8-24-14 – Fresh Step® Lightweight Extreme Litter

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Note: the Fresh Step® Lightweight Extreme Litter was given to me free of charge; all opinions in this post are completely honest and mine alone.

I was given the chance to review the new Fresh Step® Lightweight Extreme Litter, and I jumped at it. As much litter as I sling around here on a regular basis, 40 pounds at a time, I figured that my back would thank me if I lightened the load a little. Fresh Step used to be my go-to litter until fairly recently (about a year ago, I think), when they apparently changed the formula, and the amount of dust that floated up every time a litter box was used or scooped sent me searching for a better solution.

I received the litter in a box with a feather boa and a feather cat teaser – both of which were hits with the cats, but while I managed to get a picture of the box of litter, the boa has been dragged under the couch by Alice, and the feather teaser is probably under there as well, so you’ll have to use your imagination.

First thing up: the video of me pouring the litter into a clean litter box.

YouTube link.

To compare, this is the video I did about a year ago, which compared Fresh Step Odor Shield (non-lightweight) litter to Tidy Cat Lightweight, and Dr. Elsey’s Cat Attract.

YouTube link.

So, it’s a really dusty litter. I had hoped that once the dust settled from the initial pour, that careful scooping would keep the dust from coming up in a cloud like that. But this is REALLY dusty litter, and no matter how careful I was, I was always enveloped in a cloud of dust. And this litter is perfumed, so I’d walk around all day smelling like the litter fragrance, and it wasn’t really a smell I cared for (though better than smelling like cat poop, I suppose!)

I put the litter in a litter box in the laundry room, one that gets regular use by the cats. The 15.4 pound box holds enough litter to fill one of my litter boxes, and it usually takes 20 pounds of Precious Cat litter to do that, so that’s a definite up side to the lightweight litter.

The cats used the litter box with no problem at all – I’m VERY lucky that the cats will usually use whatever I put in the litter boxes – and it didn’t get any more or less use than it usually did with Precious Cat litter in it. I never noticed any smell of urine or feces from that litter box, and it’s entirely possible that it did a better job of holding down the smell after Sugarbutt had used it than our regular litter does.

However, I could only stand the dust and the fragrance for so long, so after a week and a half of use, I dumped the litter and refilled the box with my usual litter. It’s entirely possible that this litter will work for someone else who has fewer litter boxes and more of a tolerance for the dust and the fragrance, but for me it’s definitely a no-go.

The information:

Fresh Step® Lightweight Extreme Litter is 30 lighter weight.

It comes in four sizes:

15.4 lb (equivalent to 22 lbs of regular clay), around $11.49
20.8 lb (29 lb equivalency), around $14.79
23.4 lb (33 lb equivalency), around $14.99
25.8 lb (36 lb equivalency), didn’t get a price on this size

It’ll be available in grocery, pet specialty, mass merchandise and drug stores nationwide starting this month. For more info, visit the Fresh Step website.


Jake has no sense of personal space, and lucky for him most of the other cats put up with his getting all up in their space. Corbie will put up with this sort of thing from Jake, but NO ONE ELSE would be allowed to get that close to him.

Alice, Corbie, Jake and Stefan, hanging out in the front room. Since Fred and I got recliners in January, the couch has become pretty much the property of the cats. I mean, not that it wasn’t their property before, we just don’t try to make them share it with humans any more.

Stefan in the chair, Newt in the KatKabin.

Kara just, I don’t know. Not a fan of the Stefan.

::fume:: “I HATE THAT GUY.”

“What’d I do?!”

Kara was rolling around in the sun, and Stefan was all “Oh! That looks like a good idea!” and threw himself down to roll around, too. You can see by the look on Kara’s face that she just realized he was there.



Please ignore the part of the picture where Tommy is rudely sniffing Stefan’s behind, and instead look at the way Stefan and Jake are pressing the tops of their heads together. Jake does this a lot, especially when he thinks he’s about to get some kind of food, and we refer to it as the Jake Mind Meld. In the mornings, while I’m preparing their morning snack, Jake and Kara do this a LOT.

