Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Great For The Cats, Mediocre For My Plumbing: "Cat's Pride Premium Scoopable Cat Litter"

The Good: Absorbs odors, Clumps well, Cats seem to enjoy it
The Bad: Flushability not as good as other litters
The Basics: An excellent litter for multiple cats, Cat's Pride Premium scoopable cat litter is an inexpensive way to keep one's cats clean.

There are some products that it would seem like a reviewer is more likely to resort to listing what is written on the packaging to than others. Frankly, I loathe movie reviews that tell me what I can find on the IMDB, loathe music reviews that simply provide a track listing, and health and beauty reviews that list the ingredients. It strikes me like it would be a bit of a challenge to write a decent review for a cat litter.

A cat litter review is somewhat pointless; the ultimate test of a cat litter will always be "does the cat use it?" That cannot be answered by any reviewer, only your cats. So, what's the point of a cat litter review? What a good review for this type product ought to focus on are the independent variables; everything but the subjective experience from a cat. After all, how my cats react does not tell you how your cats will interact with the product.

Cart's Pride Premium Scoopable cat litter is a fine-grain litter. There are pellet litters (which in my experience are ineffective) and the litters that are essentially sand-like. This is the latter. I found this on sale for $6.00 for a twenty pound jug. The plastic container is very convenient as it prevents a lot of dust from clouding into the air when it is poured. This has very little dust or ash to it, but what it does have does not leave the container in a cloud that will cause either your cat or you to be agitated by it.

If changing your cat's entire litterbox, one 20 lb. jug will fill an average litterbox to the 3" recommended depth. The litter granules are light gray with small blue ones mixed in which help control the odor (I'm not exactly sure how).

So, what happens when your cat uses the litter box? Cat's Pride Premium scoopable cat litter clumps right up when my cats urinate. The mass becomes fairly solid within seconds, enough to withstand accidental clawing by a fastidious cat who is covering up the solidifying litter. One of my cats is exceptional at burying his clumps, so I usually only know he's been to the box by the fact that the litter is moved to one side. He's also a bit rambunctious at times and a clean litter box seems to make him quite happy. The first time I changed the litter to Cat's Pride, my younger cat played in the litter like it was a sandbox. I'm guessing that meant he liked it because he's been a loyal user since.

When I first found Cat's Pride premium, my cats had been using a pine litter for years. I liked that one because it had about the same sized granules, good odor control and it was completely flushable. When it was discontinued, I had an overlap period where one box had the Cat's Pride premium and the other had the organic stuff. Both of my cats would only use the other box when I had not emptied the Cat's Pride box sufficiently. Outside that, they avoided the other box like it was cursed.

Which leads me back to my other cat. My other cat is not so good about burying his mess. He's fat, lazy and seems bored with the whole litterbox experience. So, he'll use the box and simply walk out. Grumble. With the Cat's Pride Premium Scoopable cat litter, the only way I know he's used the box is by looking. Even though he refuses to bury his urine-clumped litter, the smell does not escape the litterbox. I usually refill the box on a Sunday and otherwise simply remove clumps the rest of the week and the odor control is consistent throughout the entire week.

Strangely, my fat, lazy cat who won't bury his litter clumps will bury his poop. The Cat's Pride premium effectively coats the poop and eliminates its odor as well. In fact, the only way I'm usually able find the poop is to scoop it out. On that front, the Cat's Pride premium is very nice because is sifts very well. Again, the low ash and dust content makes this a wonderful litter because while keeping the litter box clean and tidy, there is not a lot of matter that clouds up. Moreover, as I have to scoop deep into the box sometimes to get the clumps and poop, this premium litter is nice because it has a rather fluid quality to it.

What are the drawbacks of this? I found only two. The first deals with cleaning up the floor near the box. My big cat overshoots the box from time to time (I've yet to figure out the precise physics of how his urine ends up under the box without being on any of the walls) which leaves a bit of a mess under the box. When he does this, every now and then he feels whatever sense of shame and guilt cats might and he flings litter out of the box and onto the tile floor in front of the box.

This poses one of two possible problems. If the floor is dry, I simply sweep the litter up, no harm, no foul. If, however, some of the cat's urine (or water) hits the floor, the problem becomes a real mess. It seems part of what makes this cat litter clump is the pressure from other litter nearby that stops the liquid from spreading. On the floor, small amounts of litter and pools of urine mix to become a nasty sludge. This sludge does not clean up easily with a wet rag, leaving instead a pretty nasty smear on the tile that needs to be cleaned off with tile cleaner after the mass of sludge is wiped off.

If you have very well-trained cats, this is something that will not likely become an issue, but if they are occasionally difficult, it's good to know this before purchasing.

The other problem is a lot simpler. This litter is advertised as "scoopable" and "certified safe to flush." I've had mixed results on this front. Even following the directions of not flushing more than two clumps at a time, the toilet bowl always ends up with litter at the bottom when this is flushed, often containing some litter even after three flushes. As well, my plumbing has backed up three times in the last two months since I started flushing this (there were no other environmental changes). While it's an easy enough fix with a plunger, it's still an annoyance.

Because it clumps so well and has such good odor control, I often simply scoop the clumps into a plastic bag and throw the litter out that way.

In general, though, this litter works, my cats like it and I can honestly say that while I've had better flushing litters, I've never had a better clumping one.

For other cat care products, please visit my reviews of:
Cat litter scoop
Fatty Frog cat toy
Vroom Around The Room Cat Laser


For other pet product reviews, please be sure to visit my index page on the subject!

© 2011, 2007 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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