Silica cat litter is a fairly inexpensive cat litter option which is safe for cats and simple to clean and maintain. While there aren’t as many silica cat litters on the market as traditional clay, that doesn’t make this material any worse of a choice for your beloved cat. Silica cat litters work differently than clay, wood, paper and typical cat litters, and that leaves this type of litter often misunderstood.


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In this article, not only do we break down the benefits of using silica kitty litter, but we discuss how the crystal granules work to control odor and absorb liquid. We also talk about key components to look for when choosing the best silica cat litter for your fancy felines. Most importantly, we share our top six silica cat litter recommendations.

5 Benefits of Using a Crystal (Silica) Cat Litter

Although silica gel cat litters aren’t as common as some of the other leading cat litter materials, they can have similar traits. Certain benefits may also be similar to those of mainstream litter options, but silica cat litter has a few of their own.

  1. Good for respiratory health: Silica ball cat litters won’t cause airborne clouds when your cat is sifting through their litter, or when you’re pouring it for replenishment. Silica litters are typically dust free, which will help keep your entire household healthier. No more inhaling fragrances and perfumes.
  2. Gentle on your cat’s paws: Silica gel cat litter is often soft and fine, making it gentle on your cat’s paws. This is a great benefit for kittens, senior cats, post-surgical cats and kitties who have sensitive paws.
  3. Can be reused longer: Moisture evaporates from silica litter or is absorbs via pores, which means you can reuse it for a longer period of time than traditional clay litter. This helps keep excess litter out of landfills.
  4. Excellent odor control: Silica litter is known to absorb and eliminate odor better than some of the more common cat litter types.
  5. Non-toxic: Most kitty cat litters are non-toxic, a wonderful benefit for the environment and your cat’s health. Some silica ball cat litters are even biodegradable!

Since silica gel litters for cats are different that standard, more common cat litters, below we explain how they work.

How Silica Cat Litters Work

Many silica cat litter brands suggest that there is no scooping of urine needed after your cat uses their litter box. But why? Where does the urine go if there’s no clumping properties? Silica gel granules consist of tiny pores than we cannot see at a glance. These pores absorb moisture and urine that the granules come in contact with. After your kitty makes a pit stop at their box to urinate, simply stir up the litter. This will help the silica gel litter adsorb all of the liquid. When maintained properly, the urine will not reach the bottom of the litter box.

Another important fact to note is that silica get and crystalline silica are two completely different materials. Silica gel is safe for cats, while crystalline silica is not. Silica gel and crystalline silica are comprised of different minerals. Crystalline silica is not present in silica gel cat litters, so you do not need to worry about the risk.

5 Components to Look for in a Good Silica Cat Litter

Here are some factors to consider when purchasing the best silica cat litter for your kitties:

  1. Particle size: A good silica litter will have small or tiny granules. Large granules can potentially be uncomfortable for your cat’s paws. Another benefit to using a silica litter with small granules is it can be used in sifting and mechanical litter boxes. However, larger particles will be better for cats with long hair because they won’t easily get stuck in their fur.
  2. Eco-friendly: Not all silica gel cat litters are biodegradable, but some are! If you want to do your part in helping the environment, we suggest choosing a silica crystal litter that specifically states it is biodegradable. Remember to check the labeling!
  3. Infused with herbs: For cats who are struggling to use the litter box due to stress or behavior, you may consider purchasing a silica litter for cats that is infused with natural essences. These herbs will attract your cat to the litter box and help reduce stress.
  4. Weight of the litter: Most silica kitty litters are lightweight. Using a lightweight litter is beneficial because it’s easy to carry, pour and dispose of.
  5. Clumping: Silica cat litters are available in clumping and non-clumping options. What you choose strictly comes down to preference. It’s important to note, however, that a majority of crystal cat litters are non-clumping due to the way the granules work.

Next up we outline our six silica cat litter recommendations.

Overall Best Silica Cat Litter

Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Respiratory Relief Silica Gel Cat Litter

Key Benefits:

  • Veterinarian formulated
  • Hypoallergenic
  • No plant proteins, perfumes or deodorants
  • Biodegradable
  • Infused with herbs for stress reduction

Dr. Elsey’s cat litter made of silica gel takes the top spot on our list because of its quality and eco-friendliness. All of Dr. Elsey’s cat litters were formulated by Dr. Elsey himself, so you can trust that your cats will be using a top-notch, dependable product.

Like many other gel litters, this one is free of perfumes and added fragrances. But unlike some of the other options, Dr. Elsey’s is biodegradable and infused with herbal enzymes. These essences help kitties who suffer from stress. This silica cat litter is virtually dust free and hypoallergenic, great for cats with respiratory concerns. It’s also an excellent choice if any humans in your home suffer from allergies.

Pros:

  • Formulated by Dr. Elsey
  • Hypoallergenic and low dust
  • Eco-friendly
  • Helps reduce stress in cats
  • No added perfumes or deodorants
  • Great for multi-cat households

Cons:

  • Not a clumping litter
  • Not recommended for long hair cats

Fresh Step Crystals Cat Litter

Key Benefits:

  • Absorbs odor more effectively than clay
  • Lightweight
  • Gentle on your cat’s paws
  • Virtually dust free
  • Cost-effective

Runner-Up Best Silica Cat Litter: Fresh Step has a variety of cat litters available for cat parents, and we like this silica crystals litter. It absorbs and eliminates odor 5x as quickly as the leading clay litter. This lightweight litter is super soft for sensitive cat paws, and cats of all ages. Other benefits of this litter being lightweight are the fact that it’s easy to carry, pour and dispose of.

