Moisture and Your Crystal Cat Litter

The biggest variable in odor control in cat litter is your choice of crystal litter. Using a premium crystal such as Just the Crystals and doing an occasional “rake and stir” will extend the life of your litter significantly and at the same time reduce odor. This is a very important point that can make a huge difference in both extending the life of your crystals and in reducing odors. Stirring them around will allow them to release moisture to the air (not urine, but water vapor) and will generally allow them to then be able to absorb more liquid and odor. 

“Reality vs. advertising”: While crystal litter is very, very good the best way to get the most of it is to do an occasional stir of the litter and and at the same time rake out excess dried feces.  The operative word is “occasional” -- maybe once every other day is ideal. It really helps, and is still less trouble and smell than any other litter you have used. Cats tend to always urinate in the same spot, so what we mean by “stir” is to rake up the crystals from this dampest spot and distribute (really mix them in) with the dry crystals. This allows them to release moisture to the air (called "off "gassing) and extends crystal life significantly.

Remember, moisture is the enemy of your crystal cat litter. Placement of your litter box in a dry, well ventilated area will pay huge dividends in getting the most out of it.

A great tip from one of our customers to help you extend crystal life:

My tip on making the litter last longer: good air circulation. Silica gel absorbs liquid fairly quickly, and releases it as water vapor fairly slowly.

When used as litter, it absorbs urine and desiccates solid waste. Unless the silica gel itself can dry out (by releasing water vapor), it won’t last long at all in a litter box. So, it works better in the summer than in the winter, and better on dry days than rainy ones.

If you can place the litter box where there’s a breeze, the litter will last a lot longer. Or, you can try what I’ve recently done: put a small fan above the box, so that it constantly blows air down onto the litter.

During the winter and spring, the litter has been lasting only 10 days with two cats whereas in the summer it was stretching out to 14 days). With the fan in the spring, the litter was still OK after 15 days.

The litter still needs to be stirred every few days, especially towards the end of its useful life.
— Chuck

Controlling/Reducing Dust

Sadly, dust seems to be a component of just about all cat litters, some worse than others. Clay litter has a particularly bad reputation for dust, and crystal litter isn’t completely immune from producing dust. There are several variables in what causes dust on crystal litter, the two chief ones being the manufacturing process and the other being handling during shipping. Even the top premium brands (Just the Crystals included) if handled roughly will develop a certain amount of dust in the bag. (Just picture all those little crystals being jostled around and grinding against each other during transit).

The time when the dust is most noticeable is when pouring into the litter box or tray. The way you can significantly reduce this is to try the following:

  • Sit the unopened bag in the box or tray
  • Cut off the top and gently lay the bag down
  • Slide the bag away from the litter, instead of pouring it out
  • Gently spread evenly in the tray or box

What you’ll find is that this will most significantly reduce dusting and after the litter is in the tray (and gets one or two “uses”) dust won’t be a problem!

Odor Control Tips

Food

Beyond doing the suggested regular "rake and stir" the largest single part of controlling odor is what goes into your cat. The right cat food can make a huge difference between a miserably stinky environment and one that’s odor free. Just as in humans, you'll need to do some experimenting and research to learn what foods work best for your cat (and is the least offensive smelling), however as cats are oblige carnivores, a good rule of thumb is to feed your cat as little grain as possible and as much raw food as you can.

The best all-around resource we've found to date is www.catinfo.org -- totally worth a browse!

 

More miscellaneous tips

Jim from Hawaii dropped us an email with his solution for a bit more odor control: he sprinkles a light layer of baking soda in the box just before pouring the crystals in. (Thanks Jim)