By Ruth Young
I recently had the opportunity to test a new type of cat litter for PoC. Well, I didn’t personally test it. My cat Monty really did the work of testing Fresh Air premium cat litter by Pet Loo. I had attempted a previous test of this product during the summer and with less than favorable results. However, the company seems to have been very responsive and the product as tested this time was much better.
Fresh Air cat litter comes with two carbon pads, which are placed covering the bottom of the litter box. Smaller litter boxes may only require one pad. The carbon pads, which look sort of like a flat, disposable diaper, do seem to give the product a boost in its ability to control odors. On the previous test I put one of these pads under Monty’s usual brand of litter, and it did seem to improve odor control, giving the room an actual “fresh air” smell. My nose is not very reliable though. I relied primarily on my husband’s sense of smell for this test.
Monty’s usual brand, World’s Best, is slightly worse at controlling odors than Fresh Air by Pet Loo. My husband is normally quite consistent in his ability to identify exactly when Monty has left a number two in his litter box. I will hear, “The cat pooped!” from my husband, go to investigate, and sure enough, there is poop. I was surprised while using the Pet Loo product to go check Monty’s box and find a poop that had not been announced by my husband. I think during the whole test he was able only once to call it out when the cat pooped. My husband stated that although Pet Loo doesn’t block all odors, it is a little better controlling odor from feces than Monty’s usual litter. Since I can never smell it when the cat poops this is not a big deal for me either way. However, if you have a sense of smell, you will smell a little less odor from your cat box with this product than with a corn based litter, which is what World’s Best is.
I don’t have a comparison available for clumping clay litter. I will not use it because of the dangers. It turns out clumping clay litter dust can really coat and clump inside your lungs, and your pet’s lungs. Fresh Air litter does NOT clump, so although it is a somewhat dusty litter, it’s still safer than clumping clay. The box states that Fresh Air is a low dust product. While putting the litter into the box there was a lot of dust raised, even though I tried to be careful. The product itself is similar in consistency to fine sand. I noticed dust only initially, however. I would say the wheat based litters are more dusty than Fresh Air litter. Monty didn’t seem to like to dig in Fresh Air litter very much, so he didn’t raise any dust. If other cats routinely attempt to dig to China and are litter flingers, there may be dust raised from that. This litter would probably be comfortable for declawed cats, but I like that they don’t advertise this fact, since that could be interpreted as support for that procedure. Fresh Air litter did not get tracked around my house at all. Monty’s usual corn based product requires a lot of work with the vacuum cleaner and even gets tracked outside of his room at times. Fresh Air litter all stayed right in his box.
The packaging states that you do not need to remove urine from the box. It claims urine is broken down and bacteria is killed, so there is no reason to remove it. However, Monty seemed a little upset that I wasn’t scooping out his urine, so I attempted to scoop it to satisfy him. Although it’s not clumping litter, if you catch it right away you can scoop out urine. It’s like wet sand and that will hold together enough to take most of it away. If you do this, the litter won’t last as long, but for those who like being able to scoop out urine, you can do it, so long as you get to it while the litter is still wet. I couldn’t detect any urine odor, nor did my husband. So whatever is supposed to be breaking down the urine and killing the bacteria, it seems to be working. The litter itself is non-toxic, since on his first trip into the litter box with Fresh Air litter Monty actually licked it. He had no ill effects from this.
My husband and I have actually talked about switching to the Pet Loo litter from World’s Best if the cost is reasonable. We like that Monty never really dug around in it, so he inhaled less dust than from his corn based litter and all the litter stayed in the box. My husband likes the superior odor control. I have one concern about the odor control pad, because it seems like a shame to throw that in a landfill—it has a plastic backing. It might be better if that pad could be made from 100% biodegradable material. The company could even sell the pads separately to provide an odor control boost for any litter product. I also like that the litter is not from a food product. The price of corn is going up due to ethanol production and a recent terrible drought in the Midwest of the United States. Other natural litters are made from either wood, wheat or corn, but Pet Loo is basically sand. The price of Pet Loo’s Fresh Air litter is going to remain a lot more stable than that of litters made from trees or plants. The company did not send me any information on prices, but perhaps they would be willing to write a comment with information about prices and where this litter will be available.