Paper cat litter is a low-dust, eco-friendly solution that more cat parents are turning to to improve their cat’s litter box experience. In this article, we'll explore its advantages, disadvantages, and how it stacks up against other natural litters. By the end, you'll be equipped to make a cleaner, healthier choice for your home and your beloved cat.
Here at tuft + paw, we are cat experts. We've spent countless hours determining which litter features are most important to cats and cat parents alike. The information in this article is based on consultation with a cat behaviorist, veterinarian, online research, and our own experience as cat parents.
What Is Paper Cat Litter?
Paper cat litter is made from post-consumer recycled paper and comes in two main forms: pellets and finer granules (often referred to as paper crumble litter). Pellets, the more popular variety, offer notable benefits such as reduced tracking and dust, making them an ideal choice for cats with respiratory issues and those recovering from surgeries due to their low dust content and non-allergenic nature.
Paper Cat Litter Pros
The biggest strength of paper cat litter is its low dust content. It’s one of the lowest dust litter types on the market, up there with tofu litter and cassava litter. For this reason, many vets recommend it for cats post-surgery, because the lack of dust allows wounds to heal better and with fewer complications.
Paper cat litter is created from post-consumer recycled paper, contributing to a more sustainable environment. Choosing this litter ensures that no new trees are felled to produce it. It’s also entirely biodegradable.
Paper litters–and other natural litter types–are much healthier for cats and humans than traditional clay litter. The primary health concern with clay litters is the presence of crystalline silica dust. Silica dust is known to be a carcinogen when inhaled, which can lead to respiratory problems in both cats and humans. Paper cat litter does not have this issue.
Paper cat litter is significantly lighter than traditional clay litters, making it much easier to transport from the pet store.
Paper Pellets Are Low Tracking
One of the main benefits of paper pellet cat litter is its ability to reduce litter tracking and scatter. The pellets barely stick to fur or paws, and their size helps limit scattering when your cat digs around in the litter box. Using paper pellets with a litter mat and high-sided litter box can help put an end to tracking.
Paper Cat Litter Cons
While paper cat litter offers several advantages, it's essential to be aware of its potential drawbacks:
In the case of paper pellet litters, the coarser texture may not suit all cats. It can be uncomfortable for those with tender paws or declawed cats. It's important to consider your cat's preferences when selecting a litter.
Unfortunately, paper cat litters are not the easiest to clean. Due to paper litter’s naturally dark color, it’s not always obvious which areas are wet. Paper litter is also non-clumping, so you can’t easily scoop urine out of the litter box. If left in the box, wet paper litter gets mushy, then eventually dries out and crumbles, which can lead to increased tracking and dust.
Mediocre Odor Control
Paper cat litter doesn’t have inherent odor control like wood and silica litters, and it doesn’t clump to trap odors like tofu, corn, or clay. Some brands incorporate deodorizers like baking soda, but overall paper litter does not have great odor control.
Incompatibility with Automatic Litter Boxes
Paper litters are generally not compatible with automatic litter boxes. The non-clumping nature of paper litter means that the cleaning mechanism cannot separate dirty litter from the clean litter. Furthermore, the shape of paper pellets can impede the self-cleaning mechanism.
Paper Cat Litter vs Other Natural Cat Litters
Paper Cat Litter
Paper cat litter, primarily offered in pellet form, is low-dust, eco-friendly, and safe for cats. It excels at reducing tracking but may be less comfortable for cats with sensitive paws. It also doesn’t have the best odor control.
Popular Brand: Fresh News Paper Pellet Cat Litter
Tofu Pellet Cat Litter
Tofu pellet cat litter is known for low tracking and low dust. The best brands are unscented, eco-friendly, and flushable. Its smaller pellets are paw-friendly for most cats.
Popular Brand: tuft + paw Really Great Cat Litter
Wood Pellet Cat Litter
Wood pellet cat litter has low tracking and is biodegradable. It may offer good odor control due to the natural pine scent. However, its rough texture and pine scent may not be comfortable for all cats. It’s usually quite affordable.
Popular Brand: Feline Pine Platinum Wood Pellet Litter
Corn Cat Litter
Corn cat litter, created from compressed corn, is biodegradable and clumping. Its texture is generally comfortable for cats, but it may require more frequent litter box changes due to odor concerns.
Popular Brand: World’s Best Cat Litter
In the world of cat litter, paper cat litter stands out for its low dust, eco-friendliness, and safety. It minimizes tracking, making it a suitable choice for many cat owners. While it may not be the perfect fit for automatic litter boxes and cats with sensitive paws, its numerous benefits make it a solid option for those seeking a clean and environmentally conscious solution.
However, if you like natural, low tracking cat litter but also like the convenience of clumping litter, check out our Really Great Cat Litter. It's thoughtfully made from soybean byproduct, and it's even flushable!