Can walnut cat litter really work as a substitute for traditional clay litter?
Walnut cat litter works very similarly to clumping clay litter. It is simply a highly absorbent material that can soak up liquid, such as cat urine. It can also be used to cover up cat feces.
Find out if this natural alternative to cat litter is a good fit for you and your cat, by reading the list of pros and cons compared to clay. You can also learn more about how litter made from walnut shells work, and how to use it.
Pros and cons of walnut cat litter
Pro: It has a grainy texture that is similar to clay, but is lighter in weight. The litter is easy for your cat to dig around in, and cover up any liquid or solid deposits. This is also beneficial for minimizing smell. The similar texture makes it easier for your cat to get used to a new litter. See the How to use it-section for more info on this.
Pro: Walnut cat litter does form clumps. The clumps are fairly easy to scoop, once you get used to handling them.
Cons: The clumps are not as firm as with clumping clay litter, and breaks apart more easily. This means that you have to be more gentle when you are scooping the litter box.
Pro: Walnut litter has good odor control. It is also a plus that it clumps, so you can remove the dirty litter easier. This keeps odor from building up in between litter changes. You should change the entire contents of the litter box once every month.
Pro: The tracking with walnut litter is about the same as clumping clay litter. A large litter mat can help to contain this problem, by keeping the scattered litter from spreading.
Con: If you are used to non clumping clay litter, you can expect some increase in tracking if you switch to walnut litter. The non clumping clay litter is heavier, and therefore tracks less.
Pro: You probably know that there is no such thing as a dust free cat litter, and that is also the case with walnut shell litter. This is however a different kind of dust, since the litter is made of a different material.
Con: It is not dust free. The amount of dust is similar to that of clumping clay litter.
How walnut cat litter works
To answer the question of if walnut cat litter will work, it is helpful to take a look at how it works.
The short answer is this: It is all about the absorbancy.
In its most simple form, cat litter simply needs to be able to soak up cat urine. Oh, and preferably allow your cat to cover up their deposits too.
According to, Naturally Fresh, their walnut based litter ” … absorbs three times better than clay litter” (source).
Walnut litter is actually made from the inner lining of walnut shells, that are ground and processed to become suited as cat litter.
The ground walnut shells absorb moisture when it is exposed to liquid, and then form clumps. These are not as firm as clumping litter made from clay, but are still fairly easy to scoop.
The texture of the ground walnut shells is very similar to that of clay, or gritty sand. It is easy for your cat to dig in, and cover up any feces. This, along with the ability to scoop and remove the clumps, is always a plus when considering odor control.
How to use it
First of all, you need to get your cat on board. Cats are creatures of habit, and like to take it slow when it comes to change.
This is why it is a good idea to transition your cat gradually to any new litter. the good news is that walnut cat litter is an easier type to switch to, because of texture.
Transition your cat to walnut cat litter
Introduction: Let your cat get used to the smell and feel of this new material. Start by adding 2-3 cups of the walnut litter in the your cat’s litter box. Use the litter scoop, to mix the walnut litter with the old clay litter.
If you have more than one litter box, start by filling one completely with walnut litter. One tip is to place your cats feces in the litter box, so that it smells familiar to your cat.
Gradual transition: Add more of the walnut litter as needed, after scooping out used litter. This will increase the walnut-to-clay-litter ratio, without wasting litter needlessly. The aim should be to maintain about 2-3 inches of litter in the litter box.
Daily: Remove clumps and cat feces twice daily, and add fresh litter as needed to maintain the right depth of 2-3 inches.
Tip: Be a bit more careful when you scoop the clumps, especially when shaking the scoop to sift excess litter. The clumps will not be as firm as clumps of clay litter, so they can break more easily.
This might feel a bit awkward in the beginning, if you are used to clay. However, being a bit more aware and developing a more gentle touch should go a long way in helping to keep the clumps intact.
Monthly: Empty the litter box completely every 30 days, and give the litter box a quick wash before refilling it.
So, can walnut cat litter really replace clay litter as a more natural alternative? In conclusion, yes, for most cats and cat owners it probably can.
- Allergy: If you or your cat is allergic to walnuts
- Sensitivity to dust: Especially in a very dry environment, where dust spreads more easily
- Using an automatic litter box: The clumps might not be solid enough, and could break apart into small pieces
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