What Cat Litter Should I Use? Silica vs. Clay

As Millennial and Generation Z consumers come into adulthood, they’re adopting pet-loving and pet-owning lifestyles to a much greater extent compared to previous generations.

According to Forbes, these demographics are extremely attentive to the needs of their pets. They are more careful when selecting products as well, and cat litter is no exception.

There are two main types of cat litter: clay-based and silica. When it comes to choosing the right type of litter for your pet cat, there are a number of factors you’ll need to keep in mind.

To help make the decision easier, we’ll assess the merits of each based on the most important factors, which include odor, dust, tracking, and texture.

Let’s take an in-depth look.

1. Odor Control

Odor control is perhaps the most crucial consideration when making a decision between clay and silica litter. Conventional clay-based litter is quite absorbent, but due to its granular structure, it saturates faster than silica. Once the clay has saturated, you will have to clean out the litter at least once a day to prevent a bad odor in your home.

Some brands include baking soda or perfumes that can mask the smell of odor longer. However, some cats are sensitive to certain scents and avoid the litter box if they sense it.

On the other hand, silica beads are incredibly porous and can hold 40 percent of their weight in moisture. Although in solid form, each bead has a network of microscopic hollow channels that absorb moisture quickly.

These beads are similar to the silica gel desiccant packs found in shoe boxes and vitamin bottles, with ‘Do Not Eat’ labels. These packs keep the products around them dry and hence, prevent moisture-related damage. For cat litter, the formula does not contain crystalline silicate, which can be harmful to pets.

cat litter

2. Dust and Tracking

The dust that arises due to the litter can cause respiratory issues, such as asthma—in cats and their owners. For this reason, it’s best to find litter options that offer dust control.

Most clay litters have minimal dust and do not create tracking marks when cats leave the litter box. But silica crystals are completely dust-free and do not leave marks around the house because they are in bead form.

 3. Texture

The texture of clay litter feels like regular sand, which can make it more attractive for some cats. However, clumping litter isn’t recommended for kittens as they can ingest the litter accidentally.

Silica crystals don’t clump, and thus, cats might be hesitant to use it at first, but will get used to the texture over time.

Which Is Best?

Both options are safe and widely used by pet owners in North America. However, silica crystals offer added convenience in terms of odor and dust control, which may be useful for busy pet owners who’re looking for low-maintenance options.


Sorbead India is a leading moisture-free packaging solution provider in the US and Canada. The company specializes in engineering adsorbents and silica gel online for use in multiple industries, including consumer products and pet care. For more information about our products, call +91-756-768-8877.

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