Fresh Step Crystals Cat Litter is virtually dust free, and scooping is a breeze! The crystals are easy to maintain, replenish and cleanup. We also appreciate that this silica cat litter is cost-effective.

Pros:

  • Lightweight for easy transport and replenishing
  • Good for mechanical litter boxes
  • Gentle on sensitive and post-surgical paws
  • Quickly absorbs moisture
  • Cost-effective

Cons:

  • Not a clumping litter
  • Not flushable or biodegradable

The Fresh Step silica cat litter is a good option for your wallet, but we share our favorite budget-friendly silica cat litter below.

Frisco Crystal Summer Clean Scent Multi-Cat Litter

Key Benefits:

  • Low dust formula
  • Odor-locking crystals for maximum absorption
  • Great for multi-cat households
  • Soft on paws
  • Light summer scent

Best Budget-Friendly Silica Litter: Frisco silica litter is a low dust formula that offers high absorption without wasting litter. High performance odor protection and liquid absorption means that you use less litter, which saves you money in the end. And with this excellent budget-friendly silica litter, you are already making your wallet happy!

We like that this litter works wonders in houses with lots of kitty friends. If you have cats with sensitive paws, or finicky cats, this litter is gentle and soft. A light summer scent adds a hint of freshness to your cat’s litter box area. This Frisco silica litter is also low dust, so you don’t have to worry about dusty clouds kicking up from your cat’s box. The cats and humans in your home will no doubt breathe easier.

Pros:

  • Fresh summer scent
  • Budget-friendly
  • Low dust
  • Recommended for multi-cat homes
  • Gentle on paws
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Not a clumping formula

Our silica cat litter recommendations don’t end there. We have three more top rated picks for you!

3 More Top Rated Silica Litters

Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Long Hair Litter

It can be hard to find a good cat litter that doesn’t get stuck in your long hair cat’s beautiful fur. But your search ends with this Dr. Elsey’s silica cat litter! It’s made of larger silica gel particles that won’t become matted in your cat’s fur. Like other Dr. Elsey’s cat litters, this one is biodegradable, non-toxic and hypoallergenic. We like this this silica cat litter is infused with hydrolyzed herbs for cats who may be unsure about using the litter box. The herbs act as an attractant, which can be great for kittens as well.

Ultra Pearls Micro Crystal Cat Litter

This silica cat litter is made up of sand-like granules. Just because the silica gel crystals are tiny doesn’t mean they aren’t powerful! The crystals offer superior odor control and liquid absorption for an ultra-clean litter box experience. Moisture and liquid is immediately absorbed on contact. The Ultra Pearls silica cat litter is non-toxic and will last longer than traditional litters.

Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Senior Litter

Dr. Elsey’s makes our list again with the silica cat litter for our senior feline friends. Tiny, fine granules trap odor and moisture instantly, so your cat’s litter box stays clean and dry. A fine coat of dust dehydrates cat feces to reduce odor and ensure your cat’s genital area stays clean. This is important because it reduces the risk of kidney failure and urinary tract infection in your senior cat. We appreciate that this Dr. Elsey’s silica cat litter is also non-toxic and biodegradable.

Cat parents often have a lot of questions about silica gel cat litters, so we’ve answered the most popular ones below.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why are most silica cat litters non-clumping? – Most silica get cat litters do not have clumping properties because they absorb moisture and odor through small pores in the crystal granules. Silica gel cat litter often just needs to be stirred and cleaned. Since silica litter is generally non-clumping, it’s crucial that you stir it to maintain it on a regular basis. All cat litter needs to be taken care of everyday, silica just requires stirring instead of scooping.
  • Will silica litters work in mechanical litter boxes? – A majority of silica gel cat litters are appropriate for mechanical and sifting litter boxes. The smaller the granules are, the more likely it is to work with a mechanical litter box. We recommend checking the labeling and instructions on the specific cat litter that you are interested in purchasing.
  • Are silica cat litters dust free? – Silica litters are typically 99.9% dust free. Always check the product labeling, as every brand and litter differs.
  • Are all silica litters biodegradable? – No. Some silica gel cat litters are biodegradable, but some aren’t. Some of our recommendations are indeed biodegradable. The cat litter you purchase will tell you whether or not it is biodegradable on the label or packaging.
  • Is silica litter toxic to dogs? – Silica gel cat litter is basically comprised of sand, oxygen and water. Although it’s unlikely to harm dogs or cats if ingested, we recommend seeking veterinary attention if your pet shows signs of illness or upset tummy after ingesting it. You can also contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center if you have concerns or questions.

Conclusion

After reading this article, we hope that you have a better understanding of how silica gel cat litter works, and the benefits that this type of litter offers. Of course every litter differs from brand to brand, and key components will be unique. We’ve suggested a wide variety of silica litter options so you can make a choice depending on your cat’s age and lifestyle, or your personal preferences.

Remember to always check your cat litter’s packaging and labels to determine the best means of disposal. Not all cat litters are biodegradable or flushable. The labels will also tell you if that litter is appropriate for a mechanical litter box. Be sure to thoroughly wash your hands after cleaning and handling cat litter, as to avoid spreading bacterial infection.

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