I am writing about the best odor eliminating litter in the USA because at the moment (August 2012) there is an ongoing dispute between litter manufacturers on this very subject. I’ll briefly describe that dispute which is proceeding through the civil courts of San Francisco. It concerns Fresh Steps cat litter that uses carbon as an odor killer. The manufacturers, Clorox Co. claim it is better than other litters for odor control and better than a competitor’s litter that uses baking soda: Arm & Hammer Super Scoop manufactured by Church & Dwight Co Inc..
It’s Fresh Steps-vs-Super Scoop, Clorox-vs-Arm & Hammer. The businesses have settled their dispute but the customers are complaining! They say that their cats could not decide for themselves that Fresh Steps was better as claimed by Clorox. The litigation is proceeding and it has been parred down to being about whether carbon is better than baking soda for odor control. When it is put into those words it makes you think if we are losing sight of the real issues in life.
Using Cat Litter
It is worth mentioning that when writing about the best odor control litter you have to discuss how the litter is used in practice. If the litter is cleaned soon after use there will be almost no odor from the litter box. On the other hand, if the litter tray is not cleaned for several days or more, no matter how good the litter is in suppressing odor, you’ll get odor emanating from it. That is common sense but it does affect reviews and assessments by individuals.
I used to use wood chip litter and scooped it daily. It was non-clumping but because I did it for 20 odd years I got very good at it. I could clean the tray, effectively, in about 60 seconds. This made daily cleaning easy and there was never any discernible odor. The best way to eliminate odor is to scoop the litter tray very frequently and to clean the whole device from time to time. Also I used a litter tray with a hood over it and a filter on top. It had a door at the front (a cat flap/door) but that fell off and I left it off. I think the cover helped suppress litter odor. The size of the litter tray should be correct too.
As I have personal experience of the efficacy of wood litter in respect of odor elimination, I would recommend it to Americans who have experienced cat litter odor problems provided they employ daily scooping schedules. After a bit of practice it is not difficult to remove the used portion of wood cat litter despite it not being clumping litter. I used to remove only the used bit. Although, as I understand it, most people put a small amount of litter in the tray and then remove all of it after use.
I believe that my method is preferable because you can place about an inch deep layer of wood pellet litter in the tray. This results in all the urine being being fully absorbed as it flows towards the base of the tray. If you place a thin layer in the tray with the intention of removing all of it after use, there is a risk that some urine will remain unabsorbed, or not fully absorbed, leading to odors.
On Yahoo Answers, a lady says that the odor from her cat litter is unbearable. She asks for advice about the best cat litter. She has three cats and one litter box. She scoops daily and cleans the whole box/tray once per week. My advice to her would be to use three litter boxes and wood chip litter and thoroughly scoop daily or after the cat has used the litter. I’d guarantee she would have no odor. Her major problem is one litter tray for three cats. I know people who do that (or even for four cats) but I disagree with it and studies have concluded that it can cause stress in individual cats living in a group of cats as there may be competition for use of the litter tray.
Wood compared to Clumping Clay
In respect of odor elimination I would choose wood. These are my reasons. Wood pellets are separated. They are non-clumping. This allows for better absorption. Clay clumping litter results in the clump becoming quite wet. This means that some urine is not absorbed. There appears to be a trade off: ease of removal versus poorer absorption. Trays that contain clay clumping litter become more stained due to unabsorbed urine. These are my experiences. Obviously there are a variety of clay litters with some being better than others so other users might not have had the same experiences. Also there are corn based clumping litters that may avoid this problem.
Because there is no conclusive survey (see below) on cat litters, ultimately it will come down to personal choice. As a result people will tend to disagree with findings and surveys.
Find some additional ways to help eliminate odor. One person recommends clipping Fridge-It carbon absorbers to the side of a covered litter tray (see Amazon advert above right).
I cannot find a study that reaches a definitive and scientific conclusion as to the best odor control litter at August 2012. Wouldn’t that have been nice? We have to rely on fragmented customer reviews etc. My assessment is confirmed by the website, consumersearch.com who say the last full-blown cat litter study was in 1990 and it was about cats’ preferences. Consumersearch.com recommend several cat litters in general (they don’t focus on odor control) but one seems to come out on top by a small margin, Feline Pine (see Amazon advert).
On the Petsmart website, Fresh Steps achieves a 4.5 out of 5 rating from (839 reviews). In practice that is about as good as you can get. However, customer reviews are suspect. Many are at least potentially planted there by agencies etc.
Feline Pine gets a 4.5 out of 5 from 81 reviews on Amazon, so very similar. The Tidy Cats Breeze Litter Box System gets a better review at 4.5 out of 5 from almost 1000 reviews. The system uses had clay pellets.
In respect of the Yahoo Answers story above, the answers recommended Arm & Hammer (and their super scoop product) plus Arm & Hammer litter deodorizer.
The http://www.cat-urine.net website does not recommend a litter, which surprises me.
My personal choice, if I was living in America, would be Feline Pine or similar product as the best odor eliminating cat litter. Daily scooping is essential. There is no single product that stands head and shoulders above the rest. Our resident American chief cat litter tester, Ruth (Monty’s Mom) uses World’s Best Cat Litter. It is corn based and it clumps. I would seriously consider doing what Ruth does. Although it is worth mentioning that she uses it for what she considers to be its generally superior properties. I don’t know how good it is for odor elimination.