two kittens in laundry basket

Each cat ages differently. Rewind 20 years. I was in elementary school when our cat Otis died. My mom had gotten Otis from a great-aunt when he was a year old. She loved the way he hunted all day in the yard, purred like an engine when he sat down, and took a siesta on the sunlit limestone table in our garden. So, it took six months, maybe a year, until she was ready to get another cat. This time, she picked two. They were both girls. In the animal shelter, the pen in which we found them was swarming with kittens fighting, dashing, rolling around, swatting each other’s heads. My mom picked out a pretty black kitten who sat in the corner giving herself a bath. Then she lifted up a tabby who had been curled up while other kittens stepped on her head in the course of their play.

The black cat we named Zelda. The tabby, Hazel. For the first few weeks, Zelda and Hazel slept together in the basement bathroom, in a shoebox that we cushioned with a towel. They were so small that they could stand upright in the palm of our hand. They were both calm, which is the reason my mom picked them out, but their personalities were distinct from the get-go.

two cats laying by the window

When they grew up, Hazel became dominant, even though Zelda was more athletic. She was a natural hunter and practically lived outside – roaming the garden beds and stalking voles in the summer, bedding under the leafless shrubs in the winter. Whenever she explored the maze of alleys behind our house, she might be gone for a few days before trotting back to our patio. Hazel occasionally propped her paws on the windowsill and stared outside. Otherwise, she never left the house. She slept in the screened-in porch on fall evenings, and in the winter, she slept some more on a towel rolled out next to the hall radiator. (She wasn't exactly mouser material)

As they got older, they aged differently, too. Zelda had never made much noise, but when she was about 15, she went totally silent. Then she stopped ranging so far in the neighborhood. On cold nights, we’d lift her out from under the garden shrubs and bring her indoors. Soon her world narrowed to a 30-foot circumference between the back door (where her food and water bowls were set out) to the patio (where she used to hunt). One spring morning we found her in the garden, under a patch of hydrangea bushes. She had died that night from old age.

Zelda seemed to get sweeter and calmer as she got older. Not Hazel. She was brassy and pushy where Zelda was graceful and alluring, but she was also consummately competent. She knew where the litter box was and gave herself a bath every two hours, it seemed, but, when she got to be about 15, her mood soured. The noise she made had always resembled a yap rather than a meow, but in her final years, it turned into a full-on bray. She weighed less than 5 pounds, so it was jarring to hear her emit a noise that erupted through the house like a foghorn. In the last weeks of her life, those moans turned to sad, pained squeaks. The vet told my mom that her organs were failing. We had to put her down at the age of 17.

two cats cuddling in bed

My mom had loved Otis, but she said it pained her, even more, to watch Hazel and Zelda become frail and age, each in their own way. She misses them so much that she says they'll be her last pets.

If you're scrolling through our site, chances are, you've got a cat story, too. Care to share? Leave your thoughts at the end of this article on the different ways that your own cats have aged.

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cat litter cabinet

We know that there are many things for pet owners to consider when raising a feline, and a cat litter cabinet is one investment that can make your home and your cat life even more enjoyable! Cats make wonderful companions but sometimes it's tricky to find a great way to deal with the odor and mess of their litter box. Cats are just like the rest of us - they need to go and they need a place to go! Litter boxes don't have to be smelly, unsightly messes. Here are some of the benefits of having a cat litter cabinet in your home.

What Is a Cat Litter Cabinet

A cat litter cabinet is like a small house for your litter box. Instead of just being a flat box with litter in it, it is designed with a top or is a standalone cabinet with an opening for the cat to crawl in and out of and a door that opens to allow you to remove the box for easy litter scooping and changing. You can think of it like a dog house but a place where the kitty doesn't hang out or sleep - just a place to use the bathroom!

Conceal the Mess

inside cat litter box

The number one benefit of a cat litter cabinet is to hide the mess of the litter box! Many people have clever spots to tuck away the litter box, like a bathroom or laundry room, but sometimes there is not enough room or no convenient space to hide it away. There's no reason you have to have a big box of cat litter out in the open in any room. A cat litter cabinet lets you keep the litter box behind closed doors so it doesn't look messy.

