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How clumping cat litter keeps your home fresh and clean
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How clumping cat litter keeps your home fresh and clean

Are you tired of coming home to the overwhelming smell of your cat's litter tray? Smelly litter trays are undoubtedly the worst part of owning a cat (well, in our opinion it’s the only bad part!). Keeping your home fresh and clean is essential for creating a comfortable living environment, and clumping cat litter can play a crucial role in achieving that. 

Unlike traditional cat litter, which can leave behind unpleasant odours after each use, clumping cat litter forms tight, solid clumps that are easy to scoop and remove, trapping odours in the process. Not only does this make cleaning up after your cat so much easier, but it also helps to eliminate bad odours, leaving your home smelling clean and fresh. With its superior odour control and convenience, clumping cat litter is the perfect solution for cat owners who want to maintain a pleasant and hygienic living space. So, why settle for a smelly home when you can say goodbye to litter tray odour with clumping cat litter?

Why do cat litter trays smell so bad?

Smelly litter trays are such a big issue with cat ownership. When your cat pees on traditional non-clumping litter such as wood pellets, silica or clay, the pee may be partially absorbed by the litter but some of it will sit on the bottom of the tray or on top of the litter. The pee isn’t being removed from the litter tray regularly and therefore it starts to smell after a while. 

The other thing with non-clumping litter is that, say 50 or so pellets or grains get saturated with urine, it’s near impossible to isolate all of these ‘bits’ of litter and remove them from the tray, so you’re nearly always left with urine soaked litter in the tray. Again, over time (a few hours) this starts to smell very strongly.

Why does cat pee smell so strongly of ammonia?

We’ve talked about urine remaining in the tray with non-clumping litters and why this contributes to a litter tray smelling so badly, but the question of why cat pee smells so bad still remains. We all know that strong “cat pee” odour that smells so strongly of ammonia.

Urine from a healthy cat actually only contains a small amount of ammonia - about 0.05%. This is the same as the amount of ammonia in human urine. However, cat urine contains about 2% of urea (again, the same as human urine) which is converted to ammonia by an enzyme produced by bacteria present in litter trays. This is why litter trays that either: contain non-clumping litter where you’re not removing all the urine or contain clumping litter and are not cleaned out very regularly end up smelling strongly of ammonia and that “cat pee” smell we all know and hate! 

So what can you do to avoid the situation where you have urea being converted to ammonia in your cat’s litter tray and ultimately have a fresh and clean smelling home? The answer is: switch to clumping litter!

What is clumping cat litter?

Clumping litter is made from a variety of materials, including plant fibres (wood, corn etc.), clay and silica gel.  As the name suggests, this type of litter forms clumps when it comes into contact with urine or faeces, making it easy to scoop out and dispose of. When your cat urinates in the litter tray, the liquid is absorbed by the litter and forms clumps that are easy to scoop out. This makes it easy to keep the litter tray clean and fresh, as you can remove the clumps soon after they form. 

Some litters clump better than others, so you'll often hear people discussing 'how well a litter clumps'. What they mean is, how stable or solid is the clump so when you scoop it out, it doesn't fall apart. The reason this is important is because you want all of the clumped litter to be easily removed from the tray as it holds the urine and therefore the smell. If the clump collapses, the urine soaked litter will remain in the tray. 

Different litters take different amounts of time to form a solid clump. For example, Tippaws Long-lasting Clumping Litter is best left for at least 15 minutes so that the litter has time to absorb all the urine and form the solid clump.

Different litters form different shaped clumps. It's a myth that a clump has to be perfectly round to indicate good clump performance. Particularly as this would rely on a cat peeing perfectly in one place to form it! As long as your clump is absorbing all the urine and forming a stable, solid clump, the litter is performing well.

However, there are some potential downsides to using some clumping litters so it's very important you choose the right one. Some cats may be sensitive to the dust that is produced when the litter is scooped, which can cause respiratory problems. For this reason you should choose a dust-free natural litter or a low-dust natural litter.

In addition, clumping litter can be more expensive than non-clumping litter at face-value. However, you need to do a lot more full tray changes with a non-clumping litter so it can work out the same price. Even if it does work out to be more expensive, the cost is worth it to reduce the huge environmental impact of litter. 

