Contents of Article
- The History of Pretty Litter
- How does Pretty Litter work?
- Pretty Litter Review – A Personal Experience
- Pretty Litter Testing Day 1 – First Impressions
- The Next Two Weeks – Pretty Litter in Action
- Does the litter really change color?
- Once testing was complete, it was easy to cancel the subscription.
- How much does Pretty Litter cost?
- Final Opinion—Is Pretty Litter a Good Choice?
- Where can you buy Pretty Litter?
Pretty Litter is a subscription-based cat litter company aiming to reject everything gray, clay, and mundane about cat litter. This silica gel cat litter changes color in reaction to the pH level of your cat’s urine. According to the company, this gives you insight into your cat’s urinary tract health and overall wellbeing.
As exciting as Pretty Litter sounds, does it do everything that good cat litter should? Is it low-dust? Does it track? Does it provide great odor control? Is it affordable? Does one bag really last for an entire month? Do cats like using it?
To answer these questions, Wessie, Forest, and I gave Pretty Litter a try. Before diving into our Pretty Litter review, let’s go back to the beginning.
The History of Pretty Litter
The Pretty Litter idea was originally created by Carly Martinetti, who explains that the concept came from something she calls “litter depression.” In an interview on Seat 42F, she says that “I was always just super depressed changing their litter”. This frustration left her wishing there was a way to make the litter box brighter, more sparkly, and less depressing.
In 2015, Carly was one of the top 3 contestants in the ABC Family reality show Startup U. While competing on the show, Martinetti met chemists, marketers, and entrepreneurs that helped her to turn Pretty Litter into a reality. She co-founded the company with Daniel Rotman, who is now the company’s CEO.
Today, Pretty Litter is more than a bright, appealing alternative to clay litter. It’s a unique product that combines the convenience of silica gel litter with an on-trend subscription model and colorful health monitoring functionality.
How does Pretty Litter work?
Pretty Litter is an easy-to-use silica gel litter that changes color to reveal insights about your cat’s health. Because it uses a subscription model, it keeps you out of the cat litter aisle and reduces the chances that you’ll run out of litter between shopping trips.
Silica gel crystals absorb moisture and odors in seconds. You can use this type of litter for up to a month without scooping at all. Instead, you’ll remove solids and stir in the liquid every day, distributing it throughout the box and encouraging full absorption.
Once you’ve reached the litter’s absorption limit, it will become saturated and you might see some liquid pooling in the bottom of the litter box.
How does the health monitoring color technology work?
The litter is full of tiny pH detectors. They look like tiny orange flecks when you pour the litter out of the bag, but when they get wet, these detectors make the litter change color. Depending on the pH of your cat’s urine, the litter will change to a color ranging from orange to dark blue.
Green to Blue – Alkalinity
Alkalinity can contribute to struvite crystal formation and may be indicative of some urinary tract infections.
Orange to Red – Acidity
This can indicate metabolic acidosis and kidney tubular acidosis. A low urinary pH can also contribute to the development of calcium oxalate crystals.
It’s important to remember that Pretty Litter is not a diagnostic tool, nor is it a substitute for veterinary care.
Pretty Litter only tells you about the pH of your cat’s urine. It can’t tell you what’s wrong or even confirm that your cat is sick. Diet changes, stress, and weather can also alter your cat’s urinary pH. If the litter becomes saturated, it might turn blue and slushy.
Is Pretty Litter natural and safe?
Yes. In fact, it might be safer than traditional clumping clay.
Silica dust is present in clumping clay litter dust, but not in silica gel crystals. Unlike clay litter, which contains particles of crystalline silica, silica gel litter is an amorphous form of silica and doesn’t release any of those carcinogenic, irritating particles.
Pretty Litter is safe for all cats and kittens. Because it doesn’t expand in the GI tract and is free from any harmful chemicals, cats don’t get sick if they ingest some of it while playing or grooming.
Overall, Pretty Litter appears to be safe for all cats.
Pretty Litter Review – A Personal Experience
Now that we’ve learned the basics about Pretty Litter, let’s talk about how it really works. Let’s start at the Pretty Litter website.
When you start the ordering process, Pretty Litter will prompt you to specify the number of cats in your home, allowing you to identify yourself as having one, two, or at least three cats. Once you fill in this information, Pretty Litter will select an appropriate plan for your cat household.
I told the system I had two cats and was immediately signed up for a once-monthly box containing two 4-lb bags of Pretty Litter. This one month supply cost $39.
The next day, the litter was shipped. FedEx dropped it off at my local post office ten days later.
Picking up a one-month supply of Pretty Litter is different from receiving a box of clay litter. There’s little chance that this litter will break open your cardboard box and drop to the floor with a crash. At just 8 lbs, it was hard to imagine that this box contained all the litter I’d use for the next month.
In addition to two small bags of Pretty Litter, the box contained a card explaining how the litter works. The card also featured a ruler to ensure the appropriate litter depth.
Pretty Litter Testing Day 1 – First Impressions
Pretty Litter is indeed “pretty”. It looks like coarsely-ground salt.
The litter is white with small yellow and orange flecks. At first I didn’t know what these flecks were, but I later learned that they’re pH detectors and the secret to the litter’s color changing magic—how cool is that?
Pretty Litter says that one 4-lb bag contains enough litter to fill one litter box, providing enough litter for one cat to use for a month. I had ordered two bags, thinking that I’d fill up two litter boxes for our two cats to use.
One bag wasn’t enough to fill the litter box to a depth of two inches.
Pretty Litter explains that you need to fill your box with 2” of litter to ensure complete absorption and prevent the litter from becoming saturated before the end of the month. They even provide a measuring card to help ensure that you get the right depth.
The company explains that one 4-lb bag will fill a litter box measuring 15″ long and 11″ wide. This is slightly smaller than my litter box, which measures 17.5” long by 12.5” wide, so there wasn’t quite enough to fill up the box to an appropriate level.
Pretty Litter knows that one bag isn’t enough for every box and they’re willing to help make it work.
During the first 30 days after purchase, the company is willing to send out additional litter at no added cost. After the 30 day introductory period, you’ll need to upgrade your subscription.
Since I’d ordered the litter for a review and wasn’t ready to order more, I decided to just use the other bag. Instead of distributing the litter between two boxes, I used one-and-a-half bags to fill up one box. Wessie and Forest would have to share a litter box this month.
The cats started using it immediately.
At first, I gave them the option of using their old clay litter or the Pretty Litter. They immediately opted for the Pretty Litter. The granules are extremely fine and gentle, and I think the cats liked that texture.
The Next Two Weeks – Pretty Litter in Action
Since the cats were sharing a single litter box, I didn’t expect it to last for an entire month.
During the next two weeks, both of them occasionally used nature’s litter box while out for adventures, but relied on the Pretty Litter as their primary waste zone.
My only chore was picking out the waste and stirring the litter, which was definitely an upgrade from the old scooping routine. It was nice to not have to dump heavy clods of clay into the trash. I felt that the virtual lack of cat clumps in the garbage made the home cleaner.
Does Pretty Litter track a lot?
I didn’t notice much tracking. I also didn’t notice any litter or dust sticking to the cats’ paws. Like any other product, the litter did go flying when the cats dug in it, creating tiny sand dunes around the edges of the box.
Is Pretty Litter dusty?
Some reviewers say that Pretty Litter is extremely dusty, but in my experience, it didn’t emit any dust whatsoever. It was, instead, one of the very few dust-free litters we’ve encountered over the years.
Does Pretty Litter offer good odor control?
When we started using the Pretty Litter, it provided excellent odor control. There was very little fecal odor, nor was there any urine odor.
After 10 days, the litter wasn’t smelling too great and it had turned a uniform shade of yellow.
The litter started to look like well-buttered grits.
It’s normal for the litter to turn yellow over time as the litter absorbs more and more urine. Eventually, the litter will reach its absorption limit and become saturated. It will also lose the ability to neutralize odors. In our experience, the odor control stopped before the moisture absorption did.
By day ten, there was a definite urine smell when I stirred the litter. The cats didn’t seem offended and you couldn’t smell it when you walked in the room, but it wasn’t pleasant for the person who had to clean out the box.
Does the litter really change color?
Fortunately, our cats’ urine remained within the healthy range for the duration of the test. At the two-week mark, I started noticing some green chunks near the bottom of the box and the indicators turned a dark green color rather than the original orange. According to Pretty Litter, this is normal and just means you need to replace the litter with a fresh bag.
I wanted to see the Pretty Litter rainbow, so I decided to test what would happen when I poured vinegar, water, and a lye solution into the clean litter.
Remember that Pretty Litter is fundamentally a pH indicator, so this test roughly represents what happens to Pretty Litter when your cat has an acidic, slightly alkaline, and extremely alkaline urine pH.
White vinegar has a pH of about 2.5, water is usually around 7, and lye has a pH of around 13. Healthy cat urine has a pH of about 6 to 6.5.
Once testing was complete, it was easy to cancel the subscription.
From my user account, I clicked the “manage subscription” link and canceled the subscription with a single click. There’s no need to contact the customer support team or jump through any hoops to cancel your subscription.
How much does Pretty Litter cost?
The price of each bag varies based on how many you buy at a time.
One 4-lb bag of Pretty Litter costs $22. If you order two bags in one month, you’ll pay $39. If you order a bundle of four bags per month, you’ll pay $68—meaning that the fourth bag is free.
The company also offers ordering options for those with even higher litter demands, including rescues, shelters, and extreme cat guardians who need to order in bulk. For example, ten bags of Pretty Litter cost $150.
Shipping is free to all 48 contiguous United States. You’ll have to pay for shipping to non-contiguous US states or for international shipping.
Pretty Litter is definitely one of the most expensive litter options available. High prices are typical among silica gel litter, but a 4-lb bag of ordinary silica litter typically won’t cost more than $10. You’re paying for the convenience of a monthly subscription and the peace of mind of a health monitoring product.
Note, also, that detecting health issues early might save you money. Treating a urethral obstruction, for example, may cost thousands of dollars. With Pretty Litter, you’d notice a spike in urinary pH, perhaps change your cat’s diet, and avoid a very costly—and painful—illness.
Final Opinion—Is Pretty Litter a Good Choice?
Pretty Litter is one of the most convenient, easy-to-use things you’ll ever put in your litter box. The subscription model simplifies your litter shopping experience, the silica gel crystals are hands-off and almost seem to clean themselves, and the health monitoring feature can help you to identify changes in your cat’s health before they escalate into something serious.
Pretty Litter’s biggest flaw is its cost.
In order to get the most out of your Pretty Litter, most users will need to buy more than one bag per cat each month. Costs can add up quickly. If I continued to buy Pretty Litter, I’d probably end up spending around $68 per month on litter.
Where can you buy Pretty Litter?
You can only buy Pretty Litter on the Pretty Litter website. You currently can’t buy it from other retailers, nor can you buy a single bag outside of the subscription service.