Litter robots are a great way of using technology to do the cleaning for us. Robotically cleaned litter boxes still require a substrate or litter for our feline companions to do their business in, but not all litters are created equal or do well in a litter robot.
Crystal litter has several advantages over traditional clay-based litter and can work equally as well in Litter Robot. The key is to find the right crystal litter to use in your Litter Robot.
Clay Litter vs. Crystal Litter
Clay-based litters are heavier compared to many light-weight options, including crystals. Litter Robot uses weight sensors to determine if there is litter in the tray, when your cat is using the litter box, or when the litter has been soiled and needs sifting.
Crystal litters are much more lightweight but are still heavy enough that the sensors in Litter Robot to sense. This also makes the litter easier to carry from the car up the stairs to the litterbox. A robot litterbox can still easily sift the litter to clean out the feces and clumps of urine your feline leaves behind.
Absorption of Moisture
Compared to clumping clay litter, crystal litter does equally well in absorbing urine and clumping together. The crystals will slowly release the moisture from the urine, allowing it to become dry over time, whereas clay litters typically stay wet and won’t dry out.
Crystal litter dries feces out faster as well, keeping things nice and dry in the collection tray of your Litter Robot, especially if your cat is experiencing diarrhea, and keeping things clean.
We all hate the smell of our cat’s litter; it’s pure fact. While we love our kitties, we hate the smell of their litter boxes. Crystal litter defeats odor with chemistry! Silica-based crystal litters are great at eliminating odor better than clay-based litters. Silica crystals absorb and eliminate odors, leaving the area smelling fresher.
However, like all things with odor control and urine, the crystals will lose their edge against odors if they become oversaturated. Regular changing and refreshing of the litter will keep things fresh for longer.
Like clay litters, crystal litter clumps just as easily for clean-up and can break apart like any other clumping litter if handled roughly. When using Litter Robot, the clumps move easily by the sifter and slide right into the collection tray.
Due to the clumping capabilities of crystal litter, the litterbox bottom, rake, and any parts in contact with the litter and feces will stay cleaner. No more monthly scrubbing of the rubber bottoms or reservoirs with crystal litter, where clay litters (or natural fiber litters) can still end up sticking to the inside parts of the litter box and require regular breakdown and cleaning of those parts.
Tracking & Dust
Pouring or sifting litter of any kind creates dust, it’s inevitable. Some litters are far worse than others. Crystal litters tend to have much finer dust than clay litter, can be more irritating to lungs and sinuses, and spread farther than clay litter dust when poured or mixed.
Crystal litter can tend to track more easily since it is typically much finer than clay litter and lighter in comparison, requiring you to vacuum more frequently or to clean off the litter mat more often.
Change The Crystal Litter Often
Over time, you’ll notice that the silica crystals will become completely soaked with cat pee. When they get to that stage, you can be sure that they’ll not be effective. They won’t absorb anymore cat urine or stifle any odors. How you can tell is when you see most of the crystals are yellow or brown. This means that it’s time to refresh and change the litter!
There are some brands on the market that are rather interesting. They have blue crystals in them which will become lighter in color slowly as it interacts with moisture (aka your cat’s urine). So that’s another sign that tells you it’s time to change the litter. As a rule of thumb, crystal litter often can last about a week to around 30 days. However, don’t go off this rule strictly as it needs to be tweaked according to how many pets you have using Litter Robot.
What Else To Know
It’s crucial to understand that you should not let your cat consume crystal litter. Yes, silica gel is generally deemed to be non-toxic. But it can still cause a tummy ache or even obstruct your cat’s intestine nonetheless.
Another point to note is that when you’re first trying out crystal litter for your cat, do it slowly over a week. Start by mixing the old litter and the new one. Help your cat get used to the new crystal litter slowly with gradual exposure.
Crystal Litter has its Advantages, and Works
Crystal litters will work with Litter Robot just as well as any other type of litter. When it comes to odor and moisture control, weight, and clumping, crystal litter wins the race. The fine dust that comes with it could pose a problem for some who are more sensitive to fine dust or have allergies. But if you manage to search for one that doesn’t cause too much residual dust floating around, go for it!