An animal’s lack of ability to inform you once they aren’t feeling properly is without doubt one of the hardest elements of pet parenthood. Even once they’re displaying signs, you may’t simply ask them what’s mistaken. (Effectively, you may—simply do not count on a solution.) Fairly Litter is a subscription-based litter service that wishes to assist in the case of cats.
A litter field is a mandatory a part of coexisting with a cat, and Fairly Litter claims its crystals change shade when your cat may need an sickness, making it straightforward to inform when one thing could be mistaken. The corporate’s founder, Daniel Rotman, misplaced a beloved cat that confirmed no apparent indicators of illness. This litter is his resolution to assist monitor a cat’s well being at residence, to hopefully stop what occurred to him from taking place to different pet homeowners.
I—with the assistance of my two cats, Huxley and Eely-Rue—put Fairly Litter’s crystals to the take a look at for a number of weeks. I additionally spoke to veterinarians, cat behaviorists, and Fairly Litter prospects to determine whether or not the crystals precisely do their job. One factor I must say earlier than leaping into my expertise is that Fairly Litter needs to be used solely along with common vet checkups. It’s not a substitute for veterinary care.
Fairly Litter’s crystals change shade based mostly on the pH stage of your cat’s urine. Regular pH urine will flip the crystals a yellow or olive inexperienced; a excessive pH, which might imply a urinary tract an infection (UTI), makes the crystals flip blue; and low urinary pH turns them darkish orange, and it might imply metabolic acidosis and kidney tubular acidosis, which might result in kidney stones. Blood within the urine exhibits up as crimson, as anticipated, and will imply bladder irritation, bladder stones, or a UTI.
It may be sophisticated to find out the place on the size the colour falls, as it might probably appear to be it is someplace within the center. To check for prime acidity (low urinary pH), I used vinegar. It turned the crystals a yellowish-orange, which might have been the mark of low urinary pH however might even have been the yellowish shade of regular urine pH. After wanting via my cats’ used litter, I noticed the same shade and could not fairly decide its place between regular and low pH. I made an appointment with my vet to have each my cats checked out, simply to be secure, and the physician mentioned they weren’t displaying any points.
In my analysis, I discovered a number of Fairly Litter prospects speaking about false positives on Reddit. Their cats’ litter crystals turned blue, however costly vet visits concluded there was nothing irregular. It is not all dangerous. I spoke to at least one buyer on Twitter who frequently fosters cats and has been utilizing Fairly Litter for round two years. She mentioned when the colour modified with a brand new batch of kittens, she took them to the vet and located they’d worms. One other buyer mentioned the crystals turned blue, detecting a UTI that was later confirmed by a vet, who was impressed the litter caught it so early.
However there’s additionally the potential of false negatives. My pal’s sister has a cat with a historical past of frequent UTIs, however the litter by no means modified shade. When she known as the corporate, a buyer consultant instructed shopping for extra litter and packing containers, an answer that did not actually make sense to her. (She famous that customer support actually pushed her to purchase extra litter when she known as to cancel her subscription, too.)
It is essential to know that stress may trigger a change to a cat’s urine pH stage. And any variety of components might induce stress, like in the event you lately moved or in the event you’re reworking your kitchen, for instance. Fairly Litter says it’s best to wait 48 hours after seeing a change in shade to see if it goes again to regular by itself. If it would not, make an appointment with a vet. If the crystals detect blood, make an appointment instantly.
Mud within the Wind
On high of the complicated shade chart, the mud ranges alone are sufficient to make me keep away from utilizing this litter going ahead. All of the veterinarians I spoke to mentioned crystal litters typically create much less mud than clay litters (which is what I normally use)—and Fairly Litter claims to be low mud too—however I didn’t discover that to be the case.