Traditionally the UK is a "Non-Clumping" litter market. This means that we as a nation use more non-clumping litter than clumping litter, about 80% vs. 20%. As more and more people in the UK get a cat, now 11 million of us, people are realising the value of clumping litter over non-clumping litter and we'll discuss this in depth. 

How does clumping cat litter work?

The magic of clumping cat litter lies in its ability to form tight, solid clumps upon contact with certain liquids, cat urine being one of them. This is due to the clumping agents the litter is made from. Not all litter will clump with all liquids, for example Tippaws Long-lasting Clumping Litter is not designed to clump on contact with water. 

Benefits of using clumping cat litter

  1. Easy to clean: Clumping litter forms clumps when it comes into contact with urine or faeces, making it easy to scoop out and dispose of. This makes cleaning the litter tray a more convenient and efficient process.

  2. Lasts longer and costs less in the long run: Clumping litter absorbs moisture more efficiently, meaning it tends to last longer than non-clumping litter. This means you don't have to replace it as often, saving you time and money in the long run

  3. Reduces odour: Clumping litter can help reduce unpleasant odours associated with cat waste. When clumps are removed regularly, it reduces the amount of waste in the litter tray, which in turn reduces the smell.

  4. More hygienic: Since clumping litter makes it easy to remove waste, it helps keep the litter tray more hygienic. This can help prevent the spread of germs and bacteria that can be harmful to both cats and their owners.

  5. Better for the environment: Using clumping litter will reduce your overall litter waste and is better for the environment. If you use a compostable litter, you can also compost your litter reducing its impact on the environment even further

  6. Convenient for multi-cat households: Clumping litter is especially beneficial for multi-cat households where litter boxes can quickly become overwhelmed with waste. With clumping litter, it's easier to keep the litter box clean and reduce the risk of odours and hygiene issues.

Different types of clumping cat litter available

When it comes to clumping cat litter, there are various options available on the market. Each brand and formulation offers its own unique features and benefits. Some common types of clumping cat litter include:

  1. Natural or plant-based litter: Plant-based litter, such as corn, wood or wheat, is a natural and biodegradable option. It clumps when exposed to liquid and is often favoured by environmentally conscious cat owners.

  2. Bentonite-based litter: This type of litter is made from natural clay, which clumps together when it comes into contact with liquid. It provides good odour control but producing bentonite cat litter is very damaging to the environment.

  3. Silica gel litter: Silica gel litter is made from silica crystals that absorb moisture and form solid clumps. It is known for its superior absorption capabilities but again, is damaging to the environment. 

  4. Scented litter: Some clumping cat litters are infused with scents to mask odours and leave a pleasant fragrance in your home. These scents can range from floral to citrus, allowing you to choose the one that suits your preference. We strongly advise against using scented litter - a cat’s sense of smell is 14 times stronger than a human’s so having a floral or citrus litter will be extremely unpleasant for your cat. 

When choosing the right clumping cat litter for your cat, consider factors such as your cat's preferences, any allergies or sensitivities, and your personal preferences in terms of odour control and environmental impact. 

Tips for choosing the best clumping litter

Choosing the right clumping cat litter can make a significant difference in managing litter tray odour and maintaining a clean home. Here are some tips to help you make an informed decision:

  1. Consider your cat's preferences: Some cats have specific preferences when it comes to litter texture and scent. If your cat has shown a preference for a particular type of litter in the past, it may be worth gradually transitioning to a new one.

  2. Evaluate odour control: Look for clumping cat litters that offer superior odour control and say they are tight clumping like Tippaws Long-lasting Clumping Litter.

  3. Assess dust levels: Dust can be a concern, especially if you or your cat have respiratory sensitivities. Choose clumping cat litters with low-to-no dust content to minimise any potential issues.

  4. Consider environmental impact: If sustainability is important to you, opt for plant-based or eco-friendly clumping cat litters. These options are biodegradable and often made from renewable resources.

  5. Read customer reviews: Take the time to read customer reviews and feedback on different clumping cat litters. This can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness, clumping ability, and overall satisfaction of other cat owners.