Hide the Smell

Another benefit of a cat litter box is that it keeps the smell of the litter under wraps. If you scoop litter regularly, which we all should, litter boxes shouldn't smell too bad, but it's also never pleasant to have anyone's toilet right out in the middle of a room! Investing in a cat litter box is a good way to prevent the smell of the box from permeating the whole room.

Extra Decor

different versions of cat cabinet

Cat litter boxes can also make wonderful decor in any room. They come in all kinds of cool and funky designs that make interesting additions to any rooms, including living rooms, family rooms, bathrooms or bedrooms - wherever is convenient for you to keep it. Some double as side tables or bathroom stands and you can pick a color and style that match whatever room you choose.

Privacy for Your Cat

Cats like a litter box that is in a quiet space and gives them a little privacy. However, they don't like to be boxed in completely. Having a cat litter cabinet means a space where a cat can retreat to in peace but also be able to see out through the opening to be able to see and hear other people or animals and not feel trapped.

Cats, like the rest of us, need a good place to go when they have to go! You have to keep a litter box in your home somewhere so a cat litter box is a great way to make sure it is both attractive and hides the sight and smell of the litter. It also gives your cat a cozy and private place to go to the bathroom! Do you use a cat litter cabinet in your home?

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cat itching

When cats get bit by fleas, it can cause them to be very uncomfortable because their skin can become irritated and very itchy. It’s best to do everything that you can to treat flea bites as quickly as you can and prevent them if at all possible. The following guide walks you through a few tips and tricks to use to keep your cat as comfortable as possible when it comes to fleas.

Make Flea Prevention Treats

Preventing the fleas from biting your pets at all is the best way to keep their skin from becoming irritated. A great way to keep your cat from being bit is to make flea prevention treats for them to have once a day. Mix 1/4 cup of brewer’s yeast with ¾ cup of melted coconut oil in a blender. Pour the mixture into a small square dish with a flat bottom. Put the dish into the refrigerator and allow it to harden. Cut the mixture into even sections and store in a zippered bag in the refrigerator. Give one to your cat a day to keep fleas at bay.

Feed Your Pet the Right Food

cat eating food

In order to prevent fleas from biting your pet, try to keep them as healthy as possible. Feeding them healthy food that isn’t filled with fillers or chemicals can make them less tempting to fleas and make their skin less sensitive if fleas bite them. Read the labels on the bag and see if the first ingredient is corn or wheat. The first ingredient is the one that is used the most and it should be a meat or protein, rather than a filler like corn or wheat.

Create a Flea Spray

Another great way to keep fleas at bay is to spray your cat daily with a preventative flea spray. Mix ½ tsp of baking soda with ½ a teaspoon of salt. Mix ½ cup of apple cider vinegar with ¼ cup warm water. Slowly add the wet mixture to the dry mixture so that the reaction that occurs when you mix vinegar and baking soda can be kept to a minimal. Transfer the mixture into a spray bottle and spray your cat daily to avoid a flea infestation.

Create a Smoothing Shampoo

cat in shower

If your cat has been infested with fleas, mix ½ cup of mild dish soap, ½ cup of white vinegar and 2 cups of water together to create a shampoo. Wet the cat slightly and lather him or her with the shampoo. Let the lather sit for five minutes and then rinse the cat thoroughly. The mixture will suffocate the fleas and soothe your cat's skin at the same time.

Create a Skin Balm

Flea bites can irritate the skin. Mix ¼ cup coconut oil, 1/3 cup olive oil, 1/8 cup beeswax, with 8 drops of lavender essential oil and peppermint essential oil and microwave for thirty seconds. Stir everything together, place the mixture in a container, and allow to harden in the refrigerator. Rub some of the balms on affected areas of your cat's skin and within a few days, the tenderness should subside.