Jake and Alice on the platforms, Stefan in the hut, and Corbie over there to the right, on the window bed.

Tommy, Corbie and Jake, hanging out in Box City.

Stinkerbelle, Tommy and Newt, in Box City. The thing about Box City is that it never looks the same two days in a row.


2013: And it seems that Tommy had had JUST ABOUT ENOUGH.
2012: To Polly, Tony Rocky Horror Pickle said “Poke.”
2011: Molly reacts to Jake’s intrusion into her territory.
2010: He’s kind of like Godzilla, all flailing around growling while tiny Martin and Dodger and Melodie and Moxie go running for their lives.
2009: “Dear lord, please let me catch the laser light, it’s all I want in this world, thank you. Amen.”
2008: No entry.
2007: No entry.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.



8-24-14 – Fresh Step® Lightweight Extreme Litter — 25 Comments

  1. lovely post…great seeing so many of the permanents…poor Stephan, he looks like such a big sweetie pie…Sheriff Mama just being a brat…Corbie looking more handsome than usual in the box…

  2. Thanks for the comparison of litters. One reason I’m catless at the moment, other than the loss of my last two aged cats and allergies, is carrying those huge, heavy bags of cat litter. It’s always cheaper to buy the large ones, though in the last year I’d started getting the smaller, lighter litter. I had seen the ads for lighter cat litter, so your videos were interesting. The dust isn’t as much of a problem, since I have the sunporch for cats. I MISS having a cat waaaay more than I thought I would, especially holding them and watching their antics. You’d think 3 dogs would keep me busy, and they do…but still miss cats! (Although I feed neighborhood strays.)

  3. I appreciate the litter review; I used to use Tidy Cats for mine, but the dust got to be too much. Arm & Hammer seems to be less dusty.

    Great to see all the permanent residents! Kitten pictures are fabulous too, but it’s nice to see so much of the older ones all at once.

  4. THAT is a lot of dust from the new stuff. I use Cat’s Pride. It’s cheap and only found in Walmart around here. It has a bit of a smell from pouring it but after is fine. Some dust (like the second in your video). Clumps super well.

  5. I switched from clay litter to corn-based World’s Best Cat Litter and I have to say I’m extremely happy with it. I use less litter overall, it’s lighter to carry, it controls odours, and it clumps but not like concrete so it’s easy to get out of the corners of the box. The best part about it is NO DUST, and very little tracking through the apartment on kitty paws.

    LOVE Kara’s face when Stefan’s around. I mean, it’d be great if they were pals but then we’d miss out on the hilariously captioned photos of their interactions!

    I was very surprised to see Stinkerbelle on the floor in such close proximity to other cats. I suppose she was tolerating Newt’s presence because she was waiting for Tommy to finish with the box and go nap with her somewhere else?

    • I wish I could use World’s Best. I tried it once and loved it, but my older cat refuses to use anything but Fresh Step. Grrr.

    • Another confirmed World’s Best user here. In addition to its lack of dust, it’s gentle on the poppets’ feet, which is especially important for older users. Or so my first cat informed me.

      An additional worry on the Fresh Step front: the pulmonary health of the company’s employees. I very much hope its warehouses are as automated as possible.

      And I hope there will be some adoptions today!

      Count me in, too, on the very-happy-to-see-so-many-Permanent-Residents front. Many thanks for this bonus post.

    • Yeah, I tried World’s Best, and I feel like the cats didn’t like it… but I honestly don’t remember! Maybe I should try it again and see…

      Stinkerbelle was waiting for Newt to vacate the premises so she could get her Tommy love. He didn’t vacate, though, so she gave up and glared down at him from atop the cabinets.