How to properly maintain a litter tray with clumping cat litter

Proper maintenance of your cat's litter tray is the most important element of ensuring your litter is effective at controlling litter tray odours. We cannot stress this enough. We often here people making the switch from non-clumping to clumping litter and leaving clumps in the tray for 2-3 days. This completely defeats the purpose of using a clumping litter as:

  1. Your cat will likely kick the clumps around when they are burying their pee, breaking them up and making it impossible for you to get every bit of urine soaked litter out of the tray 

  2. It gives the urea in the tray time to be converted into ammonia by the bacteria in the urine and immediately your tray will start to smell

You should be scooping your clumps out every day at least once a day, ideally twice a day. And you should scoop faeces out of the tray as soon as you notice it. 

At Tippaws, we are very passionate about regular scooping as you can tell from this article and our Instagram stories! It will help reduce litter tray odour AND litter tray waste massively.

Here are some steps to help you maintain a clean and fresh litter tray:

  1. Scoop clumps regularly: Remove solid clumps and waste from the litter tray on a daily basis. This will help prevent odours from building up and ensure your cat has a clean place to do its business.

  2. Sift regularly: Use a scoop that is made for your litter and every few days take 2-3 mins to sift through your litter to ensure any breakaway clumps are removed from the tray. If you have 2 or more cats you will likely need to do this as one cat may go to the loo after the other and kick a clump.

  3. Top up litter as needed: As you scoop out the clumps, you may notice that the level of litter decreases. Add fresh litter as needed to maintain a sufficient depth for your cat to dig and cover its waste. Usually you want about 3-4 cm of litter in the tray at any time. 

  4. Clean the litter tray once every 30-40 days (depending on your cat's health, size and how many cats you have): While clumping cat litter is designed to control odours, it's still important to clean the litter tray periodically. Empty the litter tray completely and wash it with mild soap and water. Make sure to dry it thoroughly before refilling it with fresh litter.

  5. Replace the litter tray when necessary: Over time, the litter tray may become worn or develop odours that are difficult to remove. If this happens, it's best to replace the litter tray entirely to ensure a hygienic environment for your cat.

By following these maintenance steps, you can ensure that your cat's litter tray remains clean and odour-free, providing a comfortable space for your cat.

How much cat litter should I use?

You want to ensure your litter tray has 3-4cm of cat litter in it. If you're unsure of how much this is in litres, email us and we'll be happy to advise:

Common mistakes to avoid when using clumping cat litter

  1. Using too little litter: Insufficient litter in the tray can lead to inadequate clumping and poor odour control. Make sure to maintain a sufficient depth of litter to allow for proper clumping and absorption, usually 3-4 cm. 

  2. Waiting too long to scoop: Allowing clumps to sit in the litter tray for too long can lead to increased odour and potential bacterial growth. Scoop the litter tray regularly to remove waste promptly, usually twice a day.

  3. Mixing different types of litter: Mixing different types of clumping cat litter can affect its clumping ability and overall performance. Stick to one type of litter to ensure consistent results.

  4. Overfilling the litter tray: While it's important to maintain a sufficient depth of litter, overfilling the tray can result in litter spilling over the sides and causing a mess. Follow the guidelines from your litter company for recommended litter depth.

Can kittens use clumping litter?

Yes, kittens can use clumping litter. The important decision to make here is less about the category of litter (clumping or non-clumping) and more about the composition of the litter. Check with your litter company to see if they recommend using their litter with kittens. Read our article on clumping litter vs. non-clumping litter for more information.


Say goodbye to litter tray odour and say hello to a fresh and clean home with the help of clumping cat litter. Its superior odour control and convenience make it the ideal choice for cat owners who want to maintain a pleasant and hygienic living space. By forming tight, solid clumps that are easy to scoop and remove, clumping cat litter traps odours and prevents them from spreading throughout your home. So, why settle for a smelly home when you can enjoy the benefits of clumping cat litter? Invest in clumping cat litter today and experience the difference it can make in keeping your home fresh and clean. And finally, remember… Regular scooping is absolutely essential!

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