After a bout of bad asthma, I decided to rethink using clay litter. Even though many brands of regular clay litter, both clumping and non-clumping, are supposed to be "virtually dust-free", they still have dust that can aggravate allergies and can cause cancer over time in both humans and pets. Think black lung disease.
Any cat litter can cause lung problems over time, but I seem to be especially sensitive to the dust from the clay litter. Other cat people had been posting about the World's Best Cat Litter (corn-based) and Yesterday's News (paper-based), so my husband and I looked at the alternatives at the store. We decided against the paper-based brands, because we didn't want our cats to generalize and use random sheets of paper as their litterbox. Corn was the other choice on the shelves at Wal-Mart, where we were already shopping, and we didn't want to make a second stop at the pet store. There are litters made from other materials as well, such as wood shavings (Feline Pine).
We came home with one small container of Tidy Cat and one 10-pound bag of Pro-Pet Fresh Results corn litter. Fresh Results has a strong pine smell. I wanted to get World's Best, but Wal-Mart didn't carry it and the box needed to be changed asap. With five indoor cats, it's definitely a priority. I dumped out the contents of the litter box, and poured the Fresh Results in after letting interested noses sniff it. No one backed away. Quite the opposite, in fact. In they went, two using it at the same time. Even though they badly needed it, they would not have used the new litter if they disapproved.
The next test was the stink test. About 5 minutes after I put the new litter in, Carbon left a big poop, covering it up nicely. His can stink up the house faster than any other cats', even when quickly buried. The smell dissipated in two minutes, except right over the box. A bit of the litter clung to Carbon's paws because of his long fur, but he shook it off as soon as he jumped out. We won't worry if he licks some of it, though, because it's plant-based.
The third test was the scoop test. I was impressed with the clumping quality, even when they had just used it. The clumps were solid and small. The claim on the bag says that Fresh Results will hold more liquid than the clay litter, and I believe it now.
All in all, I'm very impressed with our new choice, and I believe it will be around the same price as the clay kind. A 10-pound bag of the Fresh Results was $8, and the equivalent amount (based on the bag's claims) of clay litter is between $6 - $10 depending on brands and type.
If you want to try corn-based litter, check the store you normally buy litter at to see if they carry it.