We've done experiments comparing clay litter costs in a regular litter box vs. Boxscoop, but until now, we've never done a cost analysis for alternative litters.
1. Theodore, 14lb (he’s actually closer to 15lbs but his tail is resting on the desk so we’ll call him 14 lbs)
2. Naturally fresh Walnut (6 lb bag):
3. Lights camera actions! We setup an IR day/night camera with motion detection to film all the litter box fun for the next 5 days. Here is the time stamped video catching most of Theo's litter action (the motion sensor missed a couple times) plus all 5 days of scooping and the initial setup and empty:
We weighed the litter before and after and then calculated the cost per lb and cost per year for clay, corn, grass and walnut. Clay was the cheapest to buy per pound, but the most expensive per year:
*Costs per lb based on US litter prices. Cost per year based on one large cat (14-15lbs). For multiple cats the costs will be approximately proportionate.
NOTE: Grass litter is super light and will track more than the others. Personally, we like to mix Grass and Walnut together; It's the ultimate litter mix in our opinion.
*Click here if you want to see the full cost calculation
Alternative litters work similarly to clay... but differently.
Urine is 95% water and 5% waste; clay litter absorbs the liquid and holds it in a ball of heavy mucky clay. Alternative litters typically absorb the urine, hold the waste portion in their fibers and allow the pure water portion to evaporate.
Every clay formula performs differently, some are sludgy and some clump tighter and dryer. Many of our backers happily use clay, so we don't say much about it, but we also never endorse it (you can google the dangers of clay or check out this informative: Jackson Gallaxy blog post)
If you have a clay litter you love using, that’s okay… but if you are indifferent, open to suggestions, or using it because you feel it's cheaper, than we think you'll be much happier all around with an alternative litter. They are steadily advancing, for good reason, and now make up ~50% of the litter market.
**If you are switching litter types, please switch slowly. Start with 50/50 mix of the new and old litter and top up with new litter until the old is gone. This is a gentle way to switch your cats.
We compiled links to various litters in AU/CA/EU/UK/US. Most of these should be available in your local pet stores: