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Clay litter vs Blue Naturally Fresh

I don't eat walnuts so its - oh kitty litter!
photo by Wendy Warwick White

How does all-natural, toxin-free, biodegradable Blue walnut-based cat litter compare to clay? At first glance it looks like an expensive replacement for the dusty old clay litters, but is it? Blue Buffalo claims that, in commissioned separate independent studies, one bag of Naturally Fresh Quick-Clumping, Scented Multi-Cat Quick-Clumping, or Herbal Attraction Quick-Clumping litter has a liquid absorption capacity at least three times greater per ounce than the leading clay-based litter as well as long-lasting absorbency.

What about odor control? It is made from walnut shells grown in the USA. Do walnut shells control urine odor? Blue Naturally Fresh allegedly offers better control of ammonia odors than other leading clumping litters. How well do ground-up walnut shells clump? Apparently Naturally Fresh forms harder clumps than the leading pine, corn and wheat clumping litters.

The main point of interest though is the dust. Once more Naturally Fresh scores; it is also virtually dust-free and low tracking. So far so good; on paper Naturally Fresh is the front runner. The real test is to try it side by side with a quality clay litter.

To be honest I was perfectly happy with the clay litter I had been using for my three cats with the exception of the dust it made. Even the low dust versions seemed to quickly coat everything in the room with a film of grey. On the few occasions I had tried other types of litters they proved to be sadly lacking and I always reverted to the clay.

The test; as I trust Blue Buffalo food products for my leukemia positive cats and I had a voucher for Naturally Fresh I thought I would try it. One of the two 21”X16”X6” litter boxes shared by two adult cats was filled with Alpine Meadow Scented Multi-Cat Quick-Clumping Formula, the other had the usual clay. Both were filled to the same level. The third litter box used exclusively by the third cat initially had a mixture of both so is not really a true comparison and thus isn’t included.

The results; there were no problems introducing a different looking, smelling and textured litter, and the cats continued to use both boxes as before. The level in the clay-filled litter box dropped significantly faster. Over a three week period I used two 20lb boxes of clay litter compared to one 14lb bag of the Blue. The Naturally Fresh clumps well but slightly differently. The clumps are softer, lighter and a little more fragile but generally stay together well. Gentle scooping is sufficient; the clumps don’t need chiseling off the sides or bottom of the box. Initially I thought the cats were tracking more of the Naturally Fresh out of the box but no, being dark brown it just shows up more easily on the grey tile floor than the clay does.

The real bonuses though are that the bags are much lighter than for the equivalent volume of clay litter and, since changing over exclusively to Blue Naturally Fresh, no dust!

There are choices too. Blue Naturally Fresh comes in a variety of formulas safe for both cats and kittens. There is even a formula, Herbal Attraction Litter, containing naturally scented herbs aimed at attracting and encourage litter-box-shy cats to return to using their litter boxes. This time I am trying the multi-cat unscented and it is doing its job just fine; no stinky litter boxes and no dust.

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