If you notice that you aren’t able to prevent fleas or able to treat bites your cat has, you may want to take him or her to the vet. A veterinarian can provide medicated treatments that can soothe the issue quickly and easily.

 

Do you have a holistic natural way to treat fleas? Maybe we missed one of your go tos? Sound off in the comments below! We would love to hear from you!

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cat in prettylitter
Did you realize that you can easily sign up for a monthly cat litter subscription?

That's right, every month - new fresh cat litter is waiting at your front door. And it only gets better from there...

But first - if you own a cat, you need good cat litter. 

That's a no-brainer.
 
But, you also need cat litter which is good quality, will last a long time, and won't keep putting out a terrible smell.
 
These should be no-brainers as well, but every cat owner has been let down at some stage.
 
Plus, is there anything more annoying than having to buy cat litter?

Shopping for cat litter is pretty boring. Lifting and carrying heavy bags is not fun.

Don't carry the weight. Let it come to you.

delivery man

Does this sound familiar? You're at the supermarket with a full shopping cart when your brain decides to chime in with: “...oh, by the way, don't forget to grab that gigantic 40-pound bag of the cat's special toilet sand!
 
There should be a better way. Cat litter that never runs out. Cat litter which completely absorbs all the bad smells, and doesn't need changing all the time. Cat litter that can even tell you when your cat is sick – wouldn't that be a life changer?
 

Well, luckily for you, we happen to be in the business of changing lives.

(for humans and cats)
 
We'll deliver a very small bag of cat litter right to your front door

Once a month. Every month.
It's as easy as that.

How does it work you say? Well, it's ridiculously simple...

First, tell us how many cats you have. Then tell us the address where the cats live.

That's it.

…no really, that's it.

Then once a month, every month, a fresh new bag of PrettyLitter will arrive at your front door. A tiny bag too; it's only 4-pounds per cat – and then all you need to do is fill your kitty litter box at the start of the month.

 

Thanks to a very clever formula, PrettyLitter doesn't clump - but rather it completely absorbs moisture and odor. This means you won't even need to change your kitty litter box as the month goes on.

Cat Litter That Also Keeps An Eye On Your Cat's Health

prettylitter

Is this the world's best cat litter? Well, that's not for us to say.
 
But yes, yes it is.
 
Cats are clever, private little creatures. One of their hallmarks is that they are notorious for hiding illness and pain – which goes back to their days from living in the wild.
 
The last thing any cat owner wants is for their little fur baby to be hiding a medical problem. PrettyLitter actually changes color to help identify common illnesses, such as kidney or bladder infections. This is great news for your furry friends, and can also take the stress out of worrying about your cat's health.

People love PrettyLitter almost as much as cats love naps.

Almost.

Cat owners don't say things like: “This is the best cat litter I've ever used” lightly, but luckily this is something that we're getting used to hearing:
 
I love this product. I have never found another litter that works so well and gives me peace of mind also.”
 
I’ve been using the litter for 3 days now and I truly love it! I cannot smell either of my litter boxes anymore!”
 
I like the convenience of having litter delivered & I also like that this litter absorbs the liquids, so it makes cleaning the litter box easy!”
 
Well, by now, we're sure you know all about PrettyLitter and how our monthly subscription works.
 
Are you ready to try the world's best cat litter? All you need to do is click here to get started.

You can sign up within minutes, and before you know it your first bag will be sitting at the front door.

 Questions? Just click here to get in touch with us and we'll be happy to help.

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person holding tiny kitten

It’s hard to think of anything else quite as cute as a kitten.

With their big eyes, tiny necks, and perky ears, a new kitten looks just like a living bobblehead doll.

Add a kitten’s awkward gait and uncontrollable curiosity to the mix, and you have a sure-fire recipe for heart-melting cuteness.

Sadly, there are thousands of kittens living in animal rescue shelters waiting for good homes. Until they find their forever homes, they’re left to learn the ways of the world from inside a cubicle surrounded by chaos.

While animal rescue professionals do their best to care for kittens and give them as much socialization time as possible, nothing beats raising a kitten in a home with a human family.

