I was pleased to have the opportunity to try a brand new product from Fresh Step. This new product is called Scoopable Litter With Odor-Eliminating Carbon.
Recommend this product?
I have one kitty, named Music. Thankfully Music is a perfect litter box user. He never "misses", never "forgets", and always buries his deposits. Those good habits go a long way to keeping odors under control. However, cat waste is still waste, no matter how well it's buried in the sand, and some odor still leaks through. That's where the type of litter, and the brand of litter, come into play.
The old cat litters did a decent job of covering up solid waste, but liquid waste was always a smelly problem. No matter how well the sand absorbed it, it's still filled with ammonia, and it made its presence known throughout the house. Luckily, someone came along and developed "clumping" or "scoopable" litter. This refers to a kind of litter that's designed to form liquids into solid balls, or clumps. These clumps can be scooped out of the box, at the same time that you remove the solid waste. Thus you're left with only clean litter in the box. After scooping, you add a little more litter, to maintain a depth of 3 to 4 inches. You only have to completely change and clean the box once a month.
All of this is great, in theory. In practice, however, there are some pitfalls.
The solidness of the clumps varies by brand. The better brands create clumps that are much more solid, and thus, easier to remove without them breaking apart. Once a clump breaks apart, you're left with small pieces of soiled litter in the box, which can not be easily removed. This affects the freshness of the remaining litter, and in fact goes against the entire theory behind scooping out the waste. Especially troublesome are the corners and sides of the litter boxes. Clumps that form in these areas are particularly difficult to remove, and have a greater tendency to fall apart. Again, different brands work better than others in this regard.
So, a primary concern for me & Music is how well the clumps solidify.
The second most important factor for us, is how does the box smell in between scoopings. Meaning, how well does the litter mask odors while there's waste in the box. I have hopes that this product will do a superior job, given the addition of activated carbon to the mixture.
Another concern for us is how does the clean litter smell? Some are scented, some smell like clay, and some have virtually no scent. Music doesn't seem to care, but I prefer the clean litter to have a nice scent. I don't care for the ones that smell like clay.
A final concern is the dust factor. Some brands create a whole lot more dust than other brands. When pouring the litter into the box, I don't want a giant dust ball rising up to assault my sinuses. Same for when I scoop the waste from the box.
With these concerns in mind, I set out to test this new product.
The litter is gray, with blue particles. It looks the same as other products I've tried. So, I wonder, where is the carbon? I was expecting to see some black particles in there. A quick check on the Fresh Step website clarifies for me where the carbon is, and what it is intended to do:
We use a special process to infuse every litter granule with activated carbon. The carbon acts like a magnet for organic-based odors by grabbing them and holding them to the surface of the carbon. In other words, cat waste odors actually get absorbed.
Ah ha. So that explains why I don't see the carbon anywhere... it's embedded within the granules.
How does the clean litter smell? Not bad! It has a nice, fresh scent. Not flowery, or anything like that, but not overly clay-like either.
How's the dust ball factor? Well - I'm afraid it doesn't score too highly here. Pouring 3-4 inches of litter into the box resulted in a huge cloud of dust rising up to fill the air. Not too pleasant. You definitely want to shield your nose and mouth when you're pouring this stuff. It's no worse, but no better, than other clumping litters I've tried.
After Music did his thing, I got to test the real important factors - the solidness of the clumps, and masking of the odors. I didn't have to wait long; Music was quite obliging.
First the masking of the odors: I purposely let the waste sit in the box for several hours, before scooping it out. I was pleased to discover that the litter does a great job of masking the odor from the liquid waste. I got pretty up close & personal (Oh, what I'm willing to do for the sake of Epinions) and have to say that liquid waste odor was very well masked. The solid waste, however, is still a problem. No worse than other litters, but no better, either. Good thing the solid waste is always easy to scoop out.
Now for the clumping factor: Wow - this stuff does a great job clumping! The clumps are very solid, and easy to remove without breakage. Music was very eager to test all facets of this product, so he made sure to deposit a sample right in the corner of the box. And, again, the clump came out with just the tiniest amount of breakage. We are impressed. A solid four paws up when it comes to clumping!
Unfortunately, while cleaning the box, again, the dust was a definite factor. I often wonder just what it is that's rising into my eyes and nose as I clean the box.
This litter smells nice fresh out of the box, does a good job masking the ammonia odors from liquid waste, and clumps like a champ. The only thing it doesn't do well is control the dust. A solid 4 meows out of 5 from me & Music.
My local supermarket sells this product for $6.99, for 21 pounds, which is comparable to other brands.
I want to thank Fleishman-Hillard for sending me a free 14 pound sample of Fresh Step Scoopable Litter with Odor Eliminating Carbon, in exchange for my honest opinion, posted here at Epinions.
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