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I had seen paper litter a few times and though dubious about how well it would work I did want to try it out because I thought it would be the safest product for my cat with no chemicals in it and also because I did like the idea of buying something that was friendly for the environment.
I chose Smart Cat paper litter solely because I saw it on a website when browsing and made a spur of the moment decision to purchase it and see if it was any good.
It cost me £11.99 for a 30 litre bag which is quite expensive in comparison to the cheap litter but as this was touted as being environmentally friendly I expected to pay a premium on it. Being made of paper the bag is surprisingly light and was easy to carry from the delivery man.
Inside the bag the litter itself is quite loose bits of paper as opposed to paper that has been compressed into little hard pellets. It is grey in colour and according to the manufacturers it is made with 100% recyclable materials. You only need a small amount of the litter to fill the tray but make sure you give it a good shake as it does have a tendency to stick together.
It made a nice change to fill the litter tray without a cloud of dust surrounding me but Dashiel was a little unsure of it to begin with. He is really fussy at the best of times and when I first used this he kept going up to sniff it but wasn't making any sort of move to actually go in his tray and use it. As I had already bought it I was determined he was at least going to try it so I lifted him in a few times and in the end he got over his initial hesitance and decided he would give it a try.
The litter is supposed to be able to absorb three times its own weight in moisture but I would have to question this as I didn't really think it absorbed all that much to be honest. In fact after using it just the once a large section of his tray was absolutely sodding and he refused to go back in it again until I removed the offending litter and put some more in. Because from one pee it sort of spread to half the litter in the tray it meant that I went through a ton of the litter everyday as it had to be removed each time he used it.
Removing the wet litter from the tray wasn't anywhere near as easy as just removing a little patch of clumped litter and the longer it was in the tray wet the more difficult it was to scrape out and I found that it would actually stick to the bottom of the tray.
The paper litters odour fighting properties weren't all that great either and I could smell the urine from the tray much more than I ever could with traditional litters. I'm sure Dashiel found this offensive too as he spent far less time in the room where his litter tray is than normal.
The biggest thing that I disliked about this paper litter had to be the fact that it would still to Dashiels paws and get all over the house. I would literally find bits of wet paper stuck to everything which really can't be hygienic. It also would get stuck to his paws and legs and he would run around going crazy trying to get it off.
Although I liked how natural this paper litter was and the fact that it is good for the environment I wouldn't recommend it. There were just too many problems with using it. The smell would permeate the room and the fact that urine soaked bits of paper would stick to Dashiels paws then turn up on my surfaces and furniture were the biggest bug bearer about this litter for me but even without that it still just isn't very good at doing what it is supposed to and absorbing pee and even the cheap tesco litter is better than this in my opinion.
After my first experience with a paper litter not being great I decided rather than give up I'd try another brand to see if it worked any better than the first one. The one I chose was this Smart Cat paper litter which cost me £11.04 for a 30 litre bag from www.vetuk.co.uk. The difference between this one and the last one was mainly the pieces of litter weren't in compressed particles.
Smart Litter paper litter comes in a plastic bag that you slit where you want to and boasts it can absorb 3 times its own weight in moisture, being recycled paper it's good for the environment and can be disposed of by burning it, using it on the compost heap or flushing small amounts down the toilet. It is naturally dust free and much lighter to move the bag around than the wood litter I usually use.
When my delivery arrived I noticed the delivery man sweating and struggling less than with the previous order so either this was a bit lighter or he was getting used to the workout! On opening the box I found 2 bags of litter tightly packed together and my first thought was the bags didn't look especially big but as they are 30 litres they should last the same amount of time as 30 litres of other litter. Once I had the bags stacked in the area I wanted them I opened one to have a look. The litter inside is in blobs of light grey paper, blobs isn't a technical term I know but that's the best way I can describe them! That explains why the bags don't look huge, there's no hard bits to accommodate. The colour was lighter grey than the previous brand but I still wondered if grey was practical for me and my lad as he's had urinary issues in the past that are easily identified by blood in the tray. Still we had 2 bags to go at so I at least wanted to try it.
As this litter isn't in hard pellets it is easier on both paws and feet should you stand on it but it gets absolutely everywhere! The soft bits of paper got stuck on my feet and tracked as far as in my bed, and my boy likes to wander through his 3 trays a few times getting in and out before he settles on one and I noticed this stuff was all around the tray area after just one visit, obviously it gets stuck on paws as much as on feet! Not a problem if he liked it and it worked well but something to bear in mind.
The scoop I use is an old saucepan and I found it took rather alot of this litter to fill trays, the lack of pellet shapes makes it stick together a bit and I often ended up using more than I thought I needed. As we were already using paper litter I didn't worry about introducing it gradually, my lad is very adaptable and didn't bat an eyelash at me adding a new litter. Once we had the trays ready it was merely a case of waiting until my lad used them.
The last paper litter gave off a sulphur kind of smell at times when wet and this one did too, not as strong as the compressed litter but still very much there when I went near the trays. As I said before I'd rather smell cat pee than sulphur. It did absorb some of the liquid but not all as the wood litter always does and I still found puddles rolling around under the litter at times. I'm usually at home and clean the trays as they get used so nothing ever stays in there for more than a few minutes during the day but this lacked odour control as the last paper one did. Scooping litter out used alot each time because of the way this sticks together and because of the lack of absorbency so I found we got through it really quickly.
On the plus side it stays light even when wet, was softer on feet and paws and compares price wise to the wood litter we usually have. However once we reached the end of the 2 bags my lad came down with a UTI and I couldn't see the red in his urine, I actually only knew because years of experience in this have taught me other things to watch out for so I found myself dabbing at the side of the tray and the wet litter with a piece of white kitchen roll and lo and behold there was the red tinge I'd been expecting to find. So grey in whatever shade isn't a good idea for cats who have a history or tendency towards bladder problems. That's been the main factor in my decision to return to pale wood litter that reveals this easily.
Overall it was another middle of the road performance with the weight of the litter, how soft it feels, the lack of dust and the price all in its favour but the poor absorbency, sulphur smell (what is that all about ??!), grey colouring and needing to use alot to fill a tray against it. A middle of the road 3 stars seems fitting.