Suggested by Andrew Smith (Vermont, USA)


Andrew found that 100% regular (clay-based) cat litter barely controlled odours, even if cleaned daily of waste. The deodourised litters often had unpleasantly strong chemical scents. Meanwhile, 100% cedar dust and cedar shavings type litter resolved the odour problem, but was too dusty clung to the cats' fur due to static cling. The cats ended up wearing the cat litter around the house.

In Britain, Sainsbury paper-based litter has the same "static cling" drawback due to the light weight and small granule size. Granules stuck to the cat's coat and ended up all over the house. I composted half a sack of this litter rather than continue to put up with feather-light litter granules everywhere.

Suggested Solution

In an empty, enclosed-type litter box, Andrew began with a 1/2 inch (approx) layer of "Cedarific" soft cat litter. For those unfamiliar with the brand, this is cedar dust and small fine cedar shavings. He then added approx 2 inches of "Tidy Cats" (a common "kitty litter" with mild odour control). Use of the cedar product as the bottom layer was intended to best utilize its excellent cedar odour control properties when the urine soaks down.

Everything is poured into the box slowly and gently to minimize dust. The layers are not mixed (that would be a dusty event) and the cats' normal use of the box mixes the 2 layers quite well. Use of comparable products will probably yield similar results.

Although this mix forfeits the "clumping" qualities of the clay-based litter, this characteristic isn't outweighed by the improved odour control. The resulting odour control is so good that he simply changes the entire contents every few days. The cats have no reluctance to use the box when filled with this combination and it has proven economical.

Andrew's sensitive nose is completely sold on this concept. While there is no substitute for regular litter box cleaning and changing of the filler, some of the more powerful chemical-type odour control litters or additives created a worse stink than the cat's wastes (and sometimes deterred the cat from using its litter box).

Another advantage of using cedar shavings as the bottom layer, even though it gets mixed to varying degrees when used by the cats, is that static cling is reduced through it not being on top or thoroughly mixed. I can vouch for this problem having previously mixed Sainsbury recycled paper litter with fuller's earth litter rather than using them in layers. The static cling selectively picked up the lighter paper granules, leaving behind the heavier clay-based product. Leaving the paper-based litter as a bottom layer, as Andrew suggests, might have prevented this. As Andrew notes "wearing litter box filler of any kind does not present a chic fashion statement for human or beast!"

In addition, Andrew found that a runner of soft carpet, or other soft, coarse-textured material such as a double layer of terrycloth leading from the box helped reduce stray crumbs or flakes of box filler regardless of the type used. The runner must be configured so as to prevent possible circumnavigation by the cat. Andrew writes "The runner placement is a non-dynamic version of the restroom porters in some fine restaurants who personally provides hand towels at the wash basins. The difference here is that those porters anticipate a gratuity in consideration for their maintaining a clean and civilized facility. We, on the other hand are only rewarded with the promise of box cleaning privileges."