Silica Cat Litter - Cat Info Detective

Silica Cat Litter

Skye Blake, Cat Info Detective, facing left

Hi all you silica sleuths! Skye Blake here, finding fascinating facts about silica cat litter…

Paw prints coming forward

What is Silica?

silica beads and packet

Silica litter consists of Type B silica xerogel white crystals. They’re formed from sodium silicate sand mixed with oxygen and water. The formation process creates a silica bead with many tiny holes or pockets. The holes allow it to adsorb (not absorb) around 40 times its weight in liquid (see below for more explanation).

You’re probably familiar with these beads from the “Do Not Eat” packets you find in medications, shoes, electronics, and other products that need to stay dry. The “Do Not Eat” sign on packets of silica gel refers to the packet itself. The silica itself is non-toxic.

curious cat

It’s important to know that when used in litter these beads are made to be safe for cats (without crystalline silicate, which can be harmful to cats).

Sometimes silica crystals are combined with sodium bentonite to create a clumping litter.

How Silica Crystal Litter Works

silica litter crystals

“…[S]ilica gel removes moisture by adsorption onto the surface of its numerous pores rather than by absorption into the bulk of the gel.”1“Silica Gel”, Wikipedia

“Adsorb can be termed as a process by which the liquid or gas is not absorbed but it only forms on the surface. Absorb is related to volume whereas adsorb is related to the surface.”2“Difference Between Adsorb and Absorb” (Emphasis added)

Crystal litter adsorbs liquid immediately and traps it inside each bead. This keeps the rest of the litter dry and traps odors well. The moisture evaporates quickly and odor-causing molecules are trapped inside. The beads keep adsorbing so they can last about a month for one cat.

silver tabby with gorgeous ice blue eyes

Silica litter works best 2-3″ deep in the box so the pee doesn’t get to the bottom. At this depth the beads can effectively absorb it. Scoop the poop every day and rake or stir the beads so moisture can evaporate from them. This will keep the litter good for quite awhile before needing to be changed. It doesn’t clump so needs to be dumped and replaced.

Silica crystal litter is not dusty and often is made so it won’t stick to paws, thereby cutting down or eliminating tracking.

The crystals come in various sizes, the smaller being softer on paws and the larger being good to keep tracking down. Some cats don’t like larger sizes because it’s hard and uncomfortable.

A Word About Pretty Litter

cat looking out a window

PrettyLitter is different from other silica cat litters in that it’s combined with things that indicate if urine pH balance is off or if blood is present. Here’s what the manufacturer says…

“Regularly check the color of the litter. Shades of yellow to olive green are an indication of typical acidity and alkalinity levels. If you notice any other colors, thoroughly mix the litter and monitor your cat’s PrettyLitter closely over the next 24 to 48 hours. If color change persists, you should consider consulting your Veterinarian.”3https://prettylitter.com/pages/faqs The FAQ page at PrettyLitter.com explains in more detail what each color indicates.

Some Brands of Silica Litter

Below are some silica litter brands for your convenience. (I make no money from them). This list is by no means exhaustive. Some places you can find silica litter… Amazon, Chewy, Chuck and Dons, Petsmart, Target, Walmart

sand/silica litter

Clumping

  • EcoKitty Eco Unscented Clumping Crystal Cat Litter
  • ExquisiCat Fragrance Free Clumping Micro Crystals Cat Litter
  • Neon Litter Unscented Clumping Crystal Cat Litter
  • Ultra Unscented Clumping Crystal Cat Litter

Non-Clumping

  • Catit Silica Scented Non-Clumping Crystal Cat Litter
  • Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Unscented Non-Clumping Crystal Cat Litter (Respiratory Relief, Long Hair)
  • Frisco Summer Clean Scented Non-Clumping Crystal Cat Litter
  • Fresh Steps Fresh Scented Non-Clumping Crystal Cat Litter
  • Litter Pearls Micro Crystal Unscented Non-Clumping Crystal Cat Litter (Micro Crystal, Tracksless, Crystal Clear)
  • PetSafe ScoopFree Non-Clumping Crystal Cat Litter (Scented, Unscented, Premium, Sensitive)
  • Pretty Litter Non-Clumping Cat Litter
  • Snappy Tom Natural Unscented Non-Clumping Crystal Cat Litter (Scented, Unscented)
  • Ultra Pearls Unscented Non-Clumping Crystal Cat Litter (Regular, Micro)