By being a cat foster parent, you can help foster kittens become properly socialized, minimize feline anxiety and the numerous health issues that stress can cause, and prepare that kitten to be accepted into a forever home.

If you’re considering being a cat foster parent, here’s what you need to know to earn that “#1 Foster Mom” coffee mug.

Helping Kittens Learn the Ropes

tiny kitten by window

canna-pet.com

As a cat foster parent, your job is to help your foster kitten learn how to live with humans and adapt to changes in a healthy way.

If you don’t plan on homing your foster kitten through adulthood, your foster kitten will be adopted by another individual or family when the time is right. That sort of drastic change can be difficult on a cat, so teaching your kitten how to cope with change is crucial.

The best time to socialize a kitten is between the ages of three and nine weeks. Hopefully, your kitten will still have access to her mom during this time, but many rescue kittens do not.

However, don’t let that window deter you from being a cat foster parent to an older kitten. All kittens need love and guidance and are capable of learning new social cues.

Positive Reinforcement, Not Punishment

little girl kissing cat

In the early stages of kittenhood, your adorable little friend is taking in every bit of information from her environment that she can. With you being one of – if not the only – other living things to learn from, she’s going to take your reactions to her behavior very seriously.

Start by finding a cat treat that your kitten loves. Then, use that treat and positive attention to reward her whenever she does something or encounters a new situation that you want her to repeat.

For example, a great foster kitten will know how to travel in a cat carrier like a champ. Practice with your foster kitten by encouraging her to walk into her cat carrier on her own and giving her a treat. Close the door, give a treat. Sit with her with the door closed, give a treat. Pick the carrier up, give a treat. Place the carrier in your car, give a treat. Drive around the block and return home, give a treat.

While that may seem like a lot of treats, what you’re actually doing is making sure your foster kitten associates things that often stress out other cats – like traveling – with positive feelings.

You can use the same technique to take your kitten in to visit the vet, even if it’s just for a quick exam without any shots, to introduce her to a new family member or another pet,

Meeting New People

cat sniffing persons hand

One of the most difficult things for many cats – kittens and adults – to overcome is the fear of meeting new people.

However, if you teach your kitten at an early age that new people are not to be feared, you can dramatically reduce your fur baby’s anxiety and help her transition to a new home smoothly.

Recruit a few friends to help you get your foster kitten used to new encounters. Start by having one friend come over and ply your foster kitten with treats, positive attention, behind-the-ear scratches, and toys.

A week or so later, have two people come over. The next week, invite three. If your kitten seems spooked by more people, continue the process until she comes around. Sometimes it takes a shy kitten a few opportunities to make friends before she’s willing to come out of her shell.

Foster-Parenting Must-Have Supplies

kitten in blanket

If you plan on being a repeat foster parent, first of all, good for you! It’s not easy to part ways with a dear feline friend when she’s ready to move on to her forever home, but remember that you’re doing your foster kitten and her new family an incredibly selfless service that will bring joy to them both for years to come.

As a cat lover, you probably know that cats are incredibly territorial. Just the smell of another cat can cause your foster kitten anxiety, especially if she is young and separated from her mother. Therefore, it’s important to use supplies that won’t carry the scent of one foster kitten to the next.

If you can’t afford to purchase a new litter box for each foster kitten, use strong litter box liners (we like these) as a barrier to prevent smells from permeating as much as possible.

Use laser pointers and edible treats as toys rather than plush toys that can easily absorb oils and saliva.

Have a “one kitten, one blanket” policy. Each kitten gets her own new blanket to lay on in her favorite perch. Not only will this help your kitten feel at home in her own space, but also it will provide some consistency when your kitten goes to her new home and gets to take her blanket with her.

Of course, it’s nearly impossible to completely eradicate the subtle smells left behind by a previous foster kitten, but these supplies will help you make a significant improvement for your next little one.

If you’re a cat foster parent or thinking about providing a home to a foster kitten in need, we commend you. Have questions? Post them in the comments below!