The crystals emitted clouds of mud so intense that I all the time waited for them to settle earlier than I continued scooping. Different prospects on Reddit additionally famous this. It is not nearly my discomfort, both. My cat Huxley likes to scratch on the field for what looks like hours, so he is probably inhaling these clouds of mud day in and day trip, and that makes me nervous.
Shortly after I switched to Fairly Litter, Huxley began to get watery eyes. The vet and I each assume it is from the mud. For what it is value, Eely-Rue hasn’t had this problem, however I’ve switched them each again to their clay litter to see if the issue subsides. Mud-free clay litter formulation have come a great distance (I sometimes use Arm and Hammer litter), so it is disappointing to see a lot mud with Fairly Litter.
In my not-so-scientific survey of a number of cat homeowners, clumping clay appears to be among the many hottest litter sorts. It is manufactured from extremely absorbent pure bentonite clay granules that clump collectively when liquid is absorbed. It is simple to scoop as a result of every little thing is … clumped. Scoop it day by day and alter out the entire thing about as soon as a month (or extra usually, if in case you have a number of cats). Plus, it is extensively accessible at a wide range of worth factors.
Crystal litter is manufactured from tiny silica gel beads which are extremely absorbent however do not clump. You scoop out feces and blend the urine in so the beads soak up the odor. Fairly Litter recommends scooping and mixing day by day, and changing the field about as soon as a month per cat. Since you are not scooping away as a lot, it’s best to be capable of use much less over time, which implies much less litter leads to landfills. However it might probably get smelly in the event you aren’t diligent.
You could be pondering, as I did, Isn’t silica gel poisonous? That’s a standard false impression. The packs of silica gel you discover in packages are labeled “Do Not Eat,” however Fairly Litter’s founder says that is as a result of it is a choking hazard, not as a result of it’s poisonous. If a cat licks its paws after utilizing Fairly Litter, the silica ought to safely move via their physique. It is solely an issue if ingested in massive quantities, however that applies to clay litter, too.
Marci L. Koski, a feline behaviorist and coaching marketing consultant, tells me she recommends Fairly Litter to her purchasers who’ve cats with a historical past of urinary points. However, typically, she prefers fine-grained unscented clumping clay.
“My expertise, and the issue I’ve run into with individuals, is that they suppose it’s a really low-maintenance state of affairs and so they are inclined to overlook about it,” Koski says. “It results in a buildup of solids within the litter field. At a sure level, the crystals cease absorbing and get actually smelly.”
Altering Your Cat’s Litter
If you wish to change the kind of litter you are utilizing, it’s best to introduce it to your cat slowly. Vets suggest mixing outdated and new litter collectively first.
Some cats merely do not like the best way it feels to stroll on crystal litter. In the event you discover your cat’s toilet habits are affected, do not pressure them. Return to the litter they had been utilizing earlier than. In case your cat would not like Fairly Litter, or you do not wish to be held to a subscription (which begins at $22 per 30 days), you may nonetheless concentrate on your cat’s well being at residence.
“Normally by the point cats exhibit indicators, it is properly previous the time to get them to the vet,” Koski says. “You wish to use a field you may scoop a couple of times a day. Take notice if the amount of urination has modified or if the frequency has modified. The one approach you may notice that’s by scooping your cat’s field day-after-day.”
Another indicators you may look out for, based on consultants I spoke with, are:
- Elevated frequency of urination
- Going out and in of the litter field incessantly however producing little or no urine
- Straining to urinate
- Urinating outdoors of the litter field
- Blood within the urine
- Yowling when urinating
- Elevated thirst
I finished utilizing Fairly Litter because of the mud, however I nonetheless suppose it is value making an attempt, notably in case your cat has a historical past of urinary tract infections. (When you’ve got a male cat, they’re extra inclined to urethral blockages.) I counsel mixing it with different litter, as one buyer advisable, to attempt to minimize down on mud.
On the finish of the day, there isn’t a miracle litter. Fairly Litter might probably assist, however nothing will change common checkups with a vet and your personal meticulous parenting.