2-1-15: Product Review – Tidy Cat Lightweight Instant Action Litter

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Way way way back at the end of October, Andrew emailed and asked if I’d be interested in giving tbe new Tidy Cat Instant Action Lightweight litter a try. I had just been complaining to Fred about having to carry heavy clay litter upstairs to the foster rooms, and how my approaching-elderly back wasn’t going to put up with that for too many more years. So the offer came at the perfect time, and I told Andrew I’d love to give it a try.

I got the litter in mid-November (I think), and because I just can’t get out of my own way sometimes, I put off trying the new litter until after Christmas. Finally, I emptied one of the litter boxes in the foster room, and filled it with the Tidy Cat Instant Action Lightweight litter.

Here’s a video showing the dust level.

YouTube link.

For comparison purposes, here’s the video I made to show the dust in Fresh Step Lightweight Extreme litter (it’s horrifying).

YouTube link.

And the video I made showing the dust comparison between three different kinds of litter:

YouTube link.

So the dust level on the new Tidy Cat litter wasn’t bad at all.

It’s not an unscented litter, you should know, and at first the fragrance of the litter seemed overwhelming to me. After a little while, it seemed to dissipate, and wasn’t too bad.

But would they use it? And how bad would the tracking be? Because after all, Molly had proven to be quite the litter flinging gal.

YouTube link.

(Side note: Awww, Jethro and TC, snoopervising!)

It took a couple of days, but they finally gave it a try, and after about a week, they actually seemed to prefer that to the other litter.

I don’t have any pictures of the scooping of the litter boxes, but I can report to you that the Tidy Cat litter clumps hard and holds together well. It’s kind of odd to scoop through lightweight litter when you’re used to scooping regular-weight litter, because the scoop goes through the litter much more easily, and the pee and poop clumps seem oddly light. That’s because the litter itself is lighter, of course, but it’s hard not to think that something’s wrong at first!

And the tracking? I was surprised to find that the tracking wasn’t any worse than regular-weight litter. I mean, my litter boxes in the foster room are set up like this, anyway:

So if the boot trays don’t catch the litter, the washable chenille rugs will. I still have to sweep the actual foster room (the litter boxes are in the closet) every couple of days, but that’s true no matter what kind of litter I use.

(Side note: that’s the amount of litter tracked out after about 24 hours. I move the litter boxes off the boot trays and dump the scattered litter back into the litter boxes almost every morning; sometimes I skip a day depending on my laziness level. Also, that brown thing in the lower left of the picture, on the corner of the left boot tray is NOT poop, it’s a toy. In case you were wondering.)

As for the odor control? I’m going to give it two thumbs up. Just to put it in perspective, I check the litter boxes every time I go into the foster room, and if they’ve been used, I give ’em a quick scoop. But in the past, I’ve been able to smell litter box odors in the hallway outside the room. Now, unless I walk into the room as a kitten is actually pooping in the litter box, I don’t smell anything.

I can tell you that I’ve completely switched the foster room litter boxes over to the Tidy Cat litter, and will continue to use it. I’m not planning to switch the permanent residents’ litter over, though, because last time I attempted it, they did NOT react well. They’re (mostly) old and set in their litterbox ways, so I’m not going to mess with what works.

So, in summation: I like the litter, it’s low-dust, and it clumps and holds down odors really well, and the fosters have no problem using it. The only thing I don’t personally like is that it’s not unscented, but you can’t have everything, right?

Thanks to Andrew, who gave me the chance to try something new, and was exceedingly patient while waiting for me to get around to posting a review!

The litter was provided to me free of charge; the review is my honest opinion.

You can find Tidy Cat Instant Action Lightweight at most stores; I’ve bought mine at Target and Walmart and am pretty sure I spotted it at PetSmart.

Edited to add: Someone just mentioned to me on Facebook that she’s read that there’s styrofoam in this litter. I’ve examined it and I don’t think I see styrofoam in there, but now I’m concerned. I’ve emailed Andrew to ask, and will update this when I hear back from him.

Edited 2/4 to add: I heard back from Andrew, who said:

Sorry for the delay in my response! I had to check with my team to make sure I provided you with the correct answer. Tidy Cats LightWeight is made with a revolutionary combination of clay and natural lightweight minerals and does not contain Styrofoam.


A better blogger would have snapped pictures of kittens in the litter box. I, however, will post this picture of Pat chasing her tail again. Hey, there are litter boxes in the video, so it counts!

YouTube link.


You guys, come on. We need to snap a picture for the cover of your next album!

Okay, well, no. No one’s even looking at the camera.

If only Simon was actually looking at the camera instead of at the person holding the camera.

That’s a little better. I guess we’re going for casual.