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happy cat
When you bring a new cat into your home, you're taking on a commitment that will most likely span several years. In addition to giving your kitty love and attention, you'll also need to be prepared to provide medical care. We all get sick from time to time, and cats are no exception. Here are a few of the most common ailments cats acquire, beginning with:

Obesity

fat cat
Just like us, our pets are prone to obesity too, and for many of the same reasons: lack of exercise and over-reliance on cheap, processed food full of sugar and extra calories.
Guess what most of today's dry cat food is made from? That's right: fillers and the feline equivalent of junk food. Combined with the fact our pampered pets don't have to hunt for their food anymore and instead spend most of their time snoozing, that's the perfect recipe for weight gain that can put unnecessary and dangerous stress on your cat's bones and organs.
You can help your kitty maintain a healthy weight by encouraging lots of play time, feeding her a nutritious meat-based diet, and limiting treats and carbohydrates.

Diabetes

sad cat
Often related to the obesity problem is the growing incidence of feline diabetes. An estimated 0.5% to 2% of cats suffer from diabetes mellitus, a condition in which the body can't produce or use the insulin needed to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Left untreated, it can lead to malnutrition, organ damage, coma, and even death.
As in humans, diabetes may have a genetic component, and cats with certain attributes may be at higher risk of developing the illness. Obese, elderly, and/or physically inactive cats are especially at risk, but so are cats who are male, neutered, and/or undergoing steroid therapy. Burmese cats in particular are at a higher risk than other breeds as well.
Again, just like in humans, the first signs of diabetes are weight loss accompanied by increased appetite and excessive thirst and urination. If you notice these symptoms, have your cat checked by his veterinarian. The vet will likely order a blood test to confirm the diagnosis, and then she or he will develop a treatment plan with you that could include dietary changes with special food, exercise regimens, insulin therapy, and more.
The good news is that with proper management, your kitty can live a long and happy life.

Kidney Failure

cat at the vet
Kidney failure is one of the leading causes of death in cats. While it is sometimes sudden and unpredictable, there are some risk factors to keep in mind and some ways you can help prevent kidney disease or slow its progression.
In both acute and chronic kidney failure, symptoms to watch out for include increased thirst and/or urination, weight loss, vomiting, and bad breath. The earlier these symptoms are spotted and addressed, the better the outlook for your kitty's long-term health.
Pet parents should limit their cat's exposure to toxic substances, which includes things like antifreeze and household cleaners, human and veterinary medication, and certain plants, especially lilies, as all parts of the plant are highly toxic to cats.
Some breeds are more genetically prone to developing kidney disease, such as Abyssinians and Persians. However, all cats are at risk, so regular checkups are critical, most of all for senior cats who might have other conditions like diabetes that put them at higher risk for developing kidney disease.

Hyperthyroidism

cat getting shot
An overactive thyroid gland can dump too much of the thyroid hormone into the bloodstream, a condition known as hyperthyroidism. This ailment is most common in elderly cats around 13 years of age or older. Symptoms can mimic a host of other conditions, including diabetes and kidney disease, so only a veterinarian can make a proper diagnosis. Some signs to watch for include:
  • weight loss
  • increased appetite, thirst, and urination
  • dull coat
  • increased vomiting
  • weakness or depression
Diagnosis is made through a blood test, though sometimes a nuclear medicine test is ordered that will require hospitalization while the radioactive compound administered leaves the cat's body.
Your vet will go over treatment options with you, which include dietary therapy, surgery, medication, and radioactive iodine therapy. If your cat is otherwise healthy, the prognosis is usually good with appropriate treatment.

