Being the hippie cat lady that I am, when I saw that there was a new clay alternative cat litter on the market, Blue Naturally Fresh from Blue Buffalo, I had to try it. It is made out of walnut shells, is a clumping litter and is supposed to be low-dust and reduce tracking of litter throughout your house. Here are my experiences with various aspects of the litter:
I was surprised at how well it clumped. It held together while scooping much better than Swheat Scoop (wheat based) or World’s Best Cat Litter (corn based). The final clump is smaller and less firm than what you get from a good clumping clay litter but none of the clumps broke apart so I think it’s pretty comparable with clay.
After decades of huffing clay litter (unscented or otherwise) the natural smell of the walnut was really a welcome change. Suddenly my laundry room went from smelling like … litter (clean but still unmistakably litter) to a fresh wood smell. The used litter didn’t have much of an odor. I couldn’t smell any urine and while the poop smell wasn’t completely hidden once scooped, while it was in the litter box, you couldn’t smell that it was “dirty” at all. In my opinion, this works better than clay when it comes to odor.
I was happily surprised that this litter is much lighter than the equivalent volume of clay litter. I used a 34lb bag in place of my usual 40lb.
The manufacturer claims “Virtual No Dust” and “Unlike clay litter, which often throws off silica dust, BLUE Naturally Fresh is virtually dust-free so you and your cat can breathe easier!”. I’m the first to admit that clay litter is dusty and I’m not comfortable with the idea of either me or the cats inhaling silica dust. However this stuff was dustier than clay! The litter is a dark walnut brown (surprise, surprise) and when I ran my hand through the litter, it came out completely brown. Imagine putting your hand in a bag of cocoa powder…
The sides of the box turned brown instantly, and after one use all 3 cats had dark brown feet, leaving footprints through the house. When I tried to clean my white footed cat’s feet, it stained both his foot and anything it touched. I can’t see how they can say with any honesty that this litter isn’t dusty. Maybe it’s healthier dust (debatable) but the visual damage to my house, clothes and cats was much worse.
Again I was unhappy with the difference between how this litter was advertised and my experience. They say “doesn’t stick to your cat’s paws so it’s less likely to be tracked throughout the house”. I call BS. I had brown, wet pebbles throughout my house within hours. I would say it sticks to paws just as much as clay litter, and since it doesn’t clump as hard, some of the wet litter can escape as well. FAIL.
It retails at $1.23 / lb, while Arm and Hammer Clumping Clay litter (not the cheapest brand out there) is only $0.67 / lb.
I was planning on trying this litter out for 30 days but couldn’t stand it and changed the box after 2 days. I loved the odor, weight and health benefits. I could have lived with the price. But the brown dust was everywhere and once a cat tracked wet litter onto the dinning table I was done. Maybe if I were a better kitty mom, I would have said the health benefits were worth it. But evidently I’m not that good of a kitty mom… Maybe it depends on the cat. If it hadn’t stuck to their feet, I think I would have stuck with it. Two of the cats have long hair and “toe-hawks” though. If you have short hair cats, I would say it’s worth a shot.
Once I dumped the box, I put in Dr. Elsey’s Cat Attract since it is supposed to be one of the lowest dust clay litters on the market. We’ll see how it goes and I’ll report back.