1/9/10 – Crystal litter advice sought!

Today, I’m a bit busier than I expected. I promise I’ll put up an entry full o’ Cookie goodness tomorrow (including a few videos!), but for today help a sister out, would you?

Mike and Gus’s new parents are considering switching from scoopable cat litter to the crystals. They asked me about it, but I’ve never actually used crystals instead of scoopable, so I have no good advice for them. This is where you come in: if you use crystals, tell me how it’s working for you. What kind do you use? Were there any issues when you switched from regular litter? Did you try it and have it not work out for you?

And I imagine there’s a process to go from scoopable litter to the crystals so the cats don’t flip out at the sudden change – give me some advice on how you do that, would you?

Thanks in advance, you guys – you’re the best!


1/9/10 – Crystal litter advice sought! — 26 Comments

  1. I’ve also only used scoopable, but I did switch brand/type once, and the vet told me to slowly mix them in together, to get the cats more used to it. Start with 75%/25%, majority being the old litter, see how that goes, the next week, try 50%/50% for a week, then 25%/75% and finally if they seem OK, and don’t have any issues, you can use the new type. It worked great for my two.

    Hope that helps, wish I knew more about the crystals to help more.

  2. If it’s litter smell that’s the issue, I’ve found that the Arm & Hammer scoopable litter is the best… and I’ve even tried the crystals. I have three cats and two litter boxes, and as long as I scoop every day or two, no one who comes into the apartment can smell the litter 🙂

    When I did try the crystals, though, I had very mild-mannered cats and just sprung it on them. They didn’t like, it, but they continued to use it. I didn’t like it, either, because while it did absorb urine smell, it did nothing for poop smell… so the house just smelled like poop! Of course, it’s been several years, and the crystal litter may have improved by now.

  3. I ate the crystals when mom brought them home and they made me have blood in my poop (I’m the cute one, not the smart one). Now she uses The World’s Best Cat Litter (that’s what it’s called) and even when I don’t bury my poop – which is most of the time – you can’t really tell. I don’t track it in my paws as much as I did with Feline Pine scoopable or S’wheat Scoop.

  4. Yep, we tried eating the crystals too. We switched to Swheat Scoop and we had Dad mix the new in slowly over time until we got used to it. Good luck…but watch they don’t eat it.

  5. I guess I am the only one so far that is a fan of the crystals. I like them cause they dehydrate the poop and the crystals absorb the urine, because of those two points I find that there is less of a smell issue. I do have one cat and the crystals do last quite a while too.

  6. I didn’t like the crystals. I have a champion pee’r and pooper so I needed something heavy duty. I’ve always been happiest with Fresh Step Multi Cat Scoopable.

  7. Thanks guys, those are helpful information. After reading your responses and doing some research online, I think we will not try crystal litter next, for fear that they might try to eat it, or hurt their paws. We are now considering a CatGenie – their new model seems to have solved a lot of the problems their old model had, according to amazon.com reviews, and it sounds more environmental friendly than traditional litter. Any of you have any experience with one of those gadgets?

  8. We tried crystals with my Bailey when he was younger and he tried to eat them 🙂 When he got older, we use it in our automatic litter box and it works great! The best brand out there is called Mimi Litter. A little bag is around five dollars and with two cats lasts a week. It doesn’t clump for pee, but you can scoop the poop out easily and it doesn’t smell until you need to change the entire thing.

  9. Thankfully, my kitties have no issues with changing litter – I can dump one out of the box, fill it with something different, and they aren’t fazed. I used the crystals for awhile. It worked ok, but like Chemmy I have a champion pee’r, and she has a history of UTIs, so I decided that clumping litter was a better option for us.

  10. I tried different brands of crystals a couple of years ago, because the World Best and Swheat Scoop just weren’t working out with four cats, and the cats HATED it. They would try to scratch in it and look up at me with a puzzled expression on their faces… guess they didn’t like the texture. I didn’t like that the poop smell was not absorbed by it either.