Parasites

cat itching
Fleas, ticks, and ear mites are some of the most common pests cats and cat owners have to face. Fleas and ticks are parasites that live on the animal and ingest its blood to survive, while eat mites are microscopic bugs that live on and in the cat's ear. Fleas and ticks can transmit dangerous diseases through blood contamination, and ear mites can cause damage to the ear drum and affect the cat's hearing and sense of balance. In all cases, these pests can cause discomfort and chronic itching, and when the cat bites and scratches at these spots, they can scratch their skin and leave themselves open to possible infections.
The best way to avoid such parasites is to limit your cat's exposure to the outdoors and to other cats. If you bring a new cat into the home, be sure to check it thoroughly for parasites. If you find any, try to keep that cat quarantined as much as possible. If you suspect a flea or mite outbreak, treat all of your cats and the places they like to hang out at the same time, as the bugs are highly contagious and can spread quickly.
Check your pets regularly for signs of fleas and other unwanted guests, and tackle any potential problems immediately to help ward off a full-blown infestation. If you live in an area where these nasty critters are common, or if your cat insists on going outside, speak with your vet about a monthly topical or pill treatment to kill off any parasites before they can cause too much damage.
Do you have any tips for managing these or other common cat health problems? Let us know in the comments down below.

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trimming cats nails
Your cat is probably your best friend, but what about those razor sharp claws that attack your toes in the middle of the night? Does he feel like a friend then? Of course! Nothing will change your love for your cat.
However, most indoor cats need help keeping their nails trimmed. If you possess the courage to take on this task, there are a few things you should know before you start. Read on to learn how to cut cat nails without a scratch.

Know How to Use the Clippers

Both you and your cat should feel comfortable with the sound of the clippers long before you start trimming his nails. Gather the clippers, some treats, and a cooked noodle. Have your cat sit on your lap and massage one of his toe pads until a nail pops out. Next, use the clippers to cut the noodle and then give your cat a treat. Repeat this a few times during a few different sittings to make sure you cat gets used to the sound and movement of the clippers.

Set the Right Time and Place

cat getting nails clipped
It's easiest to start trimming your cat's nails when he is still a kitten, but this isn't always the case. You may have adopted your cat already grown or have just decided to start clipping his nails. Either way, it's important to choose a quiet area where your cat can rest on your lap. The sleepier your cat is, the easier it will be to clip his nails. Make sure there is nothing that can distract him during nail cutting time, like other pets, loud noises, or birds flying by the window.
To start, gently massage your cat's paws, but not for too long or he'll see this as an invitation to play. After massaging each paw for about three seconds, you can begin clipping his nails.

Never Cut Down to the Quick

When it comes time to cut your cat's nails you will need to avoid the pink area. This is where the blood vessels and nerves are. You only want to cut the white part of the nail to avoid pain and injury to your cat. However, if you accidentally cut down to the quick, you can stop the bleeding using a styptic power or stick. Keep these items on hand before you start trimming your cat's nails.

What Not to Do When Trimming Your Cat's Nails

cat getting a pedicure
Chances are, your cat may resist the trimming. If he does, don't yell or punish him. Instead, stop what you are doing and try again another time. Also, you don't have to trim all of your cat's nails in one sitting. Instead, trim three or four at a time to really get your cat used to the cutters and the action they take. Be sure to always have treats nearby to positively reinforce nail-trimming.
Your cat will typically need a nail clipping every ten days to two weeks depending on whether you cat is an indoor or outdoor cat and how quickly his nails grow back. Some cats will easily let you trim their nails, while others will not. If you have a cat that simply will not sit through a nail-trimming session, it is best to bring your cat to a professional groomer or veterinarian for regular nail trimming.
Do you regularly trim your cats nails? If so, we would love to hear more about the tips and tricks you use to get the job done. Tell us more about your cat and your nail-trimming tips in the comments below.

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cat in prettylitter
When considering how finicky cats can be, even about their kitty litter, you want to find the best cat litter brands on the market today for your frisky feline. Your cat deserves the best. You know this. Your cat certainly knows this, and he’ll know if you switch to a better cat litter. So, what should you look for when purchasing cat litter? Read on to find out how to choose to the best cat litter brand.