  6. We use the Arm & Hammer natural litter (I think it’s also corn-based). The non-clay seems to make a lot less dust, and is theoretically a renewable resource.

  7. those videos are very telling. It might look like you are shaking that box to create even more dust, but that is the way you have to do it to get the litter out. I always like it when you talk about litter.

    So what is all over the ground in the Stefan photos?

    LOVE the mind meld! Too cute

    • I was afraid it looked like I was trying to make the litter look dustier than it was, but like you said, that’s what you have to do to get all the litter out. I suppose I could have ripped off the top of the box, but didn’t think of that ’til now.

      On the ground around Stefan is just some kind of weed that pops up around here in the Spring. I think it was early enough that Fred hadn’t mowed yet, so the yard looked pretty shaggy.

  8. May I just say how much I adore Kara’s hate face!

    I stopped using ScoopAway (same manufacturer as FreshStep and supposed to be less dusty but it’s not) because I was starting to cough a lot. I switched to Precious Pet, which works well but is pricier than the others. Not only did my throat clear up, but the furball doesn’t sneeze any more either.

  9. I love the litter review! I was wondering about that light weight litter. I just recently got the super clumping “clump and seal” and it had very little dust.
    We just noticed this week that the litter box in our spare room has done some horrible damage to the things in that room, due to dust. Our awesome old radio receiver thing stopped working, and when we opened it a fine layer of cat litter dust was covering all the components! Damn dusty litter!
    My advice, always go with the low dust litter!

    • I’ve started using the Arm and Hammer clump and seal and it does work well. The blue box smells fine, but the red box is horrible! Usually I don’t notice much difference between scents of the same litter type, but this one is definitely noticeable! Even the lady at the pet store says people have commented on that.

  10. Who’s that handsome lump of sugar sitting in the background in the first pictures of Kara and Stefan?! *swoon*

  11. Oh Jake, I would have no problems with your lack of boundaries.

    I’ve tried the litter and it ddin’t seem too dusty but I also don’t use the volume that you go through.

  12. I LOVE Kara’s fuming face… it’s the best face ever… hey, maybe Stefan borrowed some of her ‘nip and never paid her back, even though he kept saying he would… only someone so terribly wronged would make such an intense face 😉

    My kitties and I love love love World’s Best. We live in a small apartment with two litter boxes so believe me when I say it captures the smell, isn’t dusty, and doesn’t track litter all over the place nearly as much as other brands. I will use it forever!!!

  13. Hi ! Just wanted to drop you a hello and an update on our Jack (aka Tony Soprano). He is doing great, happy inside and out and is quite the hunter! He may have been the smallest in the litter, but he is now as strong and heavy as a cinder block! Thank you for your foster care !! Elizabeth

  14. I use Precious Cat with the pink label (lightly scented). Very Very low dust, not “perfumey” and controls odors great for my three furballs! I used to use Fresh Step, too. Liked it except for the dust. Crazy amount of dust!! Mine won’t use corn or wheat.

  15. “Corbie and Jake” sounds like it could be the title to a sitcom!

    It’s so funny to see Kara fuming around Stefan. Guess he just rubs Sheriff Mama the wrong way. Ah, the complexities of cat inter-feline relationships.

  16. Re: Jake Mind Meld … Our grey cat Grisú loves to do that as well! Especially while I’m preparing morning snacks, too. Only he uses the dog’s head for it. I tried to take a picture of it this morning, but of course Grisú decided to go straight for breakfast.
    I think I’ll introduce the term “Grisú Mind Meld” in our home. Maybe it’s genetic for grey blue cats?

  17. Thanks for the litter review! I’m always curious about new litters but like my cats I am a creature of habit and only try new brands when forced to. I used Arm & Hammer unscented (too dusty) and then Fresh Step unscented (fine until they started putting perfume in it!) and now use Cat’s Pride Fresh and Light unscented. Low dust, lighter weight, no scent and chewy.com will ship it to me. (Thanks for that recommendation too!)