Does Health Monitoring Cat Litter Work? Vet Reviewed Facts & FAQ

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Approximately 46.5 million households in the United States own a cat, and if you’re part of this statistic, chances are you’ve stumbled across an advert for health-monitoring cat litter. The product changes color in response to the presence of specific markers in a cat’s urine that will help owners spot early signs of a health problem.

But how reliable is health monitoring cat litter? Owning a pet can be pricey anyway, so it’s a good idea to be sure before buying a product that might not work. Health monitoring litter can work, but it isn’t foolproof. Thus, it should only be used as a tool and never as a diagnosis. Below, we’ll take a closer look at how this cat litter works and how you can benefit from it.

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How Does Health Monitoring Cat Litter Work?

More than one brand produces health-monitoring cat litter, but many work similarly. The litter is made up of light, silica gel that gives it an overall “crystal” look. This gel is incredibly absorbent, so it’s functional as a basic cat litter, but it’s also designed to change color based on various factors, such as the urine’s pH level. The thinking behind this is that the color changes might alert you to issues with the urine worthy of seeking veterinary help.

Cute cat near litter box in room
Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

Is Health Monitoring Cat Litter Reliable?

Health monitoring cat litter will let you know in real-time that your cat’s urine has changed. For instance, it may show that pH levels have changed, even if it doesn’t tell you why. Dog owners tend to learn more about the toilet habits of their pets than cat owners because the former are usually with their dogs when they relieve themselves.

Cats are a little more self-sufficient in this area. This sometimes makes the veterinarian’s question about whether you’ve noticed anything different about your cat’s litter box habits lately a little trickier to answer. Cat litter that changes color may help you to answer this question better. However, cats, unlike dogs, don’t tend to have many changes in their urine pH with infections or urinary crystals or stones, so these litters might be more helpful in theory than in actuality. Therefore, it’s important to note that results aren’t always accurate.

Is Health Monitoring Cat Litter for You?

While health monitoring cat litter shouldn’t be relied on for answers, it can certainly be a beneficial aid. So, how could you benefit the most from color-changing cat litter? Speak with your veterinarian to determine if it might be a worthwhile addition, even temporarily, to your litter arsenal. The following instances might be some times to consider using the litter:

  • Cats with health problems: If your cat is prone to health problems, such as UTIs or cystitis, being aware there is blood in the urine before it becomes a big problem, could be beneficial.
  • Older cats: Older female cats are often more likely to develop UTIs.
  • Diabetes: Cats with diabetes can benefit from checking for sugar in the urine. Not all health monitoring litters check for sugar or work well even if they do, so other options may be available such as urine test sticks from your vet.
Himalayan and tabby cat in litter box
Image Credit: Mesa Watthanaphichai, Shutterstock

Are There Any Downsides to Consider?

Finding the perfect cat litter can be difficult, especially if you have a fussy kitty. So, if your cat likes their current cat litter, you might be unwilling to change. Silica gel can also irritate some cat’s paws, so the change might not even be within your control.

You should also remember that some health-monitoring cat litter isn’t available in all local stores yet, so you will have to get it online in some cases, depending on where you live. There is also the cost to consider since health-monitoring litter carries a heftier price tag than traditional litter. Some are additives that are only available through your veterinarian, as well.

If you are unsure if this cat litter is for you, your vet can offer advice based on your cat’s health care needs.

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Final Thoughts

Health-monitoring cat litter can serve a purpose in some situations, as long as the results are taken with a grain of salt. Don’t expect this cat litter to replace answers you will get from your veterinarian. If you want to use the litter to aid you and your vet in tackling a particular health problem, it may be an option, but beware that it can have pitfalls, as well. Ultimately, your vet is the best resource for keeping your cat healthy.

Featured Image Credit: Duet PandG, Shutterstock

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