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Are all those Pretty Litter reviews you see online actually legit, or is it just people trying to sell you on another gimmick? I purchased this myself and thoroughly tested it with my cat to find out!
Overview – What’s the deal with Pretty Litter anyway?
If you have a cat, chances are you’ve run across an ad for this stuff. Pretty Litter is a subscription cat litter service with a unique twist – their litter changes color when your cat pees in it!
This color changing happens because the crystals in Pretty Litter are able to detect the pH of your cats urine, which can be low (acidic) or high (alkaline) if your cat is sick.
But you don’t have to go brush up on your chemistry knowledge to understand what this all means – there’s a special color chart included that you can compare what your cat’s urine color looks like to tell if it’s normal or outside of the range.
The thing about cats is they tend to hide their pain until it gets REALLY bad. So if you aren’t noticing any signs of something being wrong with them, you may not know until it’s too late, or after a very costly trip to the vet.
In theory, this can prevent your cat from being in severe pain or discomfort from having a prolonged, undetected infection. It can also help spot serious diseases early, so they can be treated from the start. This also means that you could potentially avoid any shocking vet bills as early care is generally a lot less expensive than emergencies.
Pretty Litter isn’t quite the same as having a professional check-up on them every once in a while, so it’s not a replacement for the vet.
If you want to try their subscription service, you can get 20% off your first order here (use discount code TRT20 at checkout)
What is Pretty Litter made out of, and does it clump?
Pretty Litter is not your normal clay-based litter and does not clump. It’s made out of sand-sized silica gel crystals which suck liquids inside and keep the litter dry, eliminating the need for scooping.
Crystal litters are a common litter type these days, but Pretty Litter is the only one that actually changes colors to detect health problems.
These types of litters are manufactured by taking sand particles from quartz and infusing them with water and oxygen. This creates very tiny pores within each piece that are extremely absorbent – holding up to 40x their weight in fluid.
They’re able to absorb fluids, trap odors, and then evaporate over and over again until they reach the end of their lifespan. The litter needs to be stirred around regularly for this process to work properly, so with light maintenance, it can last weeks.
Is it actually environmentally-friendly?
Pretty Litter advertises themselves as being an environmentally friendly alternative to clay. While it’s true you are using a lot less litter when compared to clay types, and there is much less waste by volume, it’s still not a totally sustainable or biodegradable option if that is what you are looking for.
Learn more about this eco-friendly alternative: Pine Pellet Litter Pros and Cons
My Experience with Pretty Litter
I had been debating trying this Pretty Litter stuff for months, but when I saw it at my local Target I couldn’t help but put it in my cart. Because why not?
I also noticed the bag was bigger at Target too – 8 lbs vs. the 5 lb bag that is advertised on their website. Considering the fact it was only a few bucks more for 3 extra pounds, I figured it was well worth giving it a shot.
Unlike other crystal litters, the granules are super tiny and sand-like.
The instructions say to fill the litter box to a depth of 2”, which took quite a substantial quantity of the bag with my large litter box. According to the company, this 8 lb bag lasts two months, but that would only be true if you used a small litter pan. I had to use most of the bag to fill my litter box to the right level!
If you order the litter directly from their website, it only comes in a 5 lb bag. If you use a large litter box, you may need to order more than one.
I didn’t notice any dust (at first…)
I didn’t notice any dust as I dumped it out of the bag, which was unlike most of the clumping litter I’m used to. This was a big relief to me, and even more so for pets or pet owners with allergies or asthma. It also didn’t have any scent to it, not even that distinctive “cat litter” smell.
So, aside from the fact that I had to use more litter than they claim, I liked that it wasn’t dusty or smelly. Another perk is it’s super lightweight compared to clay. It’s so nice not having to deal with 30 or 40 lb. bags of litter!
If this stuff performed well, it might just win me over.
However, I needed to give it a thorough testing with my cat before I could really know what this stuff was like and if it worked well or not.
Pretty Litter: Week 1
To be completely honest, the first week went great. I placed the cat box with Pretty Litter right next to my cat Louie’s regular litter box, and he took to it on the first day. He would use his regular litter more often, but the fact he still would use the new box at least once per day was a good sign.
