PRETTY LITER is an ANIMAL’S inability to tell you when they’re not feeling well. This is the most difficult part of pet parenthood. You can’t ask your pet if they are exhibiting symptoms. You can ask them what’s wrong, but don’t expect to get an answer. Pretty Litter is a subscription-based litter service that wants to help when it comes to cats.
Coexisting with cats is not possible without a litter box. Pretty Litter claims that its crystals will change color when your cat has an illness. The founder of the company lost a cat who showed no signs of illness. The founder created this litter to monitor the health of a cat at home and to prevent other pet owners from suffering similar losses.
With the help of my cats, I put Pretty Litter crystals to the test over several weeks. To find out if the crystals are accurate, I spoke with veterinarians and cat behaviorists. Before I get into my experience, let me say that Pretty Litter should only be used along with regular vet checks ups. It should not be used in place of veterinary care.
Coding by Color
The pH of your cat’s urine can affect the color of Pretty Litter’s crystals. The crystals will change color from a normal pH urine to a yellowish or olive-green hue. A high pH urine, which could indicate a urinary tract infections (UTI), can make them turn blue. Low urinary pH crystals turn dark orange and could indicate metabolic acidosis or kidney tubular acidosis. This could lead to kidney stones. As expected, urine that is stained red may indicate bladder inflammation, bladder stones or a UTI.
It can be difficult to tell where the color falls on the scale, since it may appear somewhere in the middle. Vinegar was used to test for high acidity (low urine pH). The vinegar turned the crystals yellowish-orange. This could be a sign of low urinary pH, but it could also have been normal urine pH. After inspecting my cats’ litter, I noticed a similar color. It was difficult to determine if it was normal or low pH. To be sure, I made an appointment to see my vet and had both cats examined.
I discovered that Pretty Litter customers had posted false positives on Reddit. The litter crystals of their cats turned blue but costly vet visits determined that there was nothing abnormal. This is not necessarily a bad thing. One customer I spoke with on Twitter said she regularly fosters cats. She has used Pretty Litter for about two years. According to her, the kittens’ color changed when she got a new batch. She took them to the vet who confirmed that they had worms. Another customer reported that the crystals became blue and she detected a UTI. A vet confirmed the diagnosis.
False negatives are possible. My friend’s sister owns a cat that has had frequent UTIs in the past. However, her litter never changed color. A customer representative suggested that she buy more litter and boxes. This solution didn’t make sense to her. She also noted that the customer service rep encouraged her to purchase more litter after she called to cancel her subscription.
Stress can cause a change in the pH level of a cat’s urine. Stress can be caused by a variety of factors, such as a recent move or remodeling work in your kitchen. Pretty Litter suggests that you wait 48 hours after noticing a change in the color of your pet to check if it returns to normal. Make an appointment with your vet if it doesn’t. Make an appointment immediately if the crystals detect blood.
I will not be using this litter again due to the inconsistent color chart and the high dust levels. All of the vets I spoke with said that crystal litters tend to produce less dust than clay litters, which is what I use most often. Pretty Litter also claims to be lower in dust, but I didn’t find this to be true.
I waited for the dust to settle before picking up more crystals. Other customers on Reddit also noted this. This is not only about me feeling uncomfortable. Huxley, my cat, loves to scratch at the box and it seems like he spends hours on it. This makes me anxious because he could inhale these dusty particles day in and day outside.
Huxley began to have watery eyes shortly after I switched to Pretty Litter. Both the vet and I believe it is from the dust. Eely-Rue doesn’t seem to have this problem, so I switched them back to clay litter to see what happens. Dust-free clay litter formulas have come a long way (I typically use Arm and Hammer litter), so it’s disappointing to see so much dust with Pretty Litter.
Clumping clay appears to be the most popular litter type according to a survey of cat owners. It is made from highly absorbent natural clay granules, which clump together as liquid is absorbed. Because everything is… clumped, it’s easy to scoop. It’s easy to scoop and you can change it out about once per month if you have multiple cats. It’s also widely available at different price points.
Crystal litter is made up of tiny beads of silica gel that absorb water but don’t clump. To absorb the odor, you need to scoop out the feces and add the urine. Pretty Litter suggests that you scoop out the feces and mix it in, changing the litter box once per month for each cat. You won’t have to scoop as much litter, so you will be able use less litter over time. This means that less litter ends up at the landfills. It can also get smelly if it isn’t taken care of.
Perhaps you are thinking, like I did, Are silica gels toxic? This is a common misconception. Pretty Litter founder says silica gel is not toxic and that it’s dangerous to eat. Pretty Litter should pass the silica through a cat’s body if it licks its paws. The silica is not a problem if it’s ingested in large quantities, but the same applies to clay litter.
Marci L. Koski is a feline behaviorist, trainer, and consultant. She tells me that she recommends Pretty litter to clients with cats who have had urinary problems in the past. She prefers fine-grained, unscented, clumping clay.
My experience and the problem that I have encountered with people is that they believe it’s very low-maintenance and tend to forget about it. “It leads to solids building up in the litter box. The crystals lose their ability to absorb and become very smelly.
You should slowly introduce new litter to your cat if you wish to change the type. Mixing old and new litter is a good idea, according to vets.
Crystal litter can be uncomfortable for some cats. Do not force your cat to use crystal litter if they are having problems with their bathroom habits. You can always go back to the same litter your cat used before. You can monitor your cat’s health at your home even if they don’t like Pretty Litter or don’t want you to subscribe (which starts at $22 per monthly).
Koski states that most cats will not show signs until it is too late to take them to the vet. You should only use a container that you can scoop at least once a day. You should note any changes in the volume or frequency of your cat’s urination. You can only notice this by cleaning your cat’s litter box each day.
According to experts I spoke to, there are other signs that you should be looking out for:
An increase in the frequency of urination
Using the litter box often, but not producing any urine
Strive to urinate
Urinating other than the litter box
Urine containing blood
When you urinate, yowl
Pretty Litter was too dusty for me so I no longer use it. However, I think it’s still worth it if you have a history urinary tract infection. (If you have a male cat, they’re more prone to urethral blockages.) Mixing it with other litter is a good idea, as one customer suggested.
There is no miracle litter. While Pretty Litter may be a good option, it cannot replace regular vet visits and meticulous parenting.