    When I tried Fresh Step and the likes, I almost gagged at the clay smell, so I ended up using Precious Cat clay scoopable, which works like a charm. The cats love it, it’s the most dust-free litter I’ve ever seen, and best of all with four cats in a two-room apartment everyone always marvels at the lack of cat smell 😉

  11. I had to wean a senior cat onto litter after being off it for a while due to major health problems. In going from no litter at all (she would just go on some paper towel in a box), what we did was line the box with paper towel and then put crystals in 1/4 of the box, pushed against the edge. We sprinkled it with some litter attractant, and that worked fine. We slowly (over 2 weeks) added more litter til there was just a couple of inches of paper towel on one side, then we took the paper away and left the crystals. That worked really well. Then, to get her from crystals onto what the other cats were using (World’s Best) we did the same thing. The two types of litter will mix in over time as the kitty uses it, but filling the box with one kind on one side and the other kind on the other side gives the kitty lots of opportunity to get used to it while still being able to go about her business comfortably.
    The littler attractant we’ve tried worked really well, in combination with the method described above. I highly recommend this method to anyone who wants to switch to a more environmentally friendly littler solution too 🙂

  12. I use only crystal for our 7 cats and I love it – so do the cats. I use Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Senior.

    Unlike other readers, the kittens never tried to eat the crystals (although I did start the kittens on plain non-clumping clay, like the books say, and they DID try to eat the clay… I think it’s the “babies put everything in their mouth” syndrome.)

    No odor (which is especially great in confined spaces, like a closet), easier clean up and pan changes and, if you miss a day scooping it’s no big deal. I have multiple pans and just switched over one pan at a time, instead of doing the mixing thing. No adjustment problems.

    I moved to the “Senior” type from regular crystals. My 15 year old had a UTI and I tried the “Senior” to get her to use the pan again (she quit using the pan when she had the infection)… it worked and I stayed with it after discovering lots of pluses.

    The “Senior” has much smaller crystals (kind of like sand) which all of the cats seem to prefer. The smaller crystals seem to last longer, too, which is nice since crystals are generally more expensive than scoopable. Finally, the smaller crystals are a breeze when it comes to scooping! Only negative is that I think it tracks a little more than the regular size crystals (about the same tracking as I had with scoopable).

    PetSmart has the best price I’ve found so far. http://www.preciouscat.com/precious-senior-p-12.html

  13. Pingback: Love & Hisses Love-and-hisses.com: your source for the cutest kittehs on the internet » 1/10/10 - The Cookies.

  14. I tried crystals when I lived in a tiny apartment, but didn’t care for them. The cats didn’t mind it, but I didn’t think it really made a difference with odor and I noticed lots of urine puddles in the bottom of the litter box. I switched back to an unscented scooping litter. I use Everclean, it’s a bit expensive, but I never smell cat odors.

  15. Don’t use the crystals – my cat liked them for awhile and then stopped going to bathroom – while we were away and ended up costing us $1000 in vet bills – and Nelson is now minus one kidney – the crystals are quite sharp and hurt his feet. We now use the World’s Best Kitty Litter which is 100% biodegradable and flushable!!! Its great….and the kitties love it.

  16. Hi,

    Some time after switching to crystals, my cat started pooping blood. Looks like she somehow swallowed a piece…

    It’s far too dangerous, in my opinion. Stay with regular clumping clay.

  17. We did the crystals at one time, didn’t even make a gradual change, my cats didn’t mind. For a single cat household, it’s a good solution, for 2 cats, you have to change the whole litter at least once every 2 weeks, and clean the litter box itself or it will stink. So it gets very expensive.

    Maybe they could try Yesterday’s news? I had to change it once a week with 2 cats, but there was no smell. I only stopped using it because I got a self-cleaning litter, which requires clumping litter.