After a few days, I moved his old litter box out to the garage (where we can still freely access it) and left the Pretty Litter box in the usual spot inside.
My cat took to it immediately!
For the most part, this resulted in him exclusively using the Pretty Litter and not his old box. He even spent a lot of time digging in the new crystal litter, so he seemed to be totally cool with it.
So far, this Pretty Litter stuff seemed to be a miracle. Not only was it not dusty, but it didn’t smell AT ALL.
I didn’t see any colors that were outside the range either, thankfully. My cat does have a little history with UTIs so it was nice to know he wasn’t hiding an infection.
It was also nice not to have to scoop giant pee clumps out of the litter. I just used my Litter Genie to dump the solid waste, and stirred up the rest of the litter each day. It was super easy and a lot less work.
Pretty Litter: Week 2
The second week went just as well. I still didn’t notice dust or any type of smell whatsoever. It was hard to believe that my cat had been peeing in this box all this time and I couldn’t smell it! The litter wasn’t wet or nasty, and the box was dry.
This was my first experience with crystal silica litter and I really was preferring it over my normal clumping clay stuff.
Pretty Litter: Week 3
So going into the third week was when I noticed it wasn’t performing quite as great. I didn’t really notice much of a smell, but it started to get really dusty.
If I wasn’t careful while scooping, it was almost as if I could taste the litter particles which really grossed me out.
Despite this, the litter was still holding up relatively well. There weren’t pools of urine at the bottom of the box, nor were there any wet globs of litter.
By the end of week 3 (after about 21 days) I had to dump it out.
Even though it was still doing a great job disguising the smell, the dust was a little too gross for me to handle considering it was coming from particles my cat had literally peed on for weeks.
In addition to that, according to the Pretty Litter website, they say it’s time to change the litter once all the crystal pieces turn yellow or lime-green. With the lighting in my bathroom it was hard to tell if the crystals had really changed color at all, so I compared it to the leftover litter from the bag and wow – they really all had turned yellow!
Pretty Litter pros and cons
This stuff works pretty well, but it still comes with a few flaws that may or may not make it worth it for your household.
✔ Detects potential health problems in cats, like UTIs or kidney issues
✔ Most cats will easily adapt to using it
✔ Super lightweight
✔ Amazing odor control
✔ No “cat litter” smell
✔ Stays dust-free for awhile, before it starts to break down
✔ Lasts for at least a couple of weeks, up to a month, without scooping out urine (with one cat)
✘ You need to use more litter if you have a larger or jumbo box, meaning the 5 lb. subscription bag may not be enough and the 8 lb. bag available at Target won’t actually last 2 months
✘ Silica particles start to break down over time and produce dust that is really irritating (even before the litter stops working)
✘ Didn’t last the full month as advertised
✘ Tracks a lot
✔ Early detection of UTIs, kidney infections, and other health issues in cats
It can be great to have an early detection system for UTIs and kidney disease in cats since they’re notorious for these things. They can be sick for a very long time before you notice signs that anything is wrong since they’re masters at hiding pain.
An early trip to the vet can confirm something is wrong, and they can start treating the issue early before it develops into anything more serious.
But it’s not a perfect health detector
However, Pretty Litter is not perfect! Sometimes it can show the “normal range” even if your cat is sick, or it could show colors that indicate a problem (blue or green) when your cat is healthy. This is because there are other reasons besides illness that can affect the PH of your cat’s urine. It also can show false readings when the litter starts to break down and get saturated.
There are also many other health conditions your cat could develop that Pretty Litter can’t detect.
The bottom line is, you should still take your cat to the vet. But it can still be good to be alerted to any potential issues that could be cured with early detection.
✘ Premium $$$ for health detecting litter
The main selling point of the Pretty Litter brand is its ability to detect early health problems in cats, which other litters just can’t do. You will be paying a premium for that, but it may be worth it if your cat has issues with UTIs (just for peace of mind.)
✔ Super lightweight, excellent odor control, kept the box dry
One of the major advantages to using silica litters like Pretty Litter is they’re super lightweight and you don’t need to use as much to fill a litter box. It’s so much easier to deal with cat litter that doesn’t come in a 30 lb box!