How to Find the Best Cat Litter Brands

Cats are clean animals. They keep themselves clean by giving themselves a bath, and they expect their cat litter box to be clean - all the time. Otherwise, you might end up with a surprise on your floor - or worse - your pillow.
When looking for the best cat litter brands, your cat only wants the best. This means you should have some criteria in the back of your mind when choosing a cat litter brand, such as, how absorbent the cat litter is. The better it absorbs, the less moisture will remain behind, meaning you won't need to change the cat litter as often. This makes life easier for you and your cat.
The absorption also drastically reduces awful smells that both you and your cat hate. When choosing the best cat litter, keep this in mind, especially if you and your cat live in a small space.

How the Right Cat Litter Makes all the Difference

two cat litters
Have you ever really LOOKED at the cat litter box after your cat goes tinkle? Probably not. Why would you, right?
The reason to look is to inspect your cat's litter box once in a while in order to ascertain whether or not your cat is having health problems. He may appear to be healthy, but what's left behind in a cat litter box doesn't lie. With PrettyLitter, your cat's litter will change a different color if he is experiencing a health issue.
Since he can't talk and tell you what's going on inside of him, PrettyLitter does it for you and this certainly makes all the difference. If your cat's litter changes color, you'll know for certain something is wrong, and you can get your cat to the vet's office right away before the problem becomes worse.

The Bottom Line

When you use the Pretty Litter subscription based cat litter service, expect a small four-pound bag of cat litter to last you an entire month. It doesn't clump like most brands on the market. Instead, it is so absorbent that you won't need to keep replacing your cat's litter week after week. If your cat has a health problem, it won't go unnoticed when you use this brand of cat litter.
What cat litter are you currently using? Does your cat love it? Do you love it? If not, it's time to make the switch to the world's best cat litter. Let us know in the comments if you've been using PrettyLitter cat litter and how it has worked out for you and your cat, and if you use another cat litter but are ready to make the switch, tell us why. We would love to hear from you!

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cat sitting in litter box

Cat litter is the magical substance that makes life easier for owners around the world. It’s not all that much to look at, but its powers are impressive. If you’ve always wondered what makes cat litter super-absorbent, you’ve come to the right place.

We’ve broken down the subject of cat litter for you, so, the next time you’re emptying your cat litter box, you’ll have a greater understanding of what you’re dealing with.

The Origin of Cat Litter

The idea of a substance designed to soak up cat urine is nothing new. During the early 20th century, people used everything from ash to sand to address the problem, with varying degrees of success, but cats aren’t all that enamored with these particularly harsh substances, and both have a tendency to stick to feet and fur, which causes cleaning headaches around the home.
During the 1940s, Edward Lowe discovered that granulated clay absorbed moisture and trapped bad odors, but crucially, cats didn’t track the clay through the house afterwards. Lowe recommended the solution to his friends, and the feedback he received was universally positive.
Lowe spotted a business opportunity. He filled five-pound bags with his granulated clay, and branded it “kitty litter.” This relatively simple solution to an age-old problem was an instant hit, and made Lowe rich beyond his wildest dreams.

What’s in Modern Day Cat Litter?

clay cat litter
Lowe’s granulated clay solution remained unchanged for around 40 years, but cat litter became yet more effective — and cheaper — when Thomas Nelson noticed that bentonite clay forms clumps when wet.
This new “clumping cat litter” brought down the cost of pet care. Owners were able to simply remove the clumps instead of replacing the entire cat litter box.
The main component of most modern cat litters is still clay. However, mining bentonite clay is relatively expensive. Cheaper clays often contain added silica, which delivers the all-important clumping quality.
The most expensive options on the market today are usually those made with silica gel. Each silica gel pearl contains a maze of tunnels. When the cat pees on it, the internal structures of the pearl trap the moisture, along with the smell. The moisture eventually evaporates, leaving the odor sealed away. You can use most silica gels for up to a month at a time.

Eco-Friendly Cat Litter

Mining clay leaves a significant carbon footprint behind, and it can also ravage areas of natural beauty. There are also concerns about the safety of silica cat litters, as they can be harmful to dogs and other pets when ingested in large quantities.
A range of natural and eco-friendly cat litters are now available, and many of them address environmental and health concerns. Renewable products such as wheat, sawdust, corncobs and peanut shells are being used to create highly effective cat litter. The absorbency and clumping of clay is replicated with the use of binding products such as starch.