  18. we used to use crystal litter (Mimi’s from Walmart) – and it was very good functionally: little odor, had to switch it out about every week or two, with a daily scooping of the dry stuff. However: after researching a bit, decided it was not healthy for the cat, so we switched back to scoopable (whatever they carry at Costco).

  19. All anyone needs to n=know about litter, Crystal or otherwise can be found at http://www.catinfo.org She outlines exactly why you shouldn’t subject your cats to Crystal (Silica Gel) litters.
    Don’t ever choose a litter for the convenience of the human, think about how clean you like your own bathroom and whether or not you would like to have dried urine crystals hanging out in your toilet for weeks or months. Litter type should be chosen for the ability to EFFECTIVELY and COMPLETELY remove the waste not for ease of use.
    Crystal Litters are made of Silica Gel which should not be eaten by anyone or anycat! It says so right on the package.

    For the record; Worlds Best Cat Litter or Dr. Elsey’s are my favorites.

  20. I’ve heard bad things about the crystal… I use Swheat, which is clumping but made from wheat and it is wonderful — I have three males, two litter boxes and it works fantastic!

    Dunlap TN

  21. We are a bit late but we use the crystals as a mix with regular litter because the cat’s weren’t huge fans of walking on them but they seem to really like the mix. And it works great because you have the crystals for the absorbing power and the regular to make the crystals less pointy. I know that there are a round version out there (at least there used to be) so that could prevent that problem (I just haven’t seen them in a long time). I haven’t had any trouble with anyone trying to eat them.

  22. Thanks for all of the responses. Right now we’re using a pretty standard large-size litterbox with Petco clumping litter, about 4 inches or so deep. Mike scratches at the sides constantly, so it’s pretty clear he wants a bigger box.

    We started mixing baking soda in when we top up the litterbox – we’re using the method advocated at catinfo.org; fill deep, clean thoroughly, top off. This helps a lot with the smell issue, although the diet change to primarily wet food has temporarily worsened things.

    On the table right now is some kind of sifting solution, a Cat Genie, and some kind of flushable biodegradable litter, such as The World’s Best Cat Litter. I’d really like the Cat Genie to work – I am very thorough while cleaning their box but I worry that I can’t get it clean enough.

  23. Robyn, I loved the pictures of you under all those cats.
    So sweet, and just what I needed to see.Today I had to put my nearly 18 year old girl to sleep. I’ve had her since she was 3 weeks old. She hurt her spine in some way Saturday night (my crazy girl was still jumping up on things and didn’t realize she was old) and Sunday morning couldn’t walk on her back legs. Rather than experiment with steroids and such, we decided to let her go today, as she was in pain. She had a bowl of chicken soup (her favorite) before we left for the vets, and I laid down with her for an hour.She crossed the Bridge at noon today, at our vet’s office. I know the comments are full of talk about kitty litter, and I don’t mean to be a downer–my Abby had a great life– but I just wanted to remind everyone…just cherish them. All they need from us is love, warmth and food. Nothing fancy, just love them.

  24. We tried a slow shift to crystals with our four kitties, and while the cats made the change okay, I found that my house REALLY smelled like pee, pretty much as soon as all the old litter was gone. Not just a faint pee smell, but, like Crazy Cat Lady Lives Here With Her Nine Hundred Feral Cats.

    Also, it’s kind of disturbing to… well, when you wake up and there’s a teeny sprinkle of cat litter on your pillow, you can fool yourself into thinking it’s random dirt. When it’s a bunch of reeking little yellow pee crystals, it’s very difficult to convince yourself that you didn’t ingest cat pee candy at some point during the night.

    We’ve used almost everything, but keep coming back to Maxx Scoopable Multi-Cat formula. We only have four litterboxes, so as long as we scoop and replace every two days (scoop the clumps, throw in a small scoop of fresh litter), we’re only doing complete litter changes every ten to 14 days, sometimes longer.