Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Chicken Feed: Best Kitty Litter

My new favorite kitty litter is Non-Medicated Chick Starter, a.k.a. chicken feed.

This may sound funny to people who are not responsible for cats - go ahead and snicker - it sounds funny to me too!

However, if you're responsible for an indoor cat (...I hesitate to say "owned" since it's not always clear who owns whom...) you may be looking for a better pooping solution. Keeping cats indoors prolongs their lives, plus that of the songbirds, but everything comes with a cost, and for cats that means kitty litter.

I've never liked the most common solution - clay. It's messy and so heavy that I've had to go up a size in my garbage bin just because clay for six cats exceeded the weight of the smallest bin! The greyish clay pellets smell off to me and feel ucky when you tread on them in bare feet. Intellectually I know that the clay pellets that scatter are clean because they aren't clumped, but my uck reflex does not care.

Chick Starter, in big bags from the feed store, is much better. Its basic odor is the clean hay smell of a clean barn. It's light and its particles are small, so it doesn't fling far and its barely noticable when trod upon. It also performs as well as clay: it clumps well and scoops normally. It seems  reasonably environmentally responsible as well as non-toxic.

I have tried other alternatives to clay. Mostly these were pelletized from newspaper, pine and bamboo. The cats hated the pellets; they avoided pooping in pans of pellets until they'd been broken down by pee. There was a wheatgrass-based product that seemed to work ok, but it was somewhat more expensive than chick starter and did not perform any better.

Chick starter seems to do the trick at a good price; just make sure it's unmedicated, because you don't want to use unnecessary antibiotics or whatever.  I've tried it for a month, and don't see why I'd go back. It's fun to go to the feed store, too. You can get all sorts of stuff, such as hay bales and bird seed in bulk - but that's another issue for another day.

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