Odor Control

silica gel cat litter
Clay, silica and the other materials used to make cat litter have natural odor-absorbing qualities, but as manufacturers continue to develop their products, new and more effective agents are being developed all the time.
Carbon and baking soda both trap bad smells before they can develop, so they're used a lot in commercial cat litters.
Other natural odor-absorbents include cedar and pine, which are added to litter in the form of chippings. There are also added fragrance options that mask odors, but as we know, not all cats will tolerate the likes of lavender and vanilla in their toilet.
The world’s best cat litter brands keep homes clean and smelling fresh with the minimum of effort. Yes, clay is still a popular cat litter ingredient, but there are other options out there. Try a few solutions, and choose something you and your cat can both agree on.

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cat in crystal litter

If you’ve been wondering what cat litter crystals are, you’re not alone. Many people puzzle over the best cat litter to buy for their feline companions, and often that’s because they just don’t have all the facts. Are cat litter crystals safe? Are cat litter crystals better than clay-based litter? What about wood-based litter? Let’s answer some of those questions today.

Cat Litter Crystals: The Tidy Option

Clay based litter clumps, dries, then produces grey dust. Your kitty picks up clay dust on their paws and treads it all around your lovely, clean home. Pine cat litter is in pellets which cats tend to burrow in and kick all over. Then when moist, it turns into a weird mush that can be tricky to scoop and clean. Cat litter crystals are winning in the clean charts, because they don’t clump, which makes it easier to scoop out the solids. The crystals actually absorb and eliminate odor, so the tray doesn’t need to be emptied as often, reducing your daily chore list! Crystal litter produces less dust, keeping your home cleaner and tidier.

Cat Litter Crystals: The Safer Option

crystal litter with scooper

The additional benefit of crystal litter producing less dust is that it’s kinder to people with allergies. It can also even prevent cats developing asthma, and is certainly easier on the lungs of those animals who already have asthma.

Clay-based cat litter has special chemicals added which cause the clay to clump when it comes into contact with your cat’s urine. This is supposed to make it easier to scoop, but those chemicals can actually be harmful to your cat. This is because your cat licks their paws after a visit to the tray, and the clay dust they lick off can expand in their tummies and intestines. Crystal cat litter is entirely non-toxic and has no such clumping or expanding chemicals. Your cat is at no risk from licking cat litter crystals, which gives you peace of mind as a responsible pet owner.

Cat litter crystals are also super light, because their made of silica gel. This means it’s safer for your back and knees too!

Cat Litter Crystals: The Greener Option

crystal cat litter

It’s so important we look after our environment. Cat litter is one of those unavoidable consumables that we need to keep our kitties clean and healthy. But do we need to be changing the cat litter every few days? With clay-based litter which clumps, you might find you need to empty and refill the tray at least this often. Pine cat litter might last a bit longer before needing to be changed, and because it’s sourced from by-products of the wood industry, it’s possibly a greener option than clay cat litter, but cat litter crystals win this round too.

A good crystal-based cat litter only needs to be fully changed around once a month. This means a lower carbon footprint, as it’s less trips to the grocery store or less deliveries if you’re on a subscription service like PrettyLitter. Because less cat litter is used, less energy is used in the production of cat litter, which is also great for the environment.

Cat litter crystals could be the future of cat litter; cleaner, greener and better for your cat. Give us your views in the comments!

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Don't forget to follow us on Instagram: @prettylittercats

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Delivered straight to your front door, every month. We’ll even pay your shipping.

For a limited time only, get 20% off your first PrettyLitter order. Enter code “LOVE20” at checkout. Redeem Now!

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"I can't believe how spoiled I've become with this litter. It makes dealing with cat excrement so much easier! I love Pretty Litter. A lot."
G. Gregory, Angier N.C.