With four cats in my household, I'm always looking for better cat litters. However, the word "better" is hard to define, since it varies by cat owner and cat.
Odor control is, of course, my number one concern, but I also look at things like tracking and ease of cleaning. I hate clumping cat litters that break up as soon as you get near a ball to scoop, and I walk around barefoot a lot, so I don't like tracked litter underfoot.
My oldest cat needs more odor control than the younger ones because he has kidney problems and fills up his box with smelly pee very quickly. All my cats prefer softer litters, although I use crystals in some of my litter boxes because I like how they work.
Recently I had the chance to try out Tidy Cats Pure Nature Litter, a natural option made from cedar, pine, and corn. I was eager to see how this natural litter would perform, since I hadn't tried anything like it before. Surprisingly, it met my oldest cat's needs so well that it's now his regular cat litter.
Very Different From Other Litters
My oldest cat has kidney problems that cause excessive urination, and I can't really treat him because he's feral and can't be handled very easily. He pretty much stays in one room where I keep his food, water, and litter box. Unfortunately, the box smelled rank within hours of cleaning it, and he kept ruining litter boxes because the stink was so intense that it permeated into the plastic. I used a metal litter box for a while, but it wasn't deep enough to handle his digging.
I decided to try Tidy Cats Pure Nature Cat Litter in his box, since it would be the biggest challenge. The other cats use it occasionally, too, so I knew it would get a good real-world test.
I was a little put off by the prominent cedar and pine smell when I first opened the bag. I'm probably overly sensitive to wood shaving smells, since I can't stand wood bedding for small animals, either. That's one of the reasons I use paper-based Carefresh or fabric to bed my guinea pigs.
The cats were suspicious at first, too. I don't know if it was the smell or just the fact that the litter was something entirely new. It's very soft as compared to the crystal litter I was formerly using in that box. I think the softness finally attracted them, and they tried it out by the third day.
Fights Tough Urine Odors
Sure, this litter has a natural smell (it didn't bother me after the first couple of days), but how would it stand up against my old cat's copious amounts of pee? Amazingly, this highly absorbent litter could go a whole day, or even two, without that rank odor I'd been living with for so long.
At first I thought the wood scent might be masking the urine odor, but I've been using it for a while now and the litter box still hasn't picked up a nasty smell in the plastic. I clean it frequently, but even with daily scooping I was having that problem with the other litter.
Once the cats started using it, none of them had any problem with switching over to a soft, natural litter. I have five litter boxes all around my house, and the younger cats use the box with Tidy Cats Pure Nature cat litter when it's convenient. My older timer uses it almost exclusively, thank goodness. It's so nice not to have a bathroom that doesn't reek of cat urine.
Tracks Too Easily
My only complaint with Tidy Cats Pure Nature cat litter is that it tracks worse than crystals, or even sandy clumping litters. The wood pieces are very light, so any cat can track it. However, my old cat likes to play in his water bowl and get himself soaking wet, then use the litter box. That means I get a double whammy because the litter also sticks to him.
I haven't found a good litter mat yet that minimizes tracking from this type of litter. That's the main reason I deducted half a star, but despite that problem, I now use it permanently for the elderly cat. No, it's not pleasant to sweep and vacuum that area each day, but the odor problem was much, much worse. I didn't think anything would solve the stinkiness in that box, but Tidy Cats Pure Nature litter actually does the trick.
You'll find this product in most big box retailers like Target and major pet stores. It costs about 20 percent more than clumping litter, but it's worth the premium.