as pea fibres. It has a natural look, feel, and smell and clumps naturally without dust. It is also highly absorbent, up to 300% of its weight. It is a safe and planet-friendly litter choice for your cat.

Ultra+ Clumping Litter 5 Litres from Catsan

This synthetic litter is made from excellent clay granules that absorb liquid and form small, compact clumps. It is designed to clean and dry your litter tray, with less odour and waste. It is also 99% dust-free and de-dusted for your cat’s comfort.

It is important to use a finer, non-clumping litter for kittens to ensure they can still bury their waste without the risk of ingestion.

Setting Up the Litter Box

Once you have chosen the correct litter box and litter for your cat, it’s time to set it up. Here are a few tips:

  • Location: Place the litter box in a quiet, low-traffic area where your cat won’t be disturbed.
  • Accessibility: Make sure the litter box is easily accessible for your cat.
  • Distance from Food and Water: Keep the litter box away from your cat’s food and water bowls. Cats prefer to eat and drink away from their litter box.
  • Number of Boxes: Remember the ‘number of cats plus one’ rule when setting up the boxes.
  • Litter Depth: Most cats prefer one to two inches of litter depth.

Maintaining the Litter Box

Maintaining a clean litter box is essential for your cat’s health and happiness. Here’s how to keep it in top condition:

  1. Daily Scooping: Remove clumps and solid waste from the litter box daily. This helps control odours and keeps the box clean.
  2. Weekly Cleaning: Once a week, empty the litter box, clean it with warm water and a mild detergent, dry it thoroughly, and refill it with fresh litter.
  3. Replacing Litter: Replace the entire litter at least once a week. If you’re using clumping litter, you may need to replace it more frequently.
  4. Monitoring Your Cat’s Usage: Monitor how often your cat uses the litter box. Any sudden changes in frequency could indicate a health issue.
  5. Health Risks: Poorly maintained litter boxes can lead to urinary tract infections and other health issues in cats. Plus, they can increase your risk of contracting diseases like cat-scratch disease and toxoplasmosis.


Caring for a cat’s litter needs may not be the glamorous part of pet ownership, but it’s crucial for their well-being. By selecting the correct litter box, using the right type of litter, and maintaining it properly, you can create a comfortable and stress-free environment for your feline friend. After all, a happy, healthy cat equals a happy, contented cat parent.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cat Litter:

  1. What is cat litter?

Cat litter fills the box where your cat does its business. It helps to absorb liquid and odour from your cat’s urine and faeces, making it easier to clean and dispose of. Cat litter also provides a comfortable and sanitary surface for your cat to dig and bury its waste, an instinct for cats.

  1. Which type of litter is best for cats?

There is no definitive answer to this question, as cats may have different preferences and needs regarding litter. Some factors to consider when choosing a litter are the texture, smell, dust level, clumping ability, absorbency, odour control, cost, and environmental impact. You may need to try different types of litter until you find the one your cat likes and uses consistently.

  1. What is the reason for cat litter?

Cat litter is a product that was invented to provide a convenient and hygienic way for cat owners to manage their cat’s waste. Before cat litter was designed, people used sand, dirt, ashes, or newspaper to fill their cat’s litter box. However, these materials could have been more effective at absorbing liquid and odour and were messy and complicated to dispose of.

In 1947, a businessman named Edward Lowe came up with the idea of using clay granules as cat litter, which proved to be much more absorbent and odour-controlling than the previous materials. Since then, cat litter has evolved into various forms and formulas, using different materials and technologies to improve its performance and appeal.

  1. What happens if my cat eats litter?

Eating litter may cause digestive upset in your cat, such as vomiting, diarrhoea, or constipation. Clumping litter, in particular, can be dangerous if ingested especially for kittens, as it can form hard lumps in your cat’s stomach or intestines, leading to blockages or dehydration. If you suspect your cat has eaten litter, contact your veterinarian immediately.

To prevent your cat from eating litter, you should provide fresh water and food and avoid using litter containing fragrances, chemicals, or additives that may attract your cat’s curiosity. You should also monitor your cat’s litter box habits and check for signs of illness or discomfort.

  1. How often should I change cat litter?

The frequency of changing cat litter depends on the type and quality of the litter, the number and size of the cats using the litter box, and the personal preference of the cat owner. As a general rule, you should scoop out the clumps and solids from the litter box at least once a day and replace the entire litter every one to two weeks.

It would help to wash the litter box with mild soap and water every time you change the litter and dry it thoroughly before refilling it with fresh litter. Changing the litter regularly will help to keep the litter box clean and odour-free and prevent your cat from avoiding or rejecting the litter box.

  1. Does cat litter smell?

Cat litter does not usually smell unless it is scented or contains additives that may produce a fragrance. However, cat litter can become smelly over time as it absorbs the odour from your cat’s urine and faeces. The smell of cat litter can vary depending on the type and quality of the litter, the frequency of cleaning and changing the litter, and the diet and health of your cat.

To reduce the smell of cat litter, you should choose a litter with reasonable odour control, such as clumping, silica gel, or biodegradable litter. You should also scoop out the clumps and solids from the litter box daily and change the entire litter regularly. You can also use baking soda, charcoal, or deodorisers to neutralise the odour or place the litter box in a well-ventilated area.