Sunday, November 18, 2012

Product Review: Arm & Hammer Essentials Natural Clumping Litter

It's been a while since I've blogged.  We've been busy with the new-to-us house and overall things have been pretty satisfying and I haven't had anything that compelled me to write.  My experience with Arm & Hammer Essentials Natural Clumping Litter was such that I really had to talk about it.  Short version: I really, really hate this litter.  A lot.

I generally use Safeway's Premier house brand of cat litter.  It works almost as well as Tidy Cat and it's usually a few dollars cheaper. But Safeway had Arm & Hammer at $6 one Friday (down from 9.99) and there was a buy-one-get-one rebate offer so I gave it a shot.

The litter is very lightweight: it's made of corn so it weighs maybe 1/4 of what the same volume of clumping or clay litter does. It's nicely scented:  when you pour it it smells like orange zest.  Since orange oil is one of the things which eliminates urine smell very well, I was optimistic as I filled up the litter box.

The first thing we noticed was tracking.  The the stuff is so lightweight it doesn't drop off the cats' paws well and they were tracking it everywhere.  Not just on the litter mat and bathroom floor, but on the carpet, in the hall, and up on our bed.  It's everywhere. We were having to vacuum daily.

It doesn't seem dusty when you pour it, but we were appalled to see our black cat Sebastian come into the living room one day looking like he was wearing white knee socks.  I know it's natural, but I don't think my cat should need a full bath after peeing.

The cats seemed to have a hard time covering their scat with this litter, possibly because it's so lightweight.  We tried two bags so they certainly had time to adjust. The lovely orange oil scent does you no good when the cat can't cover with it. We'd wake in the middle of the night to feces smell and one of us would have to go bury it. Yuk. It also meant that we had to clean the box a lot more frequently: I was scooping twice a day because things were not buried well, which not only causes odor but can make my cats reject the box and do their business elsewhere, like on Hubby's slippers.

The litter is not hard clumping.  Urine clumps would break apart really easily when you clean the box. Either you're getting a lot of used litter falling back into the box or you're wasting a lot of unused litter as you throw it away with the clumps. This contributes to smell and sanitation issues or ends up being really wasteful.

While I used this litter every time I had to maintain the litter box I thought "I really hate this litter."  I'm right now using up the end of it because I can't stand to waste money, but I cannot wait to go back to my regular cat litter.

Final Review: A great idea but it's not quite there yet.  The light weight corn litter causes problems with tracking and coverage which creates more work for the cat owner and a less sanitary environment in general.  If you're really into all-natural, you might consider just letting your cat out to do her business.  More trouble than it's worth.

PS: I forgot this:  This review was unsolicited, and I have not been compensated for it.

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