Video Reviews of Silica Cat Litter

Cameras for videos

Here are some helpful YouTube video reviews…

“Fresh Step Crystals Litter Review & Discussion of Silica Gel (Crystal) Litters”, Byromie, December 4, 2019

“Litter That Monitors Your Cat’s Health?? Pretty Litter Review”, Ashley Nicole Rice, June 7, 2018

“Pretty Litter Cat Litter Review (We Tested It for a Month)”, All About Cats, June 12, 2020

“Pretty Litter Review”, Urban Mommy, November 9, 2019

“Pretty Litter Review 30 Days Later”, Haylie Reiter, January 25, 2018

“Top 13 Best Cat Litters (We Tested Them All)”, All About Cats, April 1, 2020

“The Truth About Silica Litter”, Pretty Litter, May 26, 2020

More Litter Options

Follow these trails below if you’re curious about other litters…

BambooBiodegradable
ClayCoconut
CornGrass
HempPaper
Pine/WoodTofu
WalnutWheat
Yuca & Cane

Why Is My Cat Peeing Outside the Litter Box?The Cat Box…Location, Location, Location
Deciphering Cat Pee PatternsCleaning Cat Urine
The Territorial CatWhat’s the Best Cat Litter Box?
Symptoms of Illness in Your CatWhy Is My Cat Pooping Outside the Box?
What Are the Best Types of Cat Litter?

Sources

Sources used on this website are either primary or secondary. Primary are always preferable and have the most reliable information because primary sources are original and directly referenced. Scientific abstracts and data are good examples of primary sources.

Secondary sources are weaker because they usually consist of opinions or articles that give no sources of their own. However, sometimes they refer to primary sources. Thus, when I use secondary sources most are those with some authority, such as veterinarian or cat behaviorist books and articles.

Please note that some of the sources listed below sell litter products or link to places that do. They are for your convenience only. I make no money from them.

List of Sources

Product Information Sources: Amazon, Chewy, Chuck and Dons, Petsmart, Target, Walmart

A-H

“Absorption”, Wikipedia

“Adsorption”, Wikipedia

“Best Cat Litter for Kittens”, by Mallory Crusta

“Difference Between Adsorb and Absorb”, DifferenceBetween.net

“How Cat Litter is Made”, greenlivingideas.com

I-Z

“Kitty Litter”, by Amanda Yarnell, Chemical & Engineering News, Volume 82 Issue 17, p. 26, What’s That Stuff?, Issue Date: April 26, 2004

“Non-Tech High Tech Litters the Landscape”, Andrew Kantor (2004-12-10), USA Today

“Silica Gel”, Wikipedia

“What Is In Cat Litter? Understanding Clay, Silica and Biodegradable Cat Litters“, by Lorie Huston, DVM, PetMD

“What Is Cat Litter Made Of?”, May 1, 2014, World’s Best Cat Litter

“Which Cat Litter to Use: Silica vs. Clay-Based”, by Chris Brownlow, Chewy, Dec. 27, 2017

YouTube Videos

“Fresh Step Crystals Litter Review & Discussion of Silica Gel (Crystal) Litters”, Byromie, December 4, 2019

“Litter That Monitors Your Cat’s Health?? Pretty Litter Review”, Ashley Nicole Rice, June 7, 2018

“Pretty Litter Cat Litter Review (We Tested It for a Month)”, All About Cats, June 12, 2020

“Pretty Litter Review”, Urban Mommy, November 9, 2019

“Pretty Litter Review 30 Days Later”, Haylie Reiter, January 25, 2018

“Top 13 Best Cat Litters (We Tested Them All)”, All About Cats, April 1, 2020

“The Truth About Silica Litter”, Pretty Litter, May 26, 2020

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