Cat Litter Crystals

cat litter crystals in a tray

I have never used cat litter crystals. It has only fairly recently been on sale in the UK as far as I can see. I was not aware of this type of cat litter until about 2009. In the USA, it is readily available.

It is meant to be a very high quality litter but in the UK it comes at a high price. Its efficiency may make it more cost effective, however.

The specific advantages are:

  • highest absorbency of all the cat litters.
  • great odour elimination for an extended time.
  • “excellent moisture control” (not sure what that means other than it has a high absorbency).
  • dust free2 (conventional litter kicks up quite a lot of dust that has the potential for causing health problems)

The crystals are made of a “porous granular form of sodium silicate”1. Sodium silicate is a substance that has a wide range of uses in industry. It is used in the automotive industry for repairs.

It is said that cat litter crystals can absorb the urine, ”
for up to 30 days for one healthy normal weight cat”1.

The concept as stated by the Wikipedia authors is that you scoop out feces and then simply stir the litter that has absorbed the urine. You do this for up to 30 days and then change the litter. Apparently it is obvious when the litter needs replacing as it smells and the crystals change in colour from white to yellow (note: the cat litter crystals in the photograph heading this page are blue).

On the basis that it is necessary to remove urine impregnated conventional litter (wood or clay) at least daily, crystal litter has a distinct advantage. Although, I am not sure that I would be comfortable leaving the litter unchanged for such an an extended time.

I use wood litter at about £13.30 for 30 litres. I buy it at the local pet shop in Putney, London. I am sure that I could get it cheaper if I tried. But cat litter crystals that can be bought at Tescos online is priced at £4.45 for 4.2 litres (2010). This is “Bob Martin Antibacterial Litter Crystals”. A very similar product by the same manufacturer, in a 3.8 litre pack, costs £5.99 on Amazon.co.uk (see image below left). Comparing prices on a per litre basis, the wood litter is £0.44 per litre, while the cat litter crystals are £1.1 per litre, more that twice the cost.

Perhaps the argument is that the crystals last longer as less litter is discarded. This evens out the cost. Here is a UK product on Amazon.co.uk:

The Bob Martin Antibacterial Litter Crystals can be bought in a pack of four at £27.70:

These prices and deals are at Nov. 27th 2010 – things change, of course.

In the USA, a product on sale on the US version of Amazon is called: Pestell Clear Choice Clear Choice Low-Track Silica Cat Litter, 12-Pound Pail.

It has received a 4.5 (out of 5) star rating from 18 reviews (at Nov. 2010). That is good.

“The Silica Crystals is great for cat litter. They absorb a vast quantity of liquids…”

“For one cat, a tray of litter would probably last a month. There is NO URINE ODOR!!! It also absorbs feces odor IF the feces is covered with the silica crystals which most cats do.”

“What’s the cheapest brand? Tidy Cats Scoop Crystals Blend for Multiple Cats. It is sold through Amazon by PetFoodDirect…”

{quotes from reviews on Amazon3}

Breeders Choice paper pellet cat litter in the USA costs about one dollar per pound in weight. The cat litter crystals cost $1.32 per pound in weight and so it is a similar price. This is in stark contrast with the UK – a typical scenario I am afraid.

Conclusion: In the USA: on the basis that (a) I have not missed something (b) the crystal litter is superior as stated and (c) the price is not much higher than conventional litter, I would definitely try it.

In the UK, if it is only available in small sizes at the prices that I have indicated, I would suggest that it is not a sensible option to use it, unless it can be established that it is very much more cost effective.

Cat litter crystals – Note:

1. Wikipedia®
2. Amazon sales talk in respect of Pestell Clear Choice Clear Choice Low-Track Silica Cat Litter, 12-Pound Pail.
3. Quoted under fair use policy as it is the interest of Amazon and the manufacturer.

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