Simon in the front looking all emo, Garfunkel in the back looking blurry and mysterious. Yeah, we can work with that.

(“Use a sharp tooth, Ruth”)

*Yes, I am fully aware that “50 Ways to Leave your Lover” is not Simon & Garfunkel (though a little of the ol’ G-funk would have made the song better, if you ask me). I don’t caaaaaaaaaare. It was too perfect.


2014: No entry.
2013: I believe that the only correct response to your question would be a Miss Piggy-style β€œHMPH!”
2012: Sugarbutt gets in the middle and decides to show Sally who the boss is.
2011: Corbie’s all “Why you gotta be up in my space, man?”
2010: Where’d they come from? What are they doing here?
2009: No entry.
2008: A picture of each cat with his/ her name and nicknames, and what they’re doing in our house.
2007: Maybe she IS part cougar.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.



2-1-15: Product Review – Tidy Cat Lightweight Instant Action Litter — 17 Comments

  1. “Use a sharp tooth, Ruth”

    That’s ok, I didn’t need that coffee anyway. *wipes keyboard*

  2. There are often coupons for that litter in the Sunday fliers, too!!

    Great album cover!!! πŸ™‚

  3. IF I ever get another cat (I’ve learned to never say never!) I would definitely use the light-weight Tidy Cat litter. One of the problems I developed was toting in 25 lb bags of litter for my cats, which nearly killed my back. I have 5 herniated discs, so it was always difficult. The lighter-weight would have been so much easier for me. Thanks for the videos and review!

    • I’m wondering if I just got a good batch of the stuff. I wouldn’t call it dust-free, but it’s not bad dust-wise.

  4. If you shop at Target and you use Cartwheel, there’s a coupon for 5% off Tidy Cats lightweight litter (there’s also a coupon for 5% off the regular Tidy Cats litters).

    Edited to add that they expire on 2/7.

  5. Thanks for the litter review. I like all the features mentioned except that it is NOT unscented. I am using a Companion brand right now. If anyone finds something that is UNscented I would love to know about it. Companion isn’t bad but I LOVED the Cat’s Pride stuff.
    Oh and going off the S&G songs…how about this lyric for a pic “I got up to wash my face, and I come back to bed, someone’s takin’ my place.” (Now you need a kitten named Cecelia maybe?)

    • Ha – I had told Fred that if a girl kitten showed up to be added in with these two, I’d name her Cecelia, but someone asked if there was a Carly Simon to go with them, which I think is even better. πŸ™‚

  6. Robyn, this is the newer TC lightweight, right? How does the smell compare to the first TC Lightweight? We bought the first one when it first came out, and I LOVED LOVED LOVED everything about it except OMG the smell. The cats were hesitant to use it, preferring unscented traditional litter. I wrote to them about it and got a pat “thank you for your comment.” I’ve been afraid to try this new one because it still says it’s scented. We’re using Cats Pride lightweight unscented, but it’s proving difficult to reliably find and is actually heavier than TC. Plus, they always have TC at Target, so I’d love to switch if they fix the smell issue. Thanks for your reviews, BTW–they’re really helpful!

    • Yes, this is the brand-new lightweight. The fragrance is really perfumey, and was overwhelming when I first filled the litter boxes, but it dissipates fairly quickly. I hardly notice the fragrance now, though occasionally I’ll smell it and think “What am I smelling?” I don’t think it’s the best fragrance in the world, but it’s something I can live with, since it doesn’t stay overpowering. (I should add that my sister-in-law is super sensitive to smells, and probably would loathe this stuff, but… she doesn’t get a say. πŸ™‚ )

      • I wonder if it would be a good idea to open the bag (in the garage) and let the smell dissipate for a day or two before you needed to use it….???

  7. We use the lightweight and never really noticed a perfume smell and our cats love it other than the Maine coon who uses a breeze system. We also use arm and hammers clump and seal in one for the boy to dig around in. But man the light weight is amazing to haul around lol

  8. Your experience with this brand of cat litter is almost exactly the opposite of mine. I felt it became extremely dustier as the days passed, and odor control was practically nil. I hated it so much that I dumped and replaced it before it was time. I kind of got the sense my cats didn’t care for it, either, but were too polite to show it.

  9. Hey, Robyn, if this litter turns out to contain styrofoam, I’m sure you can work out a system with those heavier bags of litter. You could, for instance, have a couple of medium-size buckets and decant the litter into them. Then each time you foupstairs, you can carry one up. Fred, too. But I know you’ll think of something far more semsible and clever. Also, you’re not very old, you know! (I don’t think Simon and Garfunkel will be singing “Mrs, Robinson” while looking pointedly in your direction anytime soon.)