An Automatic Litter Box Guide To Choosing The Best Litter

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Cats can be fussy when it comes to litter, and if they don’t like a specific type, they may refuse to use their litter box altogether. This feline tendency can be challenging if you have an automatic litter box as they usually work with one specific litter type. Therefore, researching which litter is compatible with which auto litter box is vital before splashing out on your new high-tech unit. 

Is your cat particular about where they do their business? If so, read on to learn which automatic litter box style works best with your cat’s favorite litter and help to avoid any future frustrations.

Clay Litter

Clay is the most established and most popular litter choice among cat owners because it is low-cost and widely available in almost every pet store/market. You can buy unscented or opt for one of the many scented versions, such as coffee, apple, and green tea. The scented versions are great at masking foul odors. However, cats have sensitive noses, and many do not like the smell of citrus fruits and coffee.

The main disadvantage of clay is it is not the most environmentally-friendly litter type. However, if using it with an automatic litter box, you will use much less litter than you would if scooping manually. This is because self-cleaning systems are great at removing dirty litter only and preventing additional waste. 

Clay litter also tends to track throughout the house and can create a lot of dust, although there are low-dust or dust-free options. Thankfully the design of many automatic litter boxes significantly reduces tracking, so this is no longer an issue with most units. For example, the AutoEgg features fully enclosed sides and back of the box and a tracking step on the entryway.

Which Types Of Automatic Litter Boxes Are Compatible?

Clay litter is compatible with many rotating and raking styles of automatic litter boxes, such as the AutoEgg. However, it needs to have quick-clumping abilities as these systems work by scooping clumps and sifting out unused granules. Clay litter can have small or large particles, but we recommend using smaller particles in your automatic litter box for maximum functionality.

Moreover, the quicker the litter clumps, the better the system can clean. If you use a clay litter that doesn’t clump well, the lumps will break up as the rake moves through the tray, and it may not remove all debris. Quick-clumping types hold the waste together, making it easier to remove. The particles absorb the urine then hold together, forming a cement-like texture.

Where To Buy

You can find clumping clay litter in all supermarkets, pet shops, discount stores, etc. What’s more, you can order it online from various websites and marketplaces.

Silica Gel Litter

Silica gel litter is rapidly growing in popularity due to its high absorbency and excellent odor control. It works by absorbing urine, evaporating the waste, and trapping the odor in the process. This allows the crystals to absorb repeatedly for up to a month for one cat using it. Like clay litter, crystal gel litter is available in both scented and unscented versions. 

Many cat owners who scoop manually switch from clay to crystal gel as it tracks less, is dust-free, and requires less maintenance. Crystal silica gel is more expensive than other types but generally lasts longer, so you’re not likely to see a significant price difference.  

Some cats don’t like this litter's texture as it feels very different from the surface they use to eliminate in the wild. Moreover, as crystal litter controls odor by absorbing moisture, you need to be careful about where you put your litter box. Place it away from areas of high humidity like the bathroom.

Which Types Of Automatic Litter Boxes Are Compatible?

Not all automatic litter boxes with a raking mechanism use clay litter; some work with crystal gel litter instead. With these models, you can use pre-portioned bags of crystal litter that last up to 30 days before requiring replacement. Alternatively, you can disposable trays filled with crystal litter for a quick, hygienic clean-up when needed.

Where To Buy 

If buying crystal litter for your automatic litter box, you can purchase it directly from the manufacturer’s website. You can also purchase it on Amazon and choose from original, sensitive (free of perfumes and dyes), or lavender scented. As this style is growing in popularity, many pet stores now stock it too.

Washable Granules

Although you can use silica gel litter for up to one month, you can get washable litter that will last even longer. This is ideal for those who find it a nuisance to buy and transport heavy bags of litter. Now, of course, no cat owner would willingly wash their litter granules by hand to save money and reduce cat litter usage, but certain self-cleaning litter boxes will do just that. 

Which Types Of Automatic Litter Boxes Are Compatible?

Automatic litter boxes with rotating or raking mechanisms cannot wash and reuse litter; however, an alternative flushing system can. This system operates like a toilet by connecting to the drain. It cleans the granules, flushes away the waste, then dries the granules ready for the next use. This whole cycle takes around 30 minutes. 

Where To Buy

If using a self-flushing litter box, you’ll need to purchase the washable granules from the manufacturer or on Amazon. As you would expect, this litter type is much more expensive than others, but each box will last you up to six months.

Final Thoughts

While most cats favor unscented clay litter, this is not the case for all felines. When choosing an automatic litter box, it’s best to choose one that works with a litter type your fur baby is familiar with and likes. Doing so will result in quicker acclimation and reduce the chance of any litter box problems or anxiety with their new bathroom space.