Silica Gel

Non-Clumping * Clumping * Diagnostic or Health Alert

Silica gel litter is made from sodium silicate and has an amazing ability to absorb liquids. Silica litters are always lightweight. Silica Gel litter comes in both clumping and non-clumping varieties.

Non-Clumping

Advantages:

  • Can be an inexpensive option
    • More expensive in multi-cat homes or homes where the cat has diabetes, kidney disease, or any other condition that causes them to pee a lot
  • Minimal effort for cleaning
    • Scooping feces and stirring the crystals are all that is needed (until time for a complete change)
  • Some varieties have color changing granules to alert you when the box needs changing
  • Relatively dust free when compared most other types of litter

Disadvantages:

  • Gives no warning when it’s “used up”
    • Sudden urine puddles and dramatic change in smell is usually how you know
  • Often not accepted by cats
    • Sometimes it’s rejected for texture and changing to a different style (round vs. irregular) may get your cat to accept it
  • Sometimes messy
    • round beads of silica can track everywhere
    • irregularly shaped litter tracks less but is more often rejected by cats

Clumping

Silica gel litters are now available in clumping varieties. Like the non-clumping types, clumping silica gel litters are lightweight.

Advantages

  • Clumping action makes it possible to remove only the used portion of the litter
  • Long lasting odor control because of the combination of odor/moisture absorption of the silica and the ability to scoop clumps away

Disadvantages

  • “clumping agent” is often not specified on the label, so you don’t know what you’re exposing your cat (or yourself) to
  • A little more expensive to use than the non-clumping variety because you’ll be scooping out the urine clumps rather than leaving that litter behind to continue absorbing moisture
  • All the same texture and tracking disadvantages as the non-tracking kind

Diagnostic or Health Alert

Some silica gel cat litters are formulated in a way that can alert you to a potential health problem in your cat. These kinds of litter are typically coated with a pH reactive substance that changes colors based on certain conditions in your cat’s urine. Aside from the special coating they will share all the same properties of other silica gel litter.

Diagnostic litter tends to be a little more expensive than the basic silica gel litter.