Plus, you don’t have to break your back or a trash bag when it’s time to dump out the litter!
It’s also able to control odor very well, at least from my experience. I did not smell cat urine AT ALL – not even after it started breaking down.
It was crazy to think about the fact my cat had been going to the bathroom in this box for weeks and the litter crystals were able to somehow magically soak up the urine and odor and keep the litter fresh.
I was totally expecting pools of urine at the bottom of the box, but nope! As long as I maintained it daily and kept it stirred up like you’re supposed to, it stayed dry. I don’t know how it would hold up to multiple cats though. I imagine it would saturate pretty quick!
✘ Does not come with enough litter for larger boxes
One of the biggest downfalls of Pretty Litter is that for cat owners that use large or jumbo-sized boxes, one bag of this stuff is just not enough.
According to their FAQ page, a bag is meant for an averaged sized box that is 12” x 16”. I have a giant kitty that’s over 15 pounds, so I have a relatively large litter box for him.
Since I bought mine at Target I was able to grab the 8 lb bag, which was more than enough to fill my litter box. But I had to use the majority of the bag!
With their subscription service, you can order extra bags so you’ll have enough litter, but that can get super expensive. I’d recommend purchasing it at Target instead of their website if you need more than a 5 lb. bag to fill your box.
✘ Tracks a lot
I found this litter to track quite a bit, but I wouldn’t say anymore so than regular clay litters. And considering this stuff is pretty similar to beach sand, I didn’t have high hopes for that department.
To be honest I don’t think I’ve ever used a litter that doesn’t track at all.
Fortunately I didn’t really notice it tracking any further than the bathroom and down the hallway right outside. Litter Mats can help minimize tracking substantially if you find it to be a problem.
Check out our recommendations: 5 Litter Mats that Actually Work
✘ Started to develop dustiness after about 2 weeks
Initially, there was no dust that I could detect at all. However, after about two weeks, the crystal particles started to release dust when it was kicked and stirred around.
I first noticed this after my cat had peed a lot in one spot, and I had to stir it around extra well to mix it all up. The dust hit me by total surprise since I wasn’t expecting it. Total ick!
Since there wasn’t any dust for the first two weeks, I wondered why it started happening all of a sudden…
So is Pretty Litter dusty or not???
I did a bit of digging around trying to find an answer to this. First I came across this Pretty Litter review in which the writer talks about how her litter also got very dusty after about 2 weeks of use as well. But in her case, she had 5 cats!
After further investigation, I found an answer directly from the company. According to them, Pretty Litter crystals can start to break down over time as they start to saturate and develop dust. This would explain why I didn’t notice any dust for the first couple of weeks.
But the company claims this happens if the litter becomes “prematurely saturated” and you can prevent it from using enough litter – at least 2 inches.
But the thing is, I did use enough litter and I only have 1 cat. It shouldn’t be prematurely saturating after only 2 weeks when it’s supposed to last a month. My cat does not urinate excessively either!
However thinking a bit more about it, he was pretty much exclusively using this litter box the entire time. He has 2 other boxes, but he prefers to use the one in the bathroom. If your cat was using multiple litter boxes, I can see how it could very well last 1 month.
Using one box for health monitoring, keep the rest normal
A common recommendation is to just use Pretty Litter in one box for health monitoring, and use your normal litter for the rest of the litter boxes in your home.
If you have multiple boxes and your cat uses them all, this could stretch out the litter to last the full month as it claims to (with a single cat). Since my cat was using the box with the Pretty Litter all the time, he wore it out rather quickly.
The Bottom Line
There really are a lot of benefits to using this cat litter – it’s lightweight, free of odors, and an absolute breeze to clean and maintain. It’s also great that it’s dust-free before it starts to break down. Plus, the built-in health monitoring can give you some peace of mind, especially if you have a cat with a history of UTIs.
But considering the cost, I would expect it to last for the full month as advertised (with one cat). For my cat, it only lasted 3 weeks and even that was stretching it. And after the first two, it already started to break down and get dusty.
I would say if you’re still interested after reading this review, it’s well worth giving it a shot to see how it works for your cats. I really did like it a lot, aside from the fact it was expensive and didn’t last quite as long